As Summer Ends, Hiring Season Begins.

End of summer update from President and Founder of ProSearch, Ed McKersie.

With the end of summer fast approaching, many would-be job seekers will be entering the market and reviewing their options. Our team always sees a flurry of activity as people seek out temporary/contract, temp-to-hire, and career opportunities now that kids are heading back to school, and the final weeks of August are upon us. From Labor Day to the end of the year, hiring managers have a higher sense of urgency to fill open positions and get their teams in place. Given all that has been written about the complexities of this economy and business climate, I thought it would be an excellent time to offer my thoughts on the state of the job market in Maine.

A Message to Employers:

We all know the unemployment rate is again at record lows, and many people are reluctant to re-enter the job market if that means heading into an office five days a week. I recommend that you reevaluate each position on its own when determining if you need an employee onsite full-time or if you could offer a hybrid or even fully remote opportunity to a qualified candidate. We are seeing a continued desire by most job seekers to find either a remote or hybrid position. Job openings requiring full-time in the office are much harder to fill in this market.

In a tight employment market, it’s important to have a flexible interview and evaluation process. While you don’t want to skip any steps in your process, finding ways to combine those steps (having your first and second round of interviews on the same day, for example) puts you at a competitive advantage when the right person comes along. Job seekers are getting multiple offers, and getting them quickly, so it’s important to be ready to move just as quickly when necessary.

Be open to training someone on the required skills you are seeking. While you always want to have a solid job description that gives you and any new employee the proper grounding in the requirements and expectations of the job, being flexible where you can is equally important. As a hiring manager, I know some of my best hires over the years have been people I “took a chance on” because they didn’t have all the required experience, but they had the right attitude and I knew they would be a good addition to my team. When people know you took a risk on them, they tend to be more loyal and work harder to prove you made the right choice in giving them the opportunity.

Get accurate and up-to-date compensation information. Not having a firm grip on the current market means you will overlook qualified people and most likely will have to restart your search after interviewing several candidates. My team sees this happen frequently and it’s our first recommendation when we engage with our clients- know the market. We understand budget constraints and potential internal inequities, but knowing what you will need to pay to be competitive is crucial before you begin evaluating and interviewing candidates.

A message to job seekers:

Yes, it is a job seekers market. That is no reason to ghost employers when they have set aside time to meet you for an interview or after you have accepted a job offer. My theory on ghosting is that job seekers don’t know how to have difficult conversations when they find another job or decide they aren’t interested in an interview. This is a skill you need to learn. It’s okay to reach out and tell an employer you changed your mind or found the job of your dreams and therefore won’t be coming to the interview or won’t be showing up for the job you accepted. It isn’t personal and you should develop the ability to have these hard interactions. If you can’t find it within yourself to call, at least email the employer and give them the news. They will respect you for it and this allows them to move on to other candidates.

Do your own research on employers before you decide to interview. Finding out all you can about an employer’s values and culture is important and doing so before an interview allows you to develop questions that will help you decide if you want to join their team. Interviewing is a two-way street; asking good questions also shows you’re not just there to get a job offer but are seriously evaluating whether this is the right career move for you.

Regarding compensation, yes again, it’s a job seekers market. This means that employers will make their best offer to increase the chances of you accepting it. So don’t let compensation drive your decision when evaluating offers. Sure, we all need to pay our bills, and you won’t take a job that doesn’t pay you enough to make ends meet but putting compensation ahead of more important things is a way to end up working in the wrong job (or turning down the right job). Consider what skills and experience you will gain from this job opportunity- how it will build your resume for the longer term. Also, make sure you will be working with people you respect and can learn from and that you will be proud of working for the employer you choose. Job satisfaction is much more about those things than your compensation, especially early in your career.

So, to employers and job seekers in Maine, here’s to the end of summer and the beginning of the fall hiring season.

As we say at Prosearch- Let’s Get to Work!