Employers holding out for perfection
At the height of the credit crunch, layers of senior-level HR were wiped out to cut costs. Many companies are now realising they cut too deeply – so we’re seeing a boost in hiring. On the flip side, there’s a trend for employers to hold out until they find the perfect candidate. They want 11 out of 10 boxes to be ticked.
At senior level, employers are looking for the complete package. Some employers have waited 6 or 7 months until they find the perfect person.
International experience in demand
Professionals with genuine international experience are in demand. We’re past the days where everything was run out of London.
There’s a big push for people who have lived and worked abroad, and those with language skills.
It's all about the numbers
If your CV doesn’t show measurable and quantifiable aspects, you’re missing a trick. For example, show where you’ve cut hiring costs by 15%, or contributed to 30% growth in market share.
There’s a lot of context missing on CVs. If you have international experience, and you’ve genuinely looked after workforces in 16 countries, state that.
Get into a business mindset
Too many people who think about HR only rather than the wider business. Those who stand out speak like business leaders who happen to have a HR specialism.
One of the biggest bugbears of business leaders is that HR people don’t speak to them in their language and don’t speak with the P&L in mind all the time. If you’re not naturally talking like that, you’re probably not going to get your CV right either.
If I had £1 for every HR director or HR manager who says ‘I’m more commercially astute than my peers’ but doesn’t know anything about their company’s share price or profit margins, I’d be rich.
Work out what measurable and quantifiable outcomes you’ve been involved with.
Preparing for interviews
HR people are among the worst interviewees - you might interview people daily, but it’s different on the other side of the desk.
Do your research: you should know the share price of the company, what the market segment looks like, what challenges are happening. Find recent press releases about the company and research the person you are interviewing with.