What's really going on in the job market?: Tips from an executive recruiter

I met with Edward Santimauro, Senior Client Partner in the Chicago office of Korn/Ferry International, to get his prospective on the current job market. As a former director of worldwide professional recruitment at the management consultant firm, Hewitt Associates, he's adept at interviewing job seekers and even gives himself credit for being, "pretty good at it."

He indicated that 90% of the recent candidate's he's met with do not interview well.  Yet, when he asked a group of job seekers if they thought they interviewed well, most said, "yes".  Clearly, there is a disconnect as to how the candidate's see themselves as opposed to the hiring companies.

I agree with Mr. Santimauro in his assessment.  Most of the job seekers I meet can use some coaching on their interviewing skills. With competition for jobs being fierce, a stellar interview can separate you from your competition.  The ability to communicate effectively in todays' business environment is critical to your success.

When I asked Mr. Santimauro if he believed the job market was picking up, he hesitated and said that everyone asks him that question (poor guy)!  He does confirm that there are pockets of demand in sectors such as energy and healthcare. He even saw some opportunities at some companies in the financial sector.

Certainly his observations didn't surprise me based on what I hear from my clients, but it confirmed that we are still in a very difficult job market and it will be some time before companies actively added staff.

I liked the three tips Mr. Santimauro offered for potential job seekers.  They are as follows: Be specific as to focusing on 15 or so companies that you want to work at.  Stay focused on a name brand firm, but also look at some firms less known. Lastly, consider relocating for a job which will improve your chances of finding a job.

My advice is to continue to work on your communication and interviewing skills, create a business plan for your job search and be flexible.

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