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So What Do We Do Now?

By Michele O’Connor

View bio here
HR Technology Report

To answer that, we need to look at this question from the angle of a job seeker, employer & recruiter.

As job seekers we may want to remember that "Employment Starts with Education." We’ve all attended school in some form – high school, college, grad school, tech school, etc. Our underlying education may have been to learn the English language. Or maybe it was finance, history or healthcare. Either way, education is the basis of many of our talents and skills.

During these tough economic times and periods of intense layoffs & downsizing, people should feel comfortable freshening up their skills. Maybe it is time to switch gears into other areas and start a new learning curve. If you lost your job as a financial advisor on Wall Street, maybe consider an accounting or finance job in a different industry such as biotech, insurance, healthcare, "Green", etc. You can always visit your alma mater (or other educational facilities in your area) to hone in on those skills or take the courses you may need. You can also look to your old career service center for up-to-date pointers on resume writing, interviewing and job search techniques.

As employers & recruiters we may want to consider "Contrarian Hiring." Let me illustrate,
Rick Fecteau runs a chain of automobile dealerships in New Hampshire & Massachusetts. One would think that his dealerships are suffering like many other dealerships during this tough economic time. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is causing his business to hold it’s own and even improve – the availability of top performers from other dealerships that lost their jobs.

Instead of waiting around for the market to turnaround, Rick has taken a proactive stance and has been hiring top talent from other dealerships that have closed. “It would normally be impossible to get these people to leave their old jobs and join other dealerships,” says Rick Fecteau of Port City Nissan/Suzuki & Amesbury Chevrolet. New hires include managers, salesmen, technicians, etc. Once the economy gets back on track, Rick will reap the benefits of hiring talent at this stage. Consider it “Contrarian Hiring.”

Popular job boards are seeing the same trends. “Job seekers are certainly registering on our site in massive numbers but we are also seeing employers world-wide using this opportunity to hire the best talent that would normally be hard to source,” says David Mezzapelle, Director of Marketing & Development at GoliathJobs.com.
Due to the current economic climate, employers should also consider hiring interns as a means of building a cost-effective, motivated staff. The benefits are endless. Plus, as things improve, the better performing interns can fill permanent roles post-graduation.

“Internship” is a word that is often used to encompass employment while attending school (or during the summer). The internship is a means of gaining experience in the applicable field of study. Most of the time it implies receiving college credit, in lieu of pay, while gaining real-life experience. In other cases pay is received but at a reduced rate. If no credit is earned the pay scale is generally higher.
Employers benefit greatly.

Here are a few of those benefits:
• When employers hire interns, it clearly displays the employer’s involvement in the local community. This is important for corporate development and civic duty.
• Interns are “bright-eyed” and motivated to learn. They want to gain experience towards their career and, quite frankly, need that experience to compete.
• Interns are cost-effective and flexible.
• Top Performers are spotted early and can be groomed for full-time employment later.
• Interns that are hired full time post-graduation have already learned your culture. No need to retrain.
• The surge in the 50+ population is reducing the amount of young people available to fill key roles. By hiring interns and retaining them full-time, you are protecting the long term growth of your workforce.

Hiring interns is no longer reserved for law or healthcare. Internships now exist across all industries including technology, business, education, skilled labor, hospitality and much more. Job seekers & employers have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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