Over the past few weeks and months we’ve spent a lot of time investigating the recruitment landscape and you may have seen us post lots of shiny statistics, all of which basically allude to the idea that we’ve moved from a candidate-driven to an employer-driven market in most sectors.
What does that actually mean?
The reality of the impacts of Covid-19 on the economy mean that businesses are forced to consolidate and cut costs, and as a result a large number of redundancies occur and a lot of people hit the job market looking for new roles. The job market is a simple case of supply vs demand.
In an employer-driven market there are fewer jobs available and a lot of candidates applying for those jobs. So the supply and demand tips in favour of the hirers. Not only are there more candidates for Hiring Managers to choose from but the overall quality of applicants improves too. Salaries are driven down as competition heats up.
At the opposite end of the spectrum in a candidate-driven market, there are national skills shortages and lots of companies trying to hire those skills into their teams. In this type of candidate-driven market the candidate has a greater bargaining position. This is where you find ever-increasing salaries and benefits packages improving as each employer tries to attract the top talent.
The Good News
We’re beginning to see a return to the number of jobs we would expect for this time of year, pandemic aside. There seems to be a general consensus that one way or another, we’re going to have to press on regardless, and as a result it seems employer confidence is on the rise. There are more and more job opportunities opening up, with many employers more open to the idea of remote and flexible working than perhaps they were before the pandemic hit – potentially meaning that your job search can be less constrained geographically.
So in a market where the competition is fierce, how do you make your application stand out?
1. Find the right job for your experience level and tailor your CV for each application
Employers want someone whose skills and experience match their expectations for the role and salary structure and if you apply for things dramatically over or under your level, you’ll likely be unsuccessful. So instead of applying for everything in a panic, focus your job search on roles that are the right fit and then take the time to tailor your CV so that when the hiring manager is sifting through 50-100 applications (sometimes more) yours lands firmly at the top of the yes pile.
2. Shout about your commercial success
Employers absolutely love to see results, especially at a time where achieving them efficiently is paramount. Whether it’s implementing procedures to streamline processes, increasing sales by ‘XYZ’ or coming up with a brilliant idea for a creative campaign that resulted in a new client win. Any metric that shows you’re results-driven and can bring commercial value to the business will absolutely elevate your application in the eyes of a potential hiring manager. We’d recommend including a ‘skills and achievements’ section in your CV where you can bullet point your relevant commercial successes to highlight them to the reader.
3. Push your portfolio
A portfolio of past work may not be entirely exclusive to our industry but it’s certainly much more important than in most. For many creative, marketing and development roles evidence of your past work is extremely useful for a prospective employer to quickly assess your capabilities. It’s easy to get lost in a mass of CVs but it’s nearly impossible to forget a great portfolio.
For development roles, including a link to a portfolio, GitHub or similar is an important demonstration of your technical expertise. It’s likely that you’d be asked to show examples of your work throughout the process so giving this to the client up front will save time and tell the client that you’re super organised.
If you’re a little light on commercial experience, set yourself some projects that you can do in your free time that demonstrate your ability to apply your skills in a commercial manner. It shows off not only your technical ability, but also a drive and passion for your field.
In all cases, make sure you test the living daylights out of any link you put on a CV, portfolio or the rest of an application – and remember when updating that those original links may still be sitting in someone’s inbox waiting to be looked at long after you hit “send”. Having to navigate through a web of links to nothing will do your application no favours in the eyes of a potential employer.
4. Treat any remote interview as if it were face-to-face
By this we mean remember the core techniques that make a great impression in an interview. Consider your appearance and setting from the eyes of an employer. Be concise in your responses (the STAR framework may help you here), and make sure you do your research on the company in question for easy ways to impress – especially if you can link your skills to how that will benefit the company based upon your research.
For more information on the STAR framework and how to implement it, click here.
5. Test your tech
Obvious right? Indulge us for a second. You’d be amazed how often this goes wrong, even in this age of Zoom literally-everything. Make sure you’ve tested your chosen video calling medium before an interview, ensure you’re somewhere with a strong internet connection, use a laptop or desktop computer if at all possible (as often you have to hold a phone up, making your image shaky, cropping out some of your face, or just putting people off their flow with the constant movement). Test your audio by calling a friend to ensure that your voice will come through clearly. Making sure you come across in a professional manner on a video call is an easy win and will make the whole process go so much more smoothly.
6. Work with a recruiter who will really champion you
In a candidate-heavy market such as the one we find ourselves in, employers are often inundated with CVs and as such, it can feel like someone took the needles and threw several more haystacks on top. Hiring Managers can find they don’t have time to do their own recruitment due to the processing time required, and at this point they often turn to recruiters to take on this work. Working with a recruiter who has built up trust with their clients can essentially escalate your CV to the top of the yes pile and ensure you are one of the first names on the shortlist, sometimes even before a job ad goes live.
Keeping these tips in mind will undoubtedly serve you well when applying for a new role in the current climate. Don’t forget that above all else you have to be resilient. You’ll likely get some no’s but that shouldn’t discourage you. We want you to find the perfect job and you have to keep the faith that at some point the world will run out of no’s and someone will say yes. And that will be the perfect job for you. It’s out there somewhere.
We wish you the absolute best of luck in your search and our virtual doors are always open to assist and advise you however you may need it – so don’t hesitate to get in touch.