June 26, 2017

Recruiters & Reality: What Millennials Need to Know about the Marketplace

By Courtney Rice, Partner, Banking

Let’s Start with the Truth

People of every age appreciate being treated like intelligent adults. So it’s important for job candidates from every generation—but especially Millennials, the youngest of which are still learning the ropes of how to conduct their job search—to know the realities of the recruiting process and the expectations of the marketplace.

Let’s face it: misinformation is everywhere. It’s no surprise that many especially young job seekers are entertaining unrealistic expectations based on apocryphal stories or preconceived notions about their employability from family, friends, or online sources.

So I’d like to begin by shining a light on four basic truths about finding and landing that dream job.

1.     It’s tough out there.

It just is. And, if you’re a Millennial, you already know this and you are probably tired of hearing about it. You know that going to college and earning excellent grades and doing everything else that you were promised would land you a dream job was all, well, often wishful thinking or outright misinformation.

The truth is the marketplace is still very competitive and employers are evaluating many different great candidates for the one opening. Regardless of what you’ve heard about the boom years of the past or the sunny economic future, the best approach to the marketplace is to accept that “competitive” is the new norm, and that focus, hard work, and a positive attitude will lead you to a job faster than speculation and preconceptions.

2.     Your salary is determined by context.

Your prospective salary is – like it or not – not only determined by the “range” that you hear the position pays. Any offer we may negotiate for you is dependent on a number of things – 1) what you’re currently making (as fair or not as they may be), 2) how well you interview, and 3) what others with your similar skill set are making inside their organization.

Know that most rewarding careers are cultivated over time and grown methodically, step-by-step. The current valuation of your talents and skills are the barometer by which your future employers will assess your salary. In fact, most changes from job A to job B entail a general 10% raise.

You will encounter exceptions to this rule along the way. It happens. But it’s not the norm. Knowing this will save you unlimited amounts of frustration and angst as you try to understand why life is being unfair to you and rewarding your work nemesis with a tremendous salary increase and an upgrade to a corner office. Remember that large salary increases are accompanied by large increases in responsibility and stress, and that these leaps from one work lifestyle to another can be fraught with risk. Run your own race, one step at a time.

3.     Interviews are based on performance.

Landing a new job is based on how well you interview. It’s that simple, and that important. Prepare. Practice. And be yourself, or at least be that version of yourself that your future self will thank for landing the job. Treat your interviewer like an actual person who has family, friends, and has sat on your side of the table. Ask great questions.

Also know that despite how professional and prepared a candidate is for an interview, the actual interaction—and all of the critical nuances that process involves—determines the outcome. A suitable match sometimes comes down to circumstance and chemistry, those elements of life that we often have no control over. Just do your best, BE YOURSELF, and don’t look back.

4.     An “almost” skills set isn’t always good enough. 

When a company uses a recruiting firm to fill a position, it’s often because they’re seeking a very specialized skill set and/or they’ve had a hard time filling the position on their own. Which means that they will often be extra picky – and rightfully so, as they’re paying a fee for that hire.

Don’t forget that a candidate’s skills and talents must directly align with a job’s requirements and responsibilities. This means that close doesn’t count. Sure, you may have 80 percent of the required skills locked down, but a good fit means 100 percent. No exceptions. Don’t succumb to the temptation to round up.

Clients and candidates both want an exact match, but regularly underestimate the difficulty of finding the perfect person or ideal job. It’s tempting to cut corners, but compromising only wastes everyone’s time. There are no shortcuts. The recruiting process requires strategic thinking, sustained effort, and experienced instincts. That’s why we’re here to help!