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How can you increase your placement rates if your clients are unemployed?

By John-Paul Hatala

Today, one of the main barriers to finding a job is being unemployed. Sounds kind of odd to say, but the fact is that organizations like to hire people who are already working. As such, this puts your clients at a serious disadvantage. It is not because they don’t possess the necessary skills or experience, but more simply, they don’t have a job. In the mean time, your placement rate suffers and funding falls into question.

So what to do? There are actually several things that can be done and I’ll review three that can make a significant impact in placement. The first is to identify your client’s main source of job leads. More often than not, your clients are looking at traditional sources (i.e. newspapers, online job boards) of job leads, which limit their exposure to quality job opportunities. We all understand this, and certainly recognize that the counselor’s effectiveness diminishes greatly when visibility into their client’s job lead sources is absent. If the counselor and the client are not monitoring where they’re identifying their job leads, the quality of job opportunities will impact the time it takes them to find a job.

Secondly, you’re probably telling clients to tap into the hidden job market. After all, 80% of the jobs are found through one’s network. This is easier said than done. Just because we can network and leverage our connections doesn’t mean that someone who has had their confidence shaken can do the same thing. Further, today’s “tech generation” is averse to networking. It’s uncomfortable, or as teen’s say, “awkward”. Effective networking requires the right tools and resources to be able to effectively tap into contacts for the purpose of job lead sharing. Telling a client to network is one thing, actually having them do it is completely different.

Lastly, clients often spend too much of their time focused on the job they really want and that may be negatively impacting their intensity towards the job search. That may sound strange. By focusing exclusively on their ideal job, they may be missing out on job opportunities that can make them more competitive at some point in the future. They simply may not be as experienced and competitive for their ideal job, especially based on today’s job market.

Let’s face it, the economic climate has created an employer’s market and until that turns around, finding one’s ideal job will either take longer or may not happen at all. Conducting a parallel job search is the answer. Accepting jobs that provide enhanced skills and experience will not only minimize that nasty ‘unemployed’ label, but signal to your ideal potential employer that the experience gained can be beneficial to them.

I’ve always said that helping people find work is harder than rocket science – at least you know you’ve succeeded when the rocket flies. Helping a job seeker involves a multifaceted approach to working through the barriers faced throughout the process. Being unemployed is a barrier that must not be under estimated. The best way to combat this barrier is using research proven job search strategies. This starts with maximizing one’s social network and expanding where job opportunities come from. Combine enhanced strategies with a strategic parallel job search and your clients will be doing more than most unemployed job seekers.

Let’s face it, the chances of your client finding their dream job in today’s market may not be realistic or immediate. A strategic parallel job search that gets them employed with an opportunity other than their ideal job will not only make them more competitive but it will help them overcome being unemployed. As a result, your clients take one step closer to success and your placement rates improve along the way.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

JP

John-Paul Hatala
Dr. John-Paul Hatala is currently an Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in the Human Resource Development Program, a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa and an Adjunct Professor at Louisiana State University in the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, Baton Rouge. Additionally, Dr. Hatala is the founder of the Social Capital Development firm Flowork International and is Chief Researcher at www.snagpad.com. His academic research focuses on social networking behaviors, social capital, human resource development, career development and the transition to the labour market. John-Paul has a recently released a book entitled, The Job Search Cookbook: A Strategic Recipe for Job Search Management and has been featured in such media outlets as the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio and Global TV.

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