Strategies for Job Seekers in a Changing Environment

For anyone disbelieving the Canadian economy was in a fragile state, the Governor of the Bank of Canada affirmed your fears earlier this week. If the unexpected rate slash was an acknowledgement of just how challenged the economy is, then we can anticipate more unrest in the labour markets.

In difficult times the pendulum of advantage swings to the employer, greater access to talent, and less competition to retain staff.

Job seekers must be adaptive in times of turmoil. They must be creative marketers of themselves and effectively promote their accomplishments to create advantage.

One trend job seekers can expect to see more of, are job alignment assessments, personality, and aptitude testing. Employers can afford to be more selective in the hiring process when there is a surplus of labour.

There are many firms on PEI who rely on tests to ensure employees are a good cultural fit and bring complementary skills to a work environment. According to a Harvard Business Review article, global estimates suggest that tests are used for 72% of middle management positions, and up to 80% of senior roles, compared with 59% of entry-level positions.

If you haven’t been exposed to employment testing, you most likely will be. It is anticipated that companies will increase their reliance on these tests in the coming years.

When being interviewed, if you are confronted with one of these ‘tests’, take it seriously. Face it like any test you have encountered and be prepared – study. According to Tomas Chammorro-Premuzic CEO of Hogan Assessments, employers are generally looking to measure three main factors: competence, work ethic, and emotional intelligence (self management, social skills, empathy, etc).

When taking these tests good advice is to be yourself and be honest. Employers are normally not looking for someone who scores exceptionally high, but scores in a normal range, can work well with others and compliment the existing team members. You want to represent your actual behaviors, aptitudes and skills.

Tests are increasingly administered online and are being deigned with complicated evaluation algorithms.  Tomas Chammorro-Premuzic also suggests these tests can be used to assess an employer; what are their expectations, what traits matter most to an employer? This is helpful as you also do your own assessment on a potential employer.

If, as I believe, the economy has been contracting in Canada; then job seekers must adapt. Be ready for new systems and the evaluation methods of employers. Be prepared for a competitive and targeted hiring process, and make sure you are one of the successful applicants by being ready for the new hiring environment.