As businesses fight to survive during these tough economic times we have seen a large number of organisations close or go into administration, with employees being made redundant or their working hours and responsibilities reduced in an effort to try and reduce costs.
As such there has been a flood of applicants into the jobs market and, with such desperate financial times, many of those applicants are now applying for jobs that they may not have applied for in the past. These may well be jobs for which their skills and qualifications are not suited.
So how do those recruiting find the right fit?It is a highly saturated and competitive jobs market with a reduction in the number of jobs and an increase in the number of applicants and, faced with this, employers that are recruiting are looking at adapting their recruitment methods so that they can be certain that they are picking the right person for the position. Just as the way we work is changing constantly, so is the way organisations recruit and it is not just businesses that need to adapt but also applicants.
With the economic crisis running through the US and the euro zone, this is something that all jobseekers across continents need to be prepared for.
No longer can an applicant simply rely on the strength of a CV and a have a uniform CV for each position they apply for, neither can an applicant think that if their qualifications match the job specification they will almost certainly be guaranteed to find a position.
Methods such as assessment centres and psychometric testing are becomingly increasingly popular, as we are finding out directly from our clients who are looking for high quality candidates.
Assessment centres are not ‘off the shelf’ products and are designed with several factors in mind; the requirements of the role, the ethos and culture of the hiring organisation and whether they are interviewing external candidates or promoting from within.
An assessment centre is a programme of events designed by the hiring organisation that candidates will go through. Each exercise will reflect the requisite of the role and the culture of the organisation.
There is no set structure for assessment centres and the format can include interviews, group exercises, presentations, in-tray exercises, case studies, psychometric tests and written tests.
Some organisations will use an assessment centre to whittle a ‘long list’ of applicants down to a ‘shortlist’ for interview and some will use them to identify the strongest applicant out of a predetermined shortlist.
Based on the exercises employers are in a more informed position to predict the future performance of an employee, greatly increasing the chances of selecting the right candidate for the job and reducing the risks and subsequent costs (both time and money) of an ultimately flawed recruitment campaign.
So when applying for any position a candidate should first think seriously about whether they are suited to the vacancy and whether it is suited to them. It is of no benefit to either party for a person to end up in a job where everyone expends time, money and energy on making it work ultimately for it to fail.
If a candidate is then chosen for the next stage of the selection process then they should prepare for every eventually and for every type of scenario. Having a good grasp of the type of company and the exact specifications of the job role and how you fit with it is an excellent starting point but beyond that you will need to be flexible to whatever kind of exercise you are asked to take part in on the day.
The opportunities for candidates remain the same – it is still a great chance to sell yourself to a prospective new employer – but the way in which those opportunities are presented may continually shift and job seekers must move at the same speed to avoid the risk of being left behind.
About the author: Neil McDiarmid is Managing Consultant of Workplace Law Career Network, the specialist recruitment division of Workplace Law that focuses on the recruitment of permanent and interim staff in the field of Facilities Management, Building Services, Health and Safety and Human Resources.