Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Posts Tagged ‘hiring

What’s Keeping You From Getting Hired?

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If there was one thing that stood out from Vault’s recent Job Hunting in CSR series, it was the disconnect between candidates and employers. A recent survey by Towers Watson further indicates that this disconnect might be much more widespread because of a difference in priorities for employers and employees.

Job Skills

A survey released by TalentDrive, the team behind online resume aggregation search engine TalentFilter, now adds yet another layer to the troubling scenario. The report suggests a widening gap between current employers’ expectations and job seekers’ actual skill sets.

In a month-long survey, 79,000 job seekers (86 percent actively seeking employment) were asked to assess their personal skill set and attitude toward the current job market. Additionally, 20,000 hiring managers from Fortune 1000 companies were asked if they had noticed a change in the quality of candidates since the recession’s start.

The results of the survey are unnerving:

Almost three-quarters of the job seekers surveyed were pessimistic about their career search: that’s the number of respondents who indicated that they possessed the required skill set for positions, but were not getting hired. Little wonder, then, that 37 percent of respondents expressed no hope that things would improve.

However, 42 percent of the employers surveyed indicated that the recession had not only increased the quantity of candidates, but that they were finding more qualified candidates than in years past.

So where is the disconnect? When candidates believe they possess the required skill sets, why are they not getting hired? Take into account that 67 percent of those surveyed reported having between one and five interviews per month since the beginning of their job search, and that 75 percent of those had not received a single job offer.

Specialization or general business skills?

Since your company started hiring, how many interviewed candidates on average would you consider

Could the disconnect come down to a question of specialized vs. general business skills? According to the report, 71% percent of HR representatives reported that more than half of their open positions were specialized.

Comparatively, 61% of the job seekers’ group considered themselves to be “professionals with broad skill sets.”

Interestingly, my interviews with MBA graduates Ashley Jablow and Geet Singh reveal a flipside to the specialization picture. Having focused on CSR and sustainability at business school, both Jablow and Singh confessed that their job hunts weren’t exactly working out to be walks in the park. However, in their case, partial blame goes to a lack of demand for CSR work. For the respondents of the TalentDrive survey, specialized skills leaned toward more traditional fields like IT and technology.

Job Search Destinations

What source has recently delivered/uncovered the most quality candidates?

If there is one area where the TalentDrive survey shows job seekers and employers in agreement, it is where they are finding each other. The winner: Social Media.

An overwhelming 74% of job seekers said the most beneficial job search method was posting a resume on job boards followed by 27% picking social media, for the first time surpassing traditional methods like classified ads, professional recruiters and networking events.

Agreement was mutual with 27% of employers saying the highest response for most effective search method was social networks, followed by resume sourcing technologies.

Other highlights:

For the types of positions your company fills, what skills/activities make an applicant stand out?

Differs for each position: 55%
Longevity with past employers: 21%
Certification: 16%
Advanced degrees/MBA: 5%
Extracurricular work/Volunteer work: 3%

What category would the majority of your open positions fall under?

Mid level/management positions: 67%
Entry level: 16%
Director/Executive positions: 14%

Since beginning your active job search, how many interviews have resulted in an offer?

No offers: 75%
Less than half: 21%
More than half: 3%
All interviews resulted in an offer: 1%

Given the current job market, how willing are you to transfer fields or change your skill set to adapt to a new work environment or industry?

Not willing or interested: 11%
Somewhat willing, depending on the opportunity: 44%
Very willing: 45%

Does your experience relate to these results? Do you have a story to add to these numbers? Leave a comment, email us In Good Company or connect on Twitter @VaultCSR!

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Will Work For Tweets: The Great Los Angeles Job Contest

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Despite what the “Trending Topics” sidebar might tell you, the biggest news surrounding Twitter in the past week wasn’t Justin Bieber or Chelsea Clinton. Rather, users were all atwitter about a contest launched by @mikemckayecd—that being Mike McKay, the Los Angeles-based executive creative director for advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi. McKay’s challenge was simple: “I have a writer position worth $70k. Funniest twitter response gets it.”

Thus the gauntlet was thrown down. As if the job market wasn’t already competitive enough, hundreds of “Tweeps” converged on the hashtag #saatchila to vie for a single opening. Among the popular entries submitted to McKay, some personal favorites include:

• “Is this contest nearly over? I have to start training for the astronaut job I won on Facebook.” (@iscoff)

• “nigerian ad agency seek writers, send $$$” (@faketv)

• “Does $70k cover the cost of a boob job in LA? I’d be moving with my girlfriend and I’m worried about her self-esteem.” (@um_giz)

• “I hope this job isn’t for Scion. They’re like the Twitter version of a car. 140 inches or less.” (@brendyn)

• “I’am probabbly the moost qaulified four thes righter jobe.” (@MstrMn, and yes, sic)

The winner was one Jonathan Pelleg, a.k.a. @Peglegington. Pelleg, according to his Twitter bio, is an Austin, Texas resident and native of Los Angeles who was “breaking into advertising while listening to music and enjoying life” when the Saatchi contest came along. So his selection, as it turns out, is both a dream come true and a homecoming wrapped up in one. And the submission that brought about the young man’s triumph?

“You have to be concise on Twitter. Like a circumcision, everything extra gets cut off whether you like it or not.”

In an interview with The Atlantic, McKay was almost blasé about conceiving the contest out of the blue. “It’s really hard to find good writers. I don’t know why,” he stated. “It’s even harder to find people to write dialogue. It’s even harder to find funny writers.” Of course, the sudden and unprecedented way he launched his offer didn’t win him any points with Saatchi’s human resources department: “Immediately I get HR coming up and saying, ‘What did you just do?'”

The Atlantic notes this isn’t the first time a candidate has been awarded a high-paying job via tweet; last year, marketing firm BFG Communications picked a social media coordinator with its own Twitter contest. Still, this doesn’t exactly promise to be a new trend in hiring—the odds are slightly better for 3-D video resumes becoming standard for job applications. But it does signify the incorporation by leaps and bounds of social networking for employment and professional advancement. Without being plugged in to the online activities of employers, industry leaders and even your fellow job seekers, you could easily miss out on the unique information and opportunities that will provide an upper hand in beginning or enhancing your career.

And, as if to drive that point home, Mike McKay has followed his announcement of a winner with a suggestion of things to come: “@Peglegington might need an art director partner. Hmmmm.” Any aspiring advertising professionals would do well to keep watching that space.


— Alex Tuttle, Vault.com

Written by A.A. Somebody

July 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Hiring Makes the Economy Go Round

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“It’s made round to go round.” I don’t know if that counts as a proverb, but it was something I heard a lot regarding money—and the art of spending it—when growing up in Scotland. At its core, it suggests that cash is for one thing, and one thing only: spending. And it encapsulates the simple notion that spending is what makes the economy go round.

There are two problems with that saying in this day and age—one major and one minor. First, obviously, is that the majority of money is no longer round. Second, as a New York Times report made clear this weekend, it’s no longer going round either: while many companies are reporting bumper profits during this earning cycle, revenues are still slumping. What gains companies are making are based largely on cost cutting—with a large proportion of that coming from reductions in head count.

Of course, no one can fault companies for managing to raise profits during a downturn—and after 2008 and 2009, it’s a joy to see companies reporting any profits at all. But while doing right by their shareholders in the short term, the Times report suggests that firms are setting the economy up for a fall over time:

“In some ways, the ability to raise profits in the face of declining sales is a triumph of productivity that makes the United States more globally competitive. The problem is that companies are not investing those earnings, instead letting cash pile up to levels not reached in nearly half a century.”

By hoarding cash, companies are effectively sitting on their hands and attempting to wait out the current unrest. While that’s not necessarily a bad tactic on an individual basis, collectively it induces an element of stagnation into the economy: markets can’t grow if people aren’t earning. And people can’t earn if companies don’t hire or invest in new infrastructure and product development.

The Times piece does find some kind of a positive spin for the defensive behavior, with one source pointing out that resurgent companies such as Ford are “shrinking the business to a size that’s defendable, and growing off that lower base.”

But the unemployment figures speak for themselves at the moment: if corporations don’t start hiring—and putting the money they’re stockpiling to use—there’s no chance that work forces will recover.

Executives, then, are faced with a choice: play it safe, or put your company’s cash—and some willing Americans—to work. The latter option might seem like a risk at a time like this, but bear that saying about cash in mind: the economy can’t go round without it.

Written by Phil Stott

July 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

The Week’s Best Hiring News: Week of July 12, 2010

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This week has been handily book-ended by stories about the financial industry. First, Sunday’s New York Times pointed out something that regular readers of this blog post will already have known–that Wall Street is hiring in anticipation of a recovery. Never mind that the Atlantic followed up by asking whether we should even care (or that a blog closer to home asked if we should be happy about it), the fact is that the finance industry appears to be approaching something like a rude state of health. Which means it’ll likely withstand any of the challenges posed by the newly-passed financial regulation bill. Add in the fact that the oil leak in the Gulf seems to have been stopped, and it’s easy to head into the weekend feeling optimistic. But what of the rest of the economy—and hiring in particular. While we’re not going to attempt to draw any wider lessons from the following collection of openings we’ve noticed over the course of the week, we will suggest one thing: there are openings. And that’s a good thing.

  • Deloitte is clearly reaping the benefits of its acquisition of BearingPoint’s federal practice in December 2009. The The consulting firm is hiring thousands. Interested in learning more? Read Vault’s profile of Deloitte.
  • Is this reverse outsourcing? GE Aviation Systems is hiring 200 people to fulfill a contract with China.
  • Advertising firm Yodle is hiring 80 in Boston. Among the positions: “account representatives, client service managers, marketing specialists and others.”
  • Is Apple about to find itself with a competitor for its iTunes store? Amazon is on a hiring spree for its MP3 store–something the folks at TechCrunch have interpreted as a sign of an impending “major relaunch.” Number of openings: “over a dozen” in both engineering and business positions. Read Vault’s Amazon profile.
  • Rockville, MD-based InfoZen is hiring 30 cyber security positions “as the military kicks up its war on cyber terrorism. The positions are based in Annapolis Junction, MD.
  • Speaking of which…Microsoft will likely have a Software Design Engineer opening coming up soon, as one of its current employees was recently outed as a Russian spy.
  • Wind power specialists Vestas are hiring 1,000 in Colorado. Actually, they’re hiring more than 1,000. How many more, we’re not sure.
  • The Financial Times picked up on the bank hiring story, and reports that many are hiring for their mortgage securities desks. The principal job of someone on a mortgage securities desk? Selling and trading mortgage backed securities. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Want to be on the board of a major life insurance firm? Remotely qualified for the job? Prudential wants to hear from you. Probably.
  • Finally, Pennsylvania is apparently on the brink of a “golden era.” The reason? Energy companies are hiring in the state as they go after natural gas trapped in shale fields in the region.

  • To get the latest on employment news as it happens—or to submit a tip—check out Vault’s Employment Tracker.

    The Week’s Best Hiring News: Week of June 21, 2010

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    Another strange week on the hiring front: while there’s definitely a pulse in the hiring market, it remains a faint one. Thus, the best news that’s coming out still tends to be of the “we’ll start hiring soon…we promise” variety. While that bodes well for the second half of the year, it means that many of the announcements below are thin in terms of numbers. Still, the spectrum of industries the open positions cover suggests another reason to be quietly optimistic.

    • The University of Kansas is hiring an auditor. In response to a ticket-scalping scandal. Prepare to be scrutinized.
    • Several banks are hiring in their mortgage divisions as they begin ramping up for an anticipated increase in home loans. While we’ve reported many of those openings in previous weeks, CNNMoney does a nice job of drawing them together, so if you’re interested in the field the article is worth reading.
    • CEOs are more upbeat about hiring. How upbeat? Well, some 39 percent expect to increase hiring in the next six months, the highest level since 2007. Whether that means they’ll actually get round to doing anything is another question entirely, of course.
    • Two high-profile ex-politicos not looking for work anymore: former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer.
    • There’s all kinds of government-related hiring on the horizon as 2011 budget requests go under the microscope. To get the full scoop, you’ll need to read this article from the Washington Post, but here are a couple of highlights: the DOJ is looking to hire for 708 positions to help it cope with economic crimes, while the FBI would like an additional 812 employees, including 276 special agents. For more info, why not check out the Vault Guide to Government and Nonprofit Employers.
    • Hella Electronics is predicting a 20 percent increase in business. Which means it’s got some hiring to do.
    • Raytheon is hiring 4,500 engineers. Provided they can find enough qualified candidates, that is.
    • SAP Labs is hiring up to 300. Specifically, the tech company is looking for ” xperienced application developers, project managers, cloud computing experts, mobile developers and those with deep partner experience for its laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif.”
    • Detroit Medical Center is hiring 200 people. Per month.

    Written by Phil Stott

    June 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Posted in hiring

    Tagged with , ,

    The Top 10 Government Agencies Hiring Right Now

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    “The best talent doesn’t wait around for 140 days — they find another job […] We need to streamline our hiring process to make it more competitive and candidate-friendly. Across 20 years in the private sector, I’ve seen that the best performing organizations focus on people as their most important tool for improving performance. It is time for the federal government to start doing the same.”—Jeff Zients, U.S. Chief Performance Officer, quoted in the Washington Business Journal.

    Vault guide to government agency hiring coverIt’s no secret that the government’s hiring practices need updating and, if recent pronouncements by the President are anything to go by, we’re now well on our way to actually seeing something done about them. Chief among the initiatives for bringing the average hiring time down to the targeted 80 days: the much-derided Knowledge, Skills and Abilities essays (or KSAs, as they’re known to seasoned federal job seekers) are to be replaced by a resume system that bears much more resemblance to what those of us in the private sector are used to.

    In honor of the upcoming changes (most have to be implemented by November), we’ve spent some time seeking out opportunities on the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) official site–USAJOBS.gov–and have uncovered some interesting facts and opportunities.

    Let’s start with this one: over the last calendar month, the top 50 Federal agencies for job postings have 12,882 job posts between them, for the year to date at time of writing. While the site does point out that “postings are not equal to job openings,” it’s still not a bad starting figure, and there’s no reason to assume that job openings would be lower than postings: many of them, after all, advertise a number of openings with a single post.

    For the curious, the Top 10 Agencies by ads posted so far this year are as follows:

    1. Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration: 1674 postings
    2. Veterans Health Administration: 1402 postings
    3. Army Corps of Engineers: 1145 postings
    4. Forest Service: 909 postings
    5. Army Medical Command: 531 postings
    6. Department of the Air Force: 356 postings
    7. Army Installation Management Command: 349 postings
    8. Social Security Administration: 280 postings
    9. Bureau of Prisons/Federal Prison System: 256 postings
    10. Air Force Personnel Center: 250 postings

    Read the full top 50.

    For more on getting hired by the Government—and what it takes to break into specific agencies—check out Vault’s Guide to Government Agency Careers.

    CSR Job Posting: Knowledge Manager with Edelman

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    For those who read MBA graduate Ashley Jablow’s appeal earlier this week, where she discussed her skills and her job search for a company that focuses on corporate responsibility, this is point on. Edelman, the global public relations company is looking for a candidate who will work on CSR, branding and business strategy.

    The job posting is below:

    Description: Corporate and brand citizenship research associate: this person will have a passion for and experience with: social issues, branding, business strategy, consumer behavior, qualitative and quantitative research. S/he must be self-starter and able to work effectively with a variety of multiple assignments. S/he must have demonstrated research skills, solid knowledge of MS Office Suite (especially PPT) and superior verbal and written communication skills. The ability to quickly assess a topic related to social issues, find, review and aggregate pertinent information and create compelling written analysis in a variety of formats,is a core responsibility of the position.

    Qualifications: This individual will be a critical part of the Edelman Citizenship team, working closely with firm leadership to develop future oriented points of view and processes/products and services related to the intersection of citizenship, corporate reputation, issues management, and CSR. The ideal candidate has an advanced degree in business/experience in cause branding/ corporate citizenship consulting. Exceptional written skills required. Experience working with NGOs and public private partnerships also important.

    Work attributes include: self starter, curiosity, broad consumer of information from multiple sources around the globe, superior writer, ability to create powerful PP presentations and other communications and facility to analyze and develop diverse information into strong added value for the team, firm and field.

    Responsibilities: The Research Associate is responsible for implementing and monitoring research projects for the practice area and within a specific set of accounts primarily under the direction of Kristian Darigan Merenda, SVP, and Carol Cone, EVP in specialty areas focused on brand and corporate citizenship. The position will be supplemented by interns, and account executives from client engagement teams. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    Research and Development:

    • Using Edelman paid subscription resources and publicly available data, regularly perform secondary research, track trends and compile briefs focused on topics including, but not limited to: green marketing, cause related marketing, social marketing, cause branding, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, fund raising, and nonprofit marketing, etc.
    • Help supply content for an internal, global knowledge management system to support Edelman’s work in the brand and corporate citizenship arena.
    • Participate in the development, analysis and execution of Good Purpose and other pioneering research/ thought leadership strategies.

    Marketing Communications:

    • Develop insights to share externally via goodpurposecommunity.com, social networking sites, blog content, and white papers.
    • Develop cutting edge presentations, in conjunction with managers for: Internal training, Client education, New business, and Speeches.

    To read the complete the job listing for “PR: Corporate Citizenship – Knowledge Manager” as well as to apply, visit Edelman’s Careers page.

    Got some tips for candidates looking for jobs that include an expected corporate responsibility? Or want to share your job search experience? Contribute to the discussion! Write in by leaving a comment, emailing In Good Company or connecting with me on Twitter @VaultCSR.

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