Overcoming Long-term Employment Gaps

Spent a prolonged time out of the work force? The reasons can range from voluntary – like taking time off to be a stay-at-home parent or travel – to involuntary – such as dealing with a medical emergency or being laid off. While it may seem undesirable, your gap in employment doesn’t mean you’re unhirable. Here are three ways you can close the gap.

On paper

You can do a bit of visual trickery to your CV/resume to downplay gaps in employment. Enter the years you were employed, rather than using the standard month/year format. You can also use a smaller font size and not bold your employment dates. Some candidates with extended unemployment find that structuring their resumes functionally, rather than chronologically, help with filling in holes. By focusing on accomplishments and skills, rather than the amount of time spent at a job, they’re able to highlight attributes that attract hiring managers. It’s also perfectly acceptable to only focus on the past 10-15 years and omit any unrelated work experience.

Online

Leverage social media as much as you can. The more bait you put out there, the better your chances of reeling in an interview. LinkedIn is great because it’s essentially another outlet for your CV/resume – and recruiters often use it to fish for talent. LinkedIn does use a chronological, month/date format to showcase work experience, which doesn’t help with long unemployment gaps. But, you can plug up holes by explaining what you did during that time. If you were a homemaker, say it. If you volunteered, write that down. There are marketable skills, such as budgeting, management and teamwork, that are applicable for many jobs.

In person

Chances are, you probably won’t be asked about an unemployment gap that’s under six months. If you are asked about your unemployment gap at the interview, don’t skirt around the issue. Just be natural, direct and brief in your response. Then, swiftly move on to the next topic of conversation.

Need some reassurance that a gap in employment will result in automatic rejection? James Caan, a successful entrepreneur and business thought leader recently said, “I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual — if they haven’t been in work for a while but have the quality my company needs, I will hire them.”

Were you out of work for a while? Do you have any tips to share about getting back to work? We’d love to hear from you.

 

Hiring Can Cost You

How Hiring Can Cost You

Hiring a new employee? Get ready to pay the price. A report published by the Center for American Progress shows that companies typically spend up to one-fifth of an employee’s salary to find a replacement. These costs can include lost productivity, training, recruiting, background checks, overtime for workers picking up the slack – the list goes on and on.

In addition to the frustration and time suck of sifting through countless resumes and meeting with candidates, you want to be sure you make the right hiring decision so that you don’t have to go through the whole process again. That’s why working with a recruiter is so valuable.

We narrow down the list of candidates so that you only meet the cream of the crop. This fills your vacant position faster and reduces turnover by getting the right person in the door.

A couple of things to look for if you’re in the market for a recruiter:

– Experience: Simply put, the more years they’ve got under their belt, the better candidate pool they’ll be able to round up.

– Industry expertise: You will have better luck nailing down the right candidate if the recruiter is specialized in your field.

– Success stories: You want to know the recruiter is effective and can show the results to back up their claims.

In the market for high-tech sales talent? Let us know.

 

The Perfect Match

In all my years placing high-tech talent, I’ve found pairing the right candidate with the right job is a lot like dating. There are certain qualities you look for in a partner and when it’s a good match – you know it! Here are a couple of ways to tell if you’ve got a keeper:

The First Impression

When meeting a candidate if you’re immediately put off by his scraggly beard, chances are your clients will too. As superficial as it sounds, physical appearances matter. Bottom line is, you know the level of professionalism expected to get the job done. And if the person walking through the door is anything less, there’s no reason to move forward.

On the flipside, it’s a turnoff to candidates if they’re not shown the professional courtesy they expect. A bad impression could send a potentially good candidate running for the door or worse yet, garner your company a bad reputation among peers.

Good Conversation

Sure, it’s an interview. There are going to be questions that need answering. The tricky part is making the exchange interesting. The conversation needs to flow, not seem forced or have awkward silences. Find something in common – could be your alma mater, hometown, hobbies – and build on that. An engaging dialogue is a two-way street. Your attitude will either set the stage for a great conversation or an awful interrogation. If time seems to fly during the interview, chances are, it’s a good sign.

Common Ground

Travel, telecommuting, work/life balance – these are just some of the things to consider when finding a good fit. Is the company all buttoned up but you’re more comfortable working in jeans? Are weekends out of the question? As an employer, be upfront about what the corporate culture is like. As a candidate, be honest with yourself and the interviewer. If you want to come home for dinner every night but the job calls for extensive travel, it’s probably not for you.

Future Plans

Are you looking for a committed relationship or a temporary solution? Make sure your short and long-term goals are aligned. Is your ideal candidate one who can grow with the company? Are you looking to advance your career? Do you need someone for one project for only a brief period of time? These are questions you should ask yourself and your counterpart to ensure both parties are happy with the end result.

Happy Valentine’s Day!