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Turn and start paddling: The right timing is key in the job market

I recently was speaking with a colleague at Day & Zimmermann who was looking to take some much needed vacation. He asked me about spending time in Southern California, as he knew that I had lived there for many years.

I talked about well-known beaches and the better, yet less-known beaches, and how I used to love waking up for Dawn Patrol (waking up very early and paddling out for a morning surf). He then turned to another coworker, gestured toward me, and used the expression, "You can take the boy out of California, but you can't take California out of the boy."

When it comes to surfing, timing is everything. I think about this idea a lot when I look at job trend data and what it means for us. I love looking at the trend data to make sure we, as a company, are paddling hard in order to drop-in at the right time and in the right market and industries.

I often analyze the trends and make my business decisions based on which way our clients are headed in order to ensure that we have the right internal players in place. Nothing is worse than when you wait for the wave to come and are unprepared for when it does arrive.

Last week I spent time with our Federal Services division in Washington, D.C. Our office is set in the heart of many large government contractors. When I arrive in a city, I can feel a buzz and know if people are busy working away or busy looking for work.

I immediately felt that D.C. was bustling. All the office building parking lots were full. The cafes and restaurants were vibrant with business people working through power lunches. And I saw many interviews taking place at local coffee shops. Maybe it was the excitement before the election, but overall, you could immediately sense that business was happening there.

Most of the job trend data I have seen about D.C. confirms my "Spidey-sense." For about the past year now, Washington, D.C. has been the most competitive job market. The industry that has shown the biggest increase has been IT. Even last month, saw an 11 percent increase in IT-related job postings. With these two factors in mind, and based on what I saw in D.C., I am inclined to agree with this surge.

I am happy to say that, in the federal space, we are establishing ourselves as a market leader in providing talent to government. We have built up a solid network of security-cleared candidates and are able to deliver on some tough skill sets requiring advanced clearances. The difference is, we are working with clients who are ready to hire, and because we have done our work over the past weeks and months, we have the candidates to deliver.

Last week I saw an article that made a comment about how some employers make the mistake of disqualifying a candidate who interviewed with a firm in the past. In tight markets like IT, and a competitive landscape like D.C., companies must understand the human element of interviewing.

Candidates have bad days or don't emphasize key points on a resume that a hiring manager might be looking for. The same holds true for a candidate submittal. Maybe a candidate was sent over to a client but declined a few months ago for reasons that might no longer exist within an organization.

If you are looking to hire new talent, it might be worthwhile to revisit some candidates that you might have historically shot down. It is definitely worth a call to your recruiter to remind you of some of those good candidates. Their opinion might yield more insight into filling key roles.

And recruiters, think back to candidates you felt great about, but your clients might have declined. If you felt great about them in the past, there was probably a reason why. Try resubmitting your top people -- you might find that perfect wave.

This post was written by Jesse Ohayon, former Vice President of Recruiting at
Yoh.  Learn more about Jesse.

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