In our last post, we offered up some tips for companies looking to have a banner recruitment year in 2015. We couldn’t leave candidates out of the mix, though, so we created a strategy for them, too. Some components may appear obvious at first, but they have a slightly different meaning in the context of 2015, so read on.
1. Do your homework. You may be itching like crazy to get out of your current position and start something new, but don’t let the relative abundance of new opportunities distract you from your goals. It’s like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry—you end up with four bags of chips, a sleeve of cookies, and a frozen pizza instead of the rotisserie chicken and fresh vegetables that your plan for healthy eating said you should get. In other words: stay focused! Is this position really what you want for yourself? Will it get you to where you need to be long-term? Dig deeper. If the position you’re applying for is part of a growth initiative, how solid is their plan? Would your role be connected to the bigger picture, or would you just be an isolated source of increased productivity? Doing the extra research and reflection will pay off.
2. Shore up your career narrative. Employers always want to know why. Why did you leave your last position? Why do you want to work for us? Why’d you get that advanced degree in a field that has nothing to do with what you’re doing now? Even if they don’t ask the direct question, they want to know. Recruiting can be a risky business for those making the decisions, so the better you are at articulating a compelling career narrative, the quicker you’ll reduce the risk level in hiring you. Following our first tip—do your homework—can certainly come to your aid here as well. You need to be able to creatively insert yourself into the company’s plans and make it seem like their vision has been yours all along. In order to do that, of course, you need to know what that vision is—so hit the books (figuratively speaking, of course)!
3. Negotiate wisely. This time around, candidates may have a slight upper hand over employers when it comes to negotiating salary, but the key word here is slight. So be cautious, take it slow, and use your leverage wisely. Remember: you’re ultimately trying to work with these people, not put them in their place. If you come out throwing hay-makers and giving them everything you have, they might just exit the ring altogether—leaving you the champion of nothing. Instead, build a case for yourself, ground it in concrete evidence of the value you bring, and then let them respond. If you do the math for them, and make it seem simple, then they’ll have a hard time not accepting it.