If you're in the midst of looking for a new job, you've probably heard the catchphrase "there are simply no jobs out there." And while that may be true in one sense, there's also a lot to consider when it comes to the state of employment today.
This post is all about what the biggest hiring challenges and what you can do as an applicant to overcome them.
The Job Seeker's Paradox
The job seeker's paradox is the idea that when there are too many applicants for a job, the employer becomes pickier and typically requires more education and experience.
Here's an example: You have just graduated from college with a degree in accounting. You want to work at a big firm. You heard an opening has come up at one of the top firms in town, so you submit your resume and cover letter.
After a few weeks, you still haven't heard anything from the company. Upon calling them, you're informed that there's another college graduate who is already offering three years of work experience. The decision makers would like to see if you can offer even more experience in their field (accounting) before interviewing you.
The job seeker's paradox is a real problem when it comes to finding a job in today's market.
If you're just starting out in a new field, you may be asked to prove yourself and give the company more experience. The only way to do this is with substantive experience that shows you can handle the job.
Being Hired for Gaps in Education
Education is very important when it comes to finding and keeping a job. Many companies will hire someone with just a bachelor's degree because they realize they could always get someone else with their degree some time down the road.
However, there are other companies out there that will only hire someone with a bachelor's degree.
While some people may not like this fact, it is an accurate reflection of the job market today.
In order to compete for a job at those companies, you've got to have a degree at the very least. If you don't, you'll probably end up getting hired by someone who does have a degree.
This could result in an unbalanced income.
Why do companies hoard applicants?
There are three reasons why a company might hold off on hiring someone even though they're interested in them.
1. They're waiting to see how the competition works out, which is just their confidence talking.
2. The company doesn't know what steps they should take to hire that person yet, which is just their indecision speaking.
3. The company may have no idea how to evaluate applicants, so they may see no need to hire someone.
It's important to realize all of the above is just their indecisiveness speaking. They're not really that indecisive.
The Solution: The Hiring Process
Now that we know we have to have a degree in order to get a job, you may be asking yourself how do I break through that barrier? How can I get past the education requirement?
There are several strategies you can use in this situation.
One is to leverage your knowledge and keep an open mind. You never know what they're looking for until you find out. They might surprise you with a "we're more interested in experience than education" type of role. Even if that's the case, be prepared to prove yourself.
You can also suggest an alternative approach. For example, "I understand you're looking for someone with experience in accounting but what about a recent grad who has a strong interest in this field?"
Regardless of how you come up with a solution to this problem, it's important to remember the market is changing and jobs are moving away from just looking for people with college degrees. It's a fact of life that you need to be able to show employers you can do the job. So keep your mind open.