Hiring Or Changing Jobs in 2017? What to do...and what NOT to do

By J. James O’Malley, Former Andersen National Director of Experience Recruiting,

Jim joined TalentRISE as a partner in 2012 to focus on clients’ executive leadership challenges by leveraging his passions for executive search, on-demand recruiting, workforce planning and analytics and executive coaching. jimomalley@talentrise.com

With New Year’s celebrations behind us and a couple of work weeks under the belt in 2017, there is a sense of economic optimism. The Conference Board’s Measure of CEO Confidence, which had declined slightly in the third quarter of 2016, increased sharply in the fourth quarter, reaching its highest level in nearly six years. As a result, we believe that 2017 will be a banner year for recruitment and hiring. That’s good news for my firm, TalentRISE, and good news for job seekers. But, for my corporate clients, preparing for an even more a more competitive talent marketplace will, without a doubt, pose some challenges and require more investments.

Since both clients and candidates are seeking advice on how to best prepare for the coming months, I’ve taken the liberty below to pull together some “dos and don'ts” for each constituency. Let's start with my direct clients, employers:

What Employers Should Do MORE of:

Leverage hiring managers' networks to amplify your employment brand. Recruiting should be part of everyone's job and hiring managers can and should participate as invaluable allies in sourcing strategies by, for example, posting targeted messaging on their social networks. For more on launching social strategies, go here.

Related to that, employers should train hiring managers on how to get better at interviewing and assessment. Too often, hiring managers unintentionally put the brakes on the hiring process by sending candidates the wrong messages. This requires focusing on the process of recruitment in a disciplined way. Learn more about that here.

Evaluate - or reevaluate - how you outsource recruitment (RPO). Investigate newer, more flexible models that are scalable and offer your business tools and expertise that are difficult and expensive to replicate in-house. Don't be caught reacting by not anticipating the need for more or different resources. Here’s some further reading on RPO.

What Employers Should Do LESS of:

  • Make "cultural fit" the primary criteria for hiring, ESPECIALLY if your company is on a path to become more innovative. Hiring the same kinds of people won't necessarily move the needle towards innovation and growth. For more, see this article.
  • Expect the recruitment team to "do it all" - be social media experts, be researchers, and be "salespeople" for the company. Instead, focus in-house resources on what really matters. Read more here..
  • Oversell job opportunities. Never over-promise future promotions, pay, opportunities, etc. Not only will it hurt retention of new hires but it will erode your employer brand. With sites such as glassdoor.com and vault.com, disgruntled candidates and employees can really do damage.

What Job Candidates Should DO MORE of:

  • Become more social media savvy. Employers are doing more with social media as a means of connecting with their customers and potential employees. Just about any type of information about target employers is readily available to candidates via social media, so do your research. Also use social media to "get connected" to one or more employees at your target companies to build bridges that can lead to future opportunities there.
  • Be great at networking. Candidates should realize that, despite the uptick in opportunities this coming year, many great jobs are still never posted on a job board or advertised. The job market is like an iceberg where 30% of opportunities are visible while 70% are invisible. So, if you are not targeting your search to include your personal and professional network, you may miss out on opportunities “under the waterline”.
  • Learn a skill. If you are actively seeking a job because you are unemployed or because you are employed, but are not satisfied, then now is the time to learn a skill or enhance your current skill base. If you are currently employed, this is easily done by requesting training from your current employer; asking to move into another area of the business to pick up skills or taking on extra projects. If you are unemployed, gain new skills by seeking a volunteer opportunity or unpaid internship, through temporary work or consulting. Or simply go back to school or seek out other vocational training opportunities.

What Candidates Should Do LESS of:

  • Depend on job boards for as a primary source of employment. If you need convincing on this point, re-read the bullet point on “networking” above! Company recruiters are trained to prioritize and focus their attention on candidates that are a perfect match for their open positions and job boards utilize tools and technology that filter out resumes that aren’t a perfect match. So, unless you are a precise match, you’ll need some other way of getting your resume noticed.
  • Assume that anyone owes you a job. Employment is not a right or entitlement; it is earned. I suspect that candidates may often simply just be frustrated by the interview process, but being abrupt or arrogant with a recruiter because of the sins of all the previous recruiters is no way to make friends or endear yourself to the company! If you feel you are the perfect candidate for a particular job, let your credentials and interview skills prove it. If employers do not recognize and value your qualifications, do you really want to work for them?
  • Act like a victim. With the predicted uptick in hiring, there is a job opportunity out there for anyone who is sincere about getting one and realistic about focusing on the jobs that they are qualified to perform. Not everyone can be the CEO nor should they apply for the job if there are not qualified.


Without doubt, 2017 will be a busy year for those in charge of hiring at their firms and a good year for many of you who may be looking for new career challenges. But even in the midst of this very robust talent marketplace, remembering to follow some simple do’s and don'ts will help you achieve success, regardless of which side of the desk - employer or candidate - you happen to find yourself on.