As a recruiter for sales positions I'm often asked what I'm seeing out there in the market place. Both candidates and clients are extremely interested in finding out what other companies are doing and what the new landscape is turning out to look like.
Despite the fact that economists are indicating that the recession is over, it is still apparent that the job market is extremely competitive. As for any industry, there are tons of candidates on the market who have been displaced from their recent jobs and there are also a number of candidates who are currently working but are in search of something more stable or lucrative. Because of the influx of candidates on the market, companies have had the luxury of picking and choosing who they'll interview, let alone hire. More often than not, we are getting feedback from hiring organizations that they will only look at candidates who have immediate experience in the role that they are trying to fill. Unfortunately, even if a candidate has that type of experience a few years back, the companies would not consider those candidates relevant.
This recent behavior of hiring organizations has been frustrating for candidates and agencies alike due to the narrowness of the scope. However, companies have been selective not only because they can be, but because they feel that they have to be. Many organizations have experienced decreases in revenue quarter after quarter in 2009 and now they are looking to continue the growth that they have recently seen. They are looking to accomplish this by hiring and hiring correctly. Many organizations feel the way to ensure a successful hire is to mitigate as much risk as possible by hiring only candidates who have a proven track record in selling their type of solution to the specific audience that they are looking to sell to.
Today, there are more jobs on the market and companies are finally starting to hire more regularly. This is an extremely positive behavior that indicates a turn around in the market. However, the selectiveness of organizations has still persisted and will potentially be a continuing behavior of many companies over the next few quarters. Therefore, this scenario may prove to be the hardest sale of your career. Take a strategic approach to how you introduce yourself to companies and how you interview. Make sure that you draw similarities from your background to the open position to ensure the relevancy of your candidacy. Be it the sales size, sales cycle, complexity of a deal or the scope of the product, you have to make the similarities obvious for the hiring manager. Look at positions that you are interested in, be it outside your immediate experience or not, but also diversify your opportunities by applying for similar roles to what you've been in. It has not yet been indicated whether or not companies will loosen their spec in the near future, so set your expectations. However, there are more jobs out there than we have seen in months so your next dream job may be out there waiting for you. Go get it!