The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
The holidays are typically a welcome time of year at any office. The hustle and bustle of closing up Q4 paired with tree decorating, holiday parties and other breaks from the norm can all combine to help people bond and get to know each other outside of the day-to-day routine. In fact, you may be feeling as jolly as Old Saint Nick himself with all the good cheer in the air… until you realize that your workplace does an office Secret Santa exchange.
If you’ve never participated in one before, the program works when each person in a group is randomly assigned to shop for another person anonymously. You might be tempted to opt out of such a program, but you don’t want to come off as the office Scrooge. Why not say yes and read on to learn what you can expect?
Rule 1. Be thoughtful
Don’t take yourself too seriously when figuring out what to get for your Secret Santa, but do give something you genuinely think the other person would like. If you’re assigned to shop for your best bud at work, you can probably get something you’ll both find funny. If you’re assigned someone you really don’t know well, ask around to learn what she might like or get something that is broadly appealing. Avoid anything that might be misinterpreted or thought to be in poor taste!
Rule 2. Know and respect the budget
This is not the time to show off by spending more than necessary. The budget is there so that everyone is on an equal playing field. Be mindful by not going over the maximum amount. The Secret Santa program is about others, after all. Spending more will most certainly backfire.
Rule 3. Get creative with gifts
There are a lot of unique and appealing ideas for Secret Santa gifts. Check out a few of our favorites:
$5 and under
Five bucks doesn’t go far, so you really have to maximize your dollar. Homemade gifts are great for this amount, so whip up your famous fudge or tie a ribbon around that jam you recently jarred.
If you’re not so much the “homemade” type, here are a few fun ideas that are sure to bring a smile for $5 or less:
Note: A quick trip to your local dollar store can also provide plenty of inspiration for affordable gifts that will make a big impression.
$10 and under
Gift cards rule the $10 and under category. Think about getting a certificate from local haunts, like that independent coffee shop down the road or your co-workers’ favorite happy-hour spot. But don’t just go generic and leave the gift card in an envelope; jazz it up with a little something extra like a piece of candy, a sprig of evergreen or a holiday-scented candle.
$20 and under
A fail-safe gift for the $20 and under category is a fun new mug paired with bag of coffee beans or some tea. The mug could be holiday themed, feature something you know the recipient would enjoy (cat or dog lover?), or say something comical, like this one that cleverly references the movie “Office Space.”
Books are another option if you know what the recipient would enjoy. When in doubt, cookbooks or cocktail guides can be a festive option for the Secret Santa game. We enjoy these options:
- Weeknight Dinners: Meatless Monday, Tex-Mex Tuesday and more
- Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
- 100 Days of Real Food
- Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails: 1,500 Recipes to Mix It Up!
For those of you who have done Secret Santa in the past, what was the best gift you received? Please leave your answer in the comments section.
The new year is just weeks away. As we look ahead to 2015, many industries have a positive outlook toward growth and hiring. Here are 10 hot industries positioned to hire exponentially in the next 12 months:
1. Health care
The health-care industry continues to grow, and many areas have a hiring demand that surpasses the available qualified talent. Thanks to an aging boomer population and a variety of governmental regulations aimed at the industry, this growth won’t slow down any time soon. A few particularly hot health-care jobs include registered nurse, physical therapist and health services manager.
A sure sign of a recovering economy, manufacturing as a whole is growing and the demand for qualified workers is high. From line workers and machinists to experienced managers and executives with extensive knowledge of supply-chain management, look for further manufacturing growth in 2015.
3. Digital marketing
Marketing as a whole is evolving and those with digital experience are often courted by multiple companies. Typically demand for executive positions like chief marketing officer and chief digital officer far outpaces the available talent. Skilled marketing professionals have experience in data analytics, mobile platform development and strategic digital outreach.
4. Mobile technology development
As more people rely on mobile to run their daily lives, tech developers with specialty skills are in high demand. Growth in 2015 is likely, particularly for developers with expertise in the Java programming language. Because Android phones rule the majority of the smartphone market, Android developers are in demand as well.
5. Cyber security
Major online security breaches make headlines each year, and due to the growth of the cloud and the public’s growing reliance on e-commerce, many businesses are investing in better cyber security. This means they will be hiring smart people who can ensure the customers’ and business’s information stays safe. Those with experience in information security and digital risk won’t wait long for a new job offer.
6. Human resources
As the unemployment rate goes down and industries across the board grow and regain hiring power, human resources becomes a particularly critical function of a business. Skills in talent acquisition and global HR management are sure to get noticed on resumes.
7. Finance and insurance
Confidence in the financial and insurance industries is growing. Professionals who can offer expert insight in the financial sector will see increased demand for their skills. Insurance specialists are also deemed valuable and will enjoy increased hiring in 2015.
Just a few years ago many governmental entities were making cuts in order to adhere to budget restrictions. Today, many areas of government are enjoying an improved outlook, which means anticipated hiring in 2015. Government is an area that might be particularly well-suited for entry-level positions, so recent college graduates should take note.
Just like governmental entities, the sluggish economy did no favors for the nonprofit sector. Donations were down, positions reduced and some nonprofits didn’t survive. Today, a growing economy means nonprofits are once again thriving and they need to hire experts to help with growth, donor relations and event planning, in addition to driving social change.
The majority of retailers are entering 2015 with an optimistic attitude, and so they need skilled help to ensure numbers stay in the black. Look for hiring to run the gamut from reliable team members on the floor to effective sales managers. As earnings grow, hiring will drive an overall industry boost.
In 1992, James Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Little Rock with the 3 key messages for the campaign. Those messages were:
1) Change vs. more of the same
2) The economy, stupid
3) Don’t forget about healthcare
Of those, the second became the defining theme of Clinton’s campaign and the relentless focus on the state of the economy under Bush helped Clinton win the White House that year. Carville’s mantra highlights one of the great truisms not only of American politics, but the American psyche itself. As goes the economy, so goes the general mood of the country, and understandably so.
But as recent evidence indicates, the most critical aspect of the economy as the driver of the American state of mind is jobs. It’s not GDP growth rates, corporate earnings, or the stock market, although each of those undoubtedly plays both a unique and interrelated role, but jobs. And right behind jobs is rising wages. There has been no greater contributor to the growing indignation afflicting the entire nation these days than the epic job losses during the Great Recession, declining household income over the past 15 years, and stagnant real wages for the past 30 years.
And while all of that seems patently obvious to some, it is truly amazing how little real attention Washington is paying to what has become, arguably, the defining characteristic of America over the past few decades. And as much as America’s indignation occasionally transforms into anger and outright hostility, it is equally as amazing how little sustained outrage there is given the severe and rising inequality in the U.S. and the grim economic circumstances facing a growing percentage of the country.
To be sure, the slowly improving labor market which has seen a net gain of nearly 2.3 million jobs so far this year has most certainly helped lessen the severity of the situation, but there is still much to concerned about, and no one should be celebrating quite yet. A disproportionate share of the job gains this year have been part-time and/or low-wage jobs, and until very recently, the decline in unemployment has occurred mostly because so many people had given up looking for work. Those factors have started to change for the better in recent months as the jobs recovery has picked up momentum, but wages still haven’t budged and that statistic has, of late, become the most closely watched labor market indicator among economists, particularly at the Fed.
But debates around the Beveridge Curve notwithstanding, what will drive continued momentum in the labor market, as evidenced by continued net job gains and eventually rising wages, is sustained labor demand. And how we evaluate labor demand at LinkUp is by looking at the nearly 3 million job openings in our search engine, all of which are published by companies on their own corporate websites (which means our highly unique data set eliminates old jobs, duplicate listings, scams, resume fishing, fraud, and other types of job pollution). And unfortunately, our data for November does not present a positive picture.
In November, there were 175,000 fewer new job listings on corporate websites throughout the country than there were in October, a sharp decline of 23%. Total job listings fell 6% from October, dropped by almost 120,000 from the prior month. Of course there is some seasonality in the data which we purposely do not remove, but even accounting for that, the employment situation appears to be getting a bit grim as we look ahead to December. What is particularly discouraging is that new and total job listings declined in every single state in the U.S.
In looking at new and total job growth by category, the picture is equally as bleak, with new and total job openings declining by 22% and 6% respectively.
It is in this table that we can see, at least partially, the seasonality in our data with new retail job openings decreasing by 30,000 from their peak in October and total job listings dropping by 26,000. Undoubtedly, there are other seasonal jobs mixed throughout other categories such as Supply Chain & Logistics, Hospitality & Travel, and Restaurant & Food Service, but the bulk of the seasonality factor is contained in the retail category and even factoring in the declines in that category, the November numbers are still horrible.
With the sharp decline in new and total job openings in our job search engine (which lists roughly 2.6 million job openings from 50,000 company websites across the country), our preliminary forecast for December’s jobs report (which will be released on January 9th) is a net gain of only 85,000 jobs. For our November forecast, we have to look back to our October data which showed a minuscule 0.5% increase in the blended average of new and total job openings on LinkUp that month. Based on that data, we are forecasting a net gain of 235,000 jobs for the November NFP number that will be released this Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One last data point worth highlighting comes from our jobs duration report. Each month, we look at the all the jobs that companies removed from their corporate websites over the previous 6 months, presumably because were filled with a new hire, and calculate the average number of days that those jobs had been on the company’s corporate website.
Between April and October, that number had steadily declined from 51 days in April to 41 days in October which matches the increased traction in the labor market during that period. Unfortunately, that number jumped up to almost 44 days in November, further indicating a slow-down in hiring. That slow-down couldn’t be more evident when one looks at the monthly change in new and total job openings on LinkUp over the course of the year.
The average monthly increase in new and total job openings so far this year has been 4% and 3% respectively, but the trend line most definitely provides some cause for concern. We are definitely in for some turbulence ahead, and I wouldn’t be too quick to predict an imminent increase in wages or an accelerated timetable for a raise in rates by Janet Yellen. While we’ll certainly celebrate the 10th straight month of a 200,000+ jobs number on Friday, we expect that streak to come to an abrupt end in December.
If that makes you a bit depressed, cheer up with a clip of Bill Hader’s James Carville on Weekend Update.
You think you’re doing everything right. You’ve spruced up your resume, you’ve set job alerts and you’ve applied online to as many applicable positions as you can. So why does it seem like it’s taking forever to see any interest?
If your job prospects seem depressingly low despite your frequent activity, it can be easy to blame a recovering economy, fierce competition or simply poor timing. But it might not be that simple. The problem could actually be you!
So many job hunters think they are doing everything in their power to find a job, but in reality, they are actually quite lazy. I’m not saying this applies to everyone and I’m surely not calling people names; it’s human nature to try to get something with as little effort as possible. But when job searching, minimal effort is often not enough.
Sure job alerts are a great start. You get automatic emails sent when a job matches your defined criteria and then you can click to apply within minutes online. It’s likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are doing the exact same thing. So how are you standing out from the crowd?
Job hunting is a job in itself, and unfortunately it takes a lot of time and effort. It must be done routinely. Yet many people aren’t taking the important job-searching steps regularly, let alone on a daily basis.
In fact, on an average day an unemployed American is more likely to go shopping than to look for a job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only 18.9 percent spend time doing job-hunting activities each day, while 40.8 percent shop either in a store, by telephone or on the Internet!
The truth of the matter is that a job search isn’t a “set it and forget it” undertaking. Your dream job will not come find you; you must find it, and most likely that process will take a lot of organization and effort. Yes, automate as much of your search as possible, apply online and set job alerts, but you need to take additional steps to rise above the competition.
First, you need to network. As they say, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. Be active on LinkedIn, join industry organizations, and reach out to past colleagues and professors. You may be surprised by who knows who and how each person can assist you in finding a new job. Be sure to be specific when asking your contacts for assistance. Make it easy for them to help you by requesting a referral on a particular position, or to connect you to a specific person. A blanket “will you help me find a job” is lazy and will not be fruitful.
Second, stop sending the same resume to every job for which you apply. It’s never a “one-size-fits-all” situation and recruiters can tell immediately if you’re not customizing your resume for a specific position or company. It doesn’t take long to update a resume for the specific job you are applying for when you make use of targeted keywords and company lingo. It’s definitely worth the effort!
Third, make your cover letter count. Some people argue that the cover letter doesn’t matter, but is submitting a haphazard cover letter for a job you really want a risk you should take? No! Remember, this is your first impression, so don’t make it a lazy one. The cover letter should demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job, your genuine interest in the company and your passion for your career.
In reality, if broken up into daily tasks, job hunting the right way doesn’t have to be very time consuming. It must be done every day, though, and you must be proactive and take the time to do each step correctly. Then and only then will you find a job more quickly than some of the lazier candidates who are still wondering why they are sitting at home waiting.
A purple squirrel is an elusive job candidate with the exact skills, experience, education and training required for your toughest to fill position. Some would argue they also ride unicorns, save babies from burning buildings and can double your revenue with a single click. Ok, not really, but it is a common recruiting industry term used to refer to the perfect candidate.
The existence of the purple squirrel is often argued, and perfect is a strong word, but I am certain those candidates who offer the most, are the hardest to recruit and hire. That’s because they are not only perfect to you, they are perfect to your competitors as well. Well have no fear, we’ve come up with some quick and easy tips to hunt and catch your very own purple squirrel:
1. Get their attention: You need to stand out against the crowd of recruiters also looking to hire your purple squirrel, so get creative. Consider gamification, sponsor a contest, utilize creative marketing techniques where your purple squirrel is likely to work or play, or consider non-traditional recruiting media, like a fun video or a “jobcast.” Need some ideas? Check out these creative strategies.
2. Court them: When you have identified your purple squirrel target, approach the recruiting relationship like dating. Purple squirrels are often passive candidates, who are in high demand. By connecting with them across channels and consistently engaging them, you can prove your interest and establish a relationship. Utilize sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to dialogue with the candidate on topics of interest and comment on the quality of their work.
3. Sell the work: Once you’ve got their attention and have established a relationship, it’s time sell the job. Purple squirrels are passionate about their work, and they are incredibly good at it. Communicate and highlight the aspects of the job (and company) that will best stimulate their intellectual curiosity and get them excited. Consider personalizing the job where appropriate, or allow them to choose their projects.
4. Move quickly: Purple squirrels are often passive and are not actively looking for a new job, so make the interview and application process as simple and quick as possible to avoid losing their interest. Don’t force them to complete complex and time consuming assessments when you know their qualified, or go through 10 rounds of interviews. Streamline the process to assess to only what is absolutely necessary, and omit what is not.
5. Wow them: Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Utilize bonuses, benefits and extras to prove you want them and let them know they will be well compensated for their work. If they are a true purple squirrel, make sure you offer them the salary they deserve, strong enough that it doesn’t require them to negotiate. As an added touch, have your CEO deliver the offer to commute that excitement for the candidate goes all the way to the top.
6. Use the right team: Make sure you are using the right team and resources to attract, engage, and hire your purple squirrel. Leverage people across your organization, as well as partners, like LinkUp’s recruitment advertising team, to ensure you are setting yourself up for success.
The economy may be improving, but the battle for top talent wages on. Recruiters are all too familiar with the situation, as they are always fighting to fill those critical positions that always seem to be in demand. There just doesn’t seem to be enough adequate candidates to fill all the necessary roles, and this makes competition fierce.
A unique approach to hiring strives to change this problem, and it involves creating evergreen jobs programs.
If you don’t know what an evergreen job is, the concept is rather simple. An evergreen job is the top critical positions that are always open at an organization. It could be that the employer has many people filling a similar role or that the position has high turnover. Either way, evergreen jobs are particularly common in industries like health care, retail, technology and customer service. Much like an evergreen tree never loses its needles, these jobs always need to be filled.
Forward-thinking organizations develop evergreen jobs programs. Rather than creating a pipeline of talent and filling a position only to stop when a candidate is selected and an offer accepted, evergreen jobs programs allow for hiring to happen on a continual basis for these mission-critical jobs. Basically, the company deliberately over-hires in anticipation of future demand so the additional talent found does not go elsewhere for work.
For many companies, an evergreen jobs program is a radical concept. Traditional hiring methodology calls for demand prior to searching for a candidate. Businesses in high-growth mode or those in industries that consistently fight for talent are most likely to consider the concept of having a hiring surplus through a program like this.
What are the advantages of an evergreen jobs program? Here are five to consider:
1. Never miss a great candidate
When multiple awesome candidates apply for an open position, it can be difficult to select just one. An evergreen jobs program allows a company to hire multiple people due to anticipated future demand, so you don’t have to miss out on nabbing the runner-up who you think would still be a great fit for the company.
2. Select the best of the best
Traditional hiring means selecting the best person who is currently available and interested in the job. The stars must align at that perfect point in time for both parties. An evergreen jobs program lets you select the best candidate without time constrictions, which eliminates that aspect of coincidence that is so unpredictable.
3. Adequate training opportunities
A reactive hiring approach involves getting someone in and trained as quickly as possible. An evergreen jobs program, on the other hand, involves hiring quality candidates right now before the demand emerges, providing the opportunity for extra time to on-board and train the candidate. Then the candidate is fully up to speed when the position becomes available.
4. It saves time
Advertising, recruiting and interviewing all require a lot of time and resources. When you consolidate efforts and decide to hire more than one person, you eliminate having to start the whole process over again at a later date. The hiring steps are streamlined and the hiring manager is typically happier.
5. It saves money
How can hiring when there really isn’t a need be cost-effective? In addition to eliminating duplicate recruiting costs, it’s important to assess the negative impact an employee shortage will have on the company versus having a surplus for a short time. For example, if a company goes for two months without filling a necessary position, and then it takes another month of training to get the employee up to speed, three months of productivity will have been lost. If a candidate were hired two months early, however, he would already be trained and only one month of extra pay would be required. Obviously this is a very basic example, but you get the picture. Planning ahead can ultimately save the company financially, as well as reduce stress and anxiety at the workplace.
There’s never a dull moment in the talent-acquisition field, especially when candidates keep interviewers on their toes with the most bizarre comments and questionable behaviors. This goes beyond the person who wore too much cologne or showed up two hours early to an interview – some of the worst experiences hiring managers have had will leave you laughing out loud:
1. Will the pot I smoked show up on a drug test?
A drug test is part of the hiring process at many companies. It’s best if interviewers avoid questions regarding the drug test unless it’s about directions to drive to the clinic.
“I was interviewing a candidate for an executive assistant position,” says Tom Hart, COO of Eliassen Group. “The woman was also a candidate for a flight attendant position at a major airline. As the interview concluded, the woman wanted to know if she could ask me a personal question. I said sure. Her question: ‘If I smoked pot yesterday, would it register on a drug test tomorrow? The airline says I need to pass a drug test before they’ll consider hiring me,’ she said. I told her it would show up, and wished her good luck with that.”
Avoiding incriminating questions on drug tests should be a given, even more important is avoiding drugs all together. I once heard of a candidate who successfully completed an interview but went on to fail their drug test. When confronted by HR they replied that they had not consumed any illegal substances, rather they had been bitten in a bar fight by someone who had and the drugs entered their blood stream. True story! I think the moral is avoid drugs and don’t hang out with drug addicted vampires.
2. Do you mind if I eat this snack?
Eye contact, focus, natural conversation – all keys to a good interview. Disrupting this flow with a ringing cell phone, jingling jewelry, noticeable nervous tick or food all rank high on the list of what you shouldn’t do during an interview.
“I had a candidate pull out an energy bar and start to eat,” says Alyssa Gelbard, founder of Resume Strategists Inc. “She said she was starved and asked if I minded if she ate her bar. The thing was, she wasn’t really asking because she went into her bag, opened the bar and took a bite before she actually asked me if I minded!”
Better yet, I once worked with an HR professional who was offered a partially consumed Diet Mt. Dew at the end of an interview. The interviewee had stated that he was not likely to finish it. More polite than eating a granola bar in front of someone, but even my 3-year-old knows not to share germs with strangers!
3. My biggest flaw is being too awesome
It’s not an easy question for anyone to answer, but when interviewers ask, “What’s your biggest flaw?” the responses are often more than manipulated (ahem Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin).
“My biggest pet peeve when interviewing applicants is his/her response to ‘What is your biggest flaw?’ Being too organized, overly attentive, too trusting, etc.” says Michelle Burke, marketing supervisor at WyckWyre HR Stystems. “We all have flaws, including employers. Honesty is key, and we all know your biggest flaw isn’t being overly organized and always on time. Be honest with your employer and they’re more likely to relate to you and offer you the job.”
4. Let me kick back and get a little too comfortable
Interviewers evaluate more than just resumes and answers to questions, they observe behaviors to see how you might be a good or bad fit for the team.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see is when candidates act too comfortable during an interview,” says Kathleen Steffey, founder and CEO of Naviga Services. “For example, using curse words and revealing intimate details. These are all acceptable things to do in front of friends, but have no place during an interview. My biggest pet peeve out of these examples has to be when candidates chew gum. It is very distracting and I will even stop the interview to tell the candidate to take out their gum.”
5. Sorry, I just can’t hold a conversation
Nobody is an expert at interviewing, but there are a few basic skills that are necessary to make a good first impression. For starters, you need to be able to have a normal conversation with another human being.
Madeline Johnson, CEO of MJM Public Relations, notes her biggest pet peeves include: “Those who are completely inexperienced and lack the social skills/intelligence and/or confidence to hold a simple conversation. I have a public relations company, and if the interviewee can’t do small talk – then why did they waste my time?”
It’s also a good idea to use proper English and grammar in interviews. Johnson still recalls ‘yousguysis Becky’ as one of the funniest interviews she’s ever conducted because the term was said countless times during the meeting.
6. Tell me how this job will benefit me
Clearly a job interview helps both the employee and potential employee see if they would be a good match, but too often candidates will make the interview all about them without addressing what’s in it for the company.
“The worst questions to ask during a job interview are questions that are focused squarely on you rather than what you can do for the employer,” says Bob Myhal, president of NextHire. “Early questions about your compensation, your benefits, or your needs almost always send a red flag to the interviewer that you’re the type of high-maintenance, me-first person that employers universally dread.”
Myhal says it’s really about timing of questions and establishing you can do the job before addressing salary and benefits. “Don’t lead off with talk about salary,” he says. Interviewing for a job is like a courtship. If the first date is going really well, then you can ask for another and maybe even seal the deal with a kiss. If the first interview is going well, then it’s okay to touch on salary toward the end of the conversation.”
Now it’s your turn – what are some of the funniest or strangest interview experiences you have had? Please share in the comments!
Whether it’s ordering your morning cappuccino or closing a deal with a major new business partner, customer service reigns king. The numbers don’t lie: 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, according to McKinsey. If that experience turns sour after receiving poor customer service, 89 percent of people stop doing business with a company, states a RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report.
In our industry, we know some of our competitors are more focused on revenue than customer satisfaction. That’s why we take a unique approach with our clients: we put you first. Customer service always has been and always will be a top priority at LinkUp. As we grow and evolve, we look for new ways to better serve clients, and today we are proud to announce the brand-spanking-new client service team! As a client of LinkUp you will have a dedicated client service team.
What does this mean to current and future clients? An even better customized service to meet all your needs. We want to give you a world-class experience so you can’t help but love partnering with us.
Our customer service super heroes work closely to provide support in setting up and optimizing recruitment advertising campaigns and generating customized reports for clients. This helpful breakdown shows you how the client service team will ensure all campaigns are successful:
- Serves as point of contact on LinkUp products and services to answer any and all questions
- Manages and maintains client relationships to make sure you are completely satisfied
- Serves as client point of contact on account setup, renewals, reports and captures client feedback
- Works closely with sales and the campaign manager on process improvement to ensure unparalleled customer satisfaction
- Launches and optimizes client campaigns for mind-blowing results
- Provides actionable analytics and insights for campaigns so client can understand performance and make adjustments to maximize outcomes
Awesome customer service doesn’t involve just one person. We know it’s a group effort, and that is why we have created dedicated client service teams. We’re confident you’ll have an experience unlike any other.
I’m not one to often hedge my bets, but there are a few compelling data points worth highlighting that point to the possibility that tomorrow’s jobs numbers for October could be even bigger than our ‘official’ forecast of 293,000 jobs. Our official forecast, already well above the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 235,000, is based on approximately a 4% increase in new and total job openings in August which we expect will correlate to solid job gains in October.
But in addition to the August data (which is derived from LinkUp Raw, our labor market data product), a few other data points provide compelling evidence that the non-farm payroll number for October might actually be closer to a net gain of 325,000 or even 350,000 jobs.
The first data point is that in October, new job listings rose .8% and total job listings fell .6%.
Those percentages are pretty small and might be too small to warrant much attention, but it has never been the case in any month since we started tracking labor market data in 2008 that new job listings rose while total job listings declined. But October is always a bit of an anomaly with heavy holiday hiring and greatly accelerated hiring cycles and it is precisely those factors that I believe are driving a decrease in total job listings despite an increase in new job openings.
The strength that we’ve seen in the labor market for most of the year, combined with an uptick in labor demand for the holidays has led to a steady increase in new job listings which continued in October. Strong retail labor demand is most definitely evident when one looks at the total number of retail job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine this year as compared to the past two years.
While the overall increase in job openings can be largely attributed to the simple fact that we have added thousands of new companies to our search engine in the past 3 years, what is very relevant in the chart below is the fact that retail hiring started earlier in the year in 2014 than in either of the prior two years and has remained at an elevated level for a much longer period of time.
But the increase in new job openings on LinkUp in October means that for total jobs to have declined last month, even more jobs had to have come off the site, presumably because they were filled with hires. (The reasons we can make that assumption is because unlike a traditional pay-to-post job board where duration-based ads appear and are later removed because an employer pays for the ad for a specified period of time, our search engine indexes ONLY jobs found on corporate websites. Because of that, jobs in LinkUp’s job search engine are only included or removed from our search engine if they appear on a company’s website or are removed from a company’s website – in theory because an employer has a job they want to fill which is then later filled with a hire). And that dramatic increase in the number of jobs that came off LinkUp is precisely what happened last month.
The chart above shows both how many jobs rolled off LinkUp in the past 6 months (3.1 million) as well as how long those jobs had been on the search engine prior to being filled (the X axis, in days). In October, not only did the total number of jobs that came off the site in the prior 6 months jump by 600,000 jobs, but 368,000 of those jobs had been on the site for less than 15 days. That’s a lot of hiring going on, and a huge increase in the ‘velocity’ of that hiring.
That velocity, or the speed by which companies are filling open positions with new hires (often referred to as ‘speed-to-hire’), has been steadily increasing throughout the year. As the graphic below indicates, companies took an average of 51 days to fill jobs back in April, and are now only taking 41 days, on average, to fill jobs.
All of that is a really long-winded, over-evidenced way of saying that companies are posting a lot more new job openings, are filling even more job openings with new hires, and are making those hires faster than they have in a long time. That means we could see a really big number tomorrow morning. It might even be HUGE.
The more experience the better, right? If your employment history and education go above and beyond what is required in a job description, you might think you are a shoo-in for at least an interview. But don’t be surprised if you aren’t getting the quick responses you expected – or any responses at all. You are likely labeled as overqualified, which can mean your resume goes right in the trash.
In last week’s blog we addressed the positives and negatives of hiring overqualified candidates, but what if you are the candidate in question? If you are looking for a job and fear you will be labeled as overqualified, there are a number of different things you can do to present yourself well, ease employer concerns and come out ahead with a new job.
Use the power of your network
References and recommendations are so powerful, especially if they come from someone within the organization where you’d like to be hired. When someone trusted can vouch for you and make the hiring manager understand you would be a smart addition to the team, it speaks volumes and is a direct way to fight the dreaded overqualified label.
Speak wisely and be approachable
Industry jargon and high-level terminology can overwhelm an interviewer. While you want to speak intelligently, you still want to come across as approachable and relatable. Know when to scale back so you don’t scare anyone away. Additionally, always keep your ego in check.
Express willingness to negotiate salary
Employers are concerned that hiring overqualified candidates will cost them too much, and often times they are constrained to strict pay ranges. Direct these concerns head-on. Explain that you understand and will work within certain pay scales.
To ease worries that you just need a job until something better comes along, demonstrate that you are a loyal employee with specific examples. Point out longevity with past employers and explain how you want a job for the long-term – a place where you can contribute, learn and grow professionally.
Focus on skills more than job titles
Fancy job titles can be intimidating, which is why many overqualified candidates are dismissed. Rather than emphasizing the title, focus on the skills you have that would make you the best candidate for the job. Use words directly from the job description whenever possible.
Demonstrate new skills and added value
Make sure to address the most recent skills you’ve gained and explain how these are of value to the company. Your new skills, competence and proactive approach to learning are a huge value to an employer, plus it shows you aren’t stuck in old ways of doing things.
Stay positive and enthusiastic
Whether you are overqualified or underqualified, one of the worst things you can do is to come off as having lackluster interest about the job. You must seem enthusiastic about the position otherwise you’ll lose out to someone else who is. Let your passion shine!