Why Job Hunting Just Became Easier (And Safer)!

job hunting is easier and saferBy Skip Freeman

Yes, you read the headline correctly! Job hunting did in fact just become easier -- and safer!

I know what you're probably thinking . . . Skip, have you completely lost your mind?! Don't you know what's been happening on Wall Street?! Don't you read the bleak "jobs reports?!" Don't you know there is genuine fear that we could have a "double-dip" recession?! Are you aware that consumer confidence is at historic lows?! Don't you know that the "sky" may actually be falling?!

Yes, yes, I know all of that but I still stand by the headline: Job hunting has become both easier and safer. I have two very good reasons for saying this:

  • The field of job hunters has suddenly-and somewhat unexpectedly!-become smaller, i.e., fewer people are now looking for new jobs.
  • Companies that are hiring -- and there are companies that are still hiring! -- are genuinely serious about filling their positions, so there is far less risk today of new jobs being "temporary" or short-lived.

The Thinning Ranks Of Job Hunters

The job hunt has just become easier because of the reduction in the number of "competitors," i.e., other job seekers, out there in today's job market. (Again, you are probably thinking that I have lost it here, but please bear with me.) When most people (perhaps you included) think of the numbers of job seekers in today's job market, they almost always focus on the figure of about 15 million, the "official" number of unemployed workers. In fact, until just recently, the more realistic figure to focus on was about 135 million! That's because there are an estimated 120 million currently employed people who -- again, until just recently -- have been saying, largely because of dissatisfaction with their current employers, that they are also ready to make a move and look for a new job.

The chaotic events of recent months, though, have served to weaken the resolve of a significant portion of the currently employed who were contemplating new jobs. Here is the kind of thing we're routinely hearing today from this segment of job seekers:

"I think I need to just 'hang in there' for the time being."

"I don't want to take the risk of leaving my current job, which is reasonably sound, for a new job that might last just a few months."

So, for the time being at least, with the exodus -- temporary though it may prove to be -- of a sizable segment of currently employed people from the job market, the ranks of job seekers have been substantially thinned. That means that for those job seekers who are bold enough, courageous enough, and who can effectively brand themselves as being among "the best of the best" job candidates, the job hunt just got a little bit easier!

Think of it this way: Like Wall Street, when stock prices take a deep tumble, most people become fearful and "bail out!" Those who are somewhat bolder and possess the ability to see "bargains" in significantly reduced prices of quality stocks, later are among those few who ultimately prosper!

A New Job Today Is A Much Safer Bet

The reason job hunting is safer today is because companies are far less prone to bring on a new hire unless they are absolutely certain that they really need that person. The layoffs and downsizings of the past three years have now brought most companies down to a baseline in regard to staffing levels. And most companies today are taking the attitude that they would rather take the risk of having too few people than the cost risk of having even one too many people. So, when a company today states that they need to hire someone, they generally really need to hire someone! Let me share some recent business experience in our executive recruiting firm to bolster this fact.

As "headhunters," our executive recruiting firm does have a somewhat clearer view into "the crystal ball" than is the case with the typical job hunter. Here is an anecdotal glimpse of what we're now seeing just in our firm alone:

  • In the last 60 days, only three of the 40-plus positions we are currently working on have been put on hold. Only one is due to the company wanting to take a "wait and see" attitude on the economy. The other two are on hold now due to a merger.
  • We already have filled three positions this month and have just had an offer accepted on a fourth position.
  • In the last two weeks alone we have received calls from companies asking us to work on eight new positions.

What this all means, of course, is that, if one takes a new job today, there is far less risk that the new job will turn out to be merely temporary or short-lived. It gets messy for companies to have to lay off newly hired people. It not only can hurt their brand and public image, it also can have a very negative impact on current employees, already fearful that the "axe" may soon fall on them too. So, when one accepts and starts a new position with a company today, more often than not, they can feel far more confident that the position will last (as long as they perform satisfactorily, of course), since most companies have already deeply and thoroughly assessed whether or not they actually need the position filled in the first place.

Hiring Still Somewhat Of A Drawn Out Process

Significant to note here, however, is that I am not saying companies that are hiring today are going to be filling their new positions quickly. Today, the hiring process is still rather elongated by historic standards, taking (from start to finish) about four to six months.

Am I saying that getting a new position has all of a sudden become just a "breeze?" Of course not. But for those candidates who are savvy enough to recognize that a sudden, somewhat unexpected, shifting of the job market landscape has in fact recently taken place, there are increased opportunities. But these increased opportunities still come with a cost. Only those candidates who have branded themselves as deserving to be among the elite group of candidates will be able to fully capitalize on these opportunities, and the time to "strike" is now, before this rather unexpected "window of opportunity" suddenly closes again!

Skip Freeman is the author of " 'Headhunter' Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!" and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

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Ron Bowles

It is rather amusing how deductive reasoning can be word smithed into "surprisingly good news" for job seekers. I guess if the millions who are unemployed and underemployed just quit looking and stay home, then the supply and demand curve will dole out some "surprisingly good news" for the remaining applicants. Uh-huh.

September 08 2011 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am SOOooo sick and tired of filling out application after application only to hear "we accept all applications but currently we are not hiring or we have already filled the position,Such BS! do you want to hire or are you just playing games ?? Quit wasting our time and YOURS and be honest !

September 08 2011 at 6:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

cica 1018 ..... your an idiot ........... think about what you said .........here's a family making min. wages with ten kids using the school system ...... most americans have 2 because that's all they can afford ... were are we getting ahead ?? .......wise up....

September 08 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i find that companys are still saying they can't find qualified help ....... but the truth is they can't find qualified help that will work for nothing ...........

September 08 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrskrip's comment

So very true they want something for nothing and in the process the drain your emotions thinking you will get a job when in fact they are just "scouting" Sick of it ,And then when the economy was great they would hire ANYONE and then a few months later if you are not what they are happy with drop you like a rock ,Either way employers have the upper hand and its getting REAL old !

September 08 2011 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't believe it.

September 08 2011 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most jobs are part-time, minimum wage, no benefit, no future dead end jobs. No benefits no protection from a tryant boss who hates his employees and will treat them as badly as he can. The Wal-Mart or Burger Barn job is the "new normal" and I feel sorry for those who will have to suffer with a crap job for their working life.

September 08 2011 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand how most of this can be true but I have been applying to jobs constantly and checking the same 20 or so websites every day for months. All I have noticed is that these sites leave the same positions up and then repost them and its the same exact jobs that were there 5 months ago. I find it extremely hard to believe with all the unemployed people out there that these companies can afford to be that picky and are not finding the right people for the jobs. It just seems fishy to me and it gets me so frustrated as someone who is unemployed and applying to jobs like it is my job with no results.

September 08 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Nothing has become easier, don't believe it. It has become worse than ever and all indications are it will stay that way. Even for basic jobs, headache. This country is still going down the toilet bowl. No one will tell me different. Hiring process stinks, no good jobs, BAD.

September 08 2011 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well that is definitely looking at the glass as half full when, in fact, it is completely empty in the middle of a drought.

September 08 2011 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Deport 30 million illegal aliens and it will create 30 million jobs, end school overcrowding and save taxpayers over 100 BILLION DOLLARS a year ! There are millions of people world wide waiting their turn to come here legally learn eglish and assimilate and work for an honest living.

September 08 2011 at 2:11 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to divrbrandon's comment

agreed. and employer bonded documented can come here for 3-6 mos pick our veggies and go home woithout spewing out anchor children or recieving any health or social services from Americans.

September 08 2011 at 3:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to parrot268's comment

No, if they go back, then its just as bad as illegal immigrants who don't contribute to our economy because all they make they send back to their wife and kids. Essentially, the employment from an illegal immigrant is here, but the benefit to the economy goes back to their home country. If we simplified the immigration process, they would bring their families here and spend the money here.

September 08 2011 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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