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Interviewing in a Poor Hiring Market

by Alison Ringo

When jobs numbers disappoint (as April’s did), it’s important to remember a few things during your job search to keep a competitive edge.

1. Good Jobs Are Out There – The media plays for ratings, but despite dramatics, there are great jobs with solid companies to be had. You’ve simply got to know where to look.

For starters, keep up with the right news. Instead of focusing on poor job growth, check out which companies and industries report better than projected earnings. U.S. manufacturing, for instance, is picking up compared to Europe. That’s a cue for you, if semiconductors etc. are your bread and butter.

However, just because your industry’s in a slump doesn’t mean there aren’t stand-out companies. Pore over trade websites: companies you see buzzed not in press releases but by customers and peers? Those are your best bet for openings.

2. Do Your Prep – When the best talent is happily employed at optimum salaries, job seekers have upper hand. When top talent is afraid to make a move or unemployed, hiring companies are in control.

When the job seeker market feels packed or skittish, it’s more important than usual to prepare sufficiently for each interview. Don’t simply gather info on the company and your interview(s). Brainstorm the job itself. Reading between the lines, what are the challenges this position needs to meet head on? Who would your colleagues/supervisors be and what does it take to work with them successfully?

Arrive at your interview with some plan in place (and in attire and attitude to complement the team there) and you’ll be a step ahead. Even if they disagree with your ideas for the position, as long as you don’t push those ideas as the only way to do things, your creativity and effort will count for more than you might think.

3. Desperation Is The Death Knell – Looking for the right position is always a challenge and occasionally scary. If you’re in a bad situation with your current company or if you’re unemployed, the pressure’s on.

It’s easy to let frustration get the best of you. Don’t. In the Internet Age, job seeking behavior leaves a trail. Don’t harass. Don’t be over-eager. Don’t take your frustrations out on hiring managers – or their assistants. Everyone gets frustrated sometimes and plenty of people understand this. But no matter how understanding they may be of your human moments of negativity, think of these moments as a mark on your job seeker’s permanent record. Once you’ve acted a certain way or said something memorable, you have no control over who finds out.

The name of the game right now, while hiring is still sliding back and forth, is patient creativity.

How Not to Interview With a Headhunter

Using the Unemployment Rate to Predict Hiring

Why American Job Seekers Are Falling Behind

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