How To Be In Demand When Supply Is In Excess

The economic downturn continues. It was more than evident at campus recruitments, which were few and far between. Loss of jobs only served to compound matters. Deepa Sachdev works out an 8-point guide for those on the job trail.

The recruitment scene at campuses this year was a sharp contrast to the usual scramble for a day 0 and day 1 slots. The retail companies simply steered clear of all campuses, including the likes of NIFT and Pearl Academy of Fashion. These companies had the same reason to offer: “If we can get a candidate with 2-3 years of experience at the same remuneration package, then why should we look at hiring freshers, and training them too?” In a market marked with such sentiments, where talent supply is in excess, follow this 8-point guide to be in demand.


1. Highlight specialisation


Having specialised skills, apart from your requisite skill set for a particular job increases a job applicant’s employability. For instance, if a company requires a visual merchandiser and as a candidate, if you have a planogramming experience too, your winning card would be to highlight both your skill sets.


2. Be open, be flexible


Corollary to point 1, be prepared to multi task. With the downturn affecting all organisations at some level, companies want to work in the economy mode. They find it useful to hire candidates who are confident to perform more than one job. There are always extra man hours available in the office space. A candidate who can fill in with the related jobs in the same department will score much better compared to others. This of course, requires a broad and open mind.


3. Highlight achievement in terms of cost reduction


The topmost objective for every business at this juncture is to cut costs. As a candidate, it can prove a big plus if you can point out achievements where you have been successful in reducing costs. Sometimes, employers also ask the candidates to furnish sales figures that they have been instrumental in bringing about in their existing companies. The need of the hour is to furnish figures where you have been able to lower operating costs to increase profitability. The mantra is not to grow bigger but to become profitable in these times.


4. Be reasonable in your salary expectations


Even if a business is doing very well, the thinking heads behind each business setup have become very cautious. No company wants to add extra expenses. So, while quoting your salary expectations, you should be very reasonable, and not target high growth on their current salary. However, you can try to create a winning situation by limiting the percentage of variable pay as much as possible.
Let us take an example of a candidate who was switching his job after 18 months and wanted a 60 percent rise, as he had a got the same during his last job switch. The company though happy with his skill set, rejected him simply for displaying lack of maturity and understanding of the market


5. Supporting documents


Carry documentary support as far as possible for all information declared in the resume. It just provides more food for conversation and reinforces the point. It is also a good idea to carry a hard copy of any written recommendations or emails.


6. Justifying an employment gap


If you have been unfortunate to be laid off work, then you are faced with the daunting task of justifying a gap in employment. The best option is to indicate how you have kept yourself abreast with the market through self research at home or attending industry seminars. You should also talk about some specific knowledge gained in the process. If possible, do a short terms specialized course. Everyone likes people who use their time end opportunity sensibly.


7. Broaden your targets


As a professional, you may have worked only for large corporates of MNCs  in the past. But given the prevalent market situation, you need to target a larger set of companies. It is also sensible to look at medium to small companies that are most aggressive in hiring senior talent at this point in time.


8. Be persistent


Be persistent, but not a badgering pest. Persistence shows that you have clear focus and have simply decided that this is what you want to pursue. This usually wins.

All the usual rules that apply to a good candidature still apply, just a bit more though. So, make sure you are thorough in your knowledge, have excellent team play, have personal goals which are in sync with your professional goals, and display high moral and emotional stability at all times.

Deepa Sachdev is a leading executive search consultant for retail and fashion lifestyle industry and runs a successful recruitment practice. She is founder of Humancaptial, headquartered in New Delhi with branch office in Bangalore and is accredited with a deep understanding to the retail and fashion lifestyle market in India and its nuances.


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