HIRING TRENDS FOR 2023
IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE THE “GAP”
By Candance Chow and Melanie Wright of NextGroup
My mother used to have a saying that keeps coming back to me time and again as NextGroup works with female talent in preparing them to change careers as well as the potential employers who need them. The saying goes like this - “You know what happens when you assume.” As we enter 2023 and put the effects of the pandemic behind us, one thing has become clear. Candidates and employers alike need to normalize and embrace the “gap”.
Embrace the Gap as an Employer
If you are a hiring manager this year and want the best possible talent, don’t make assumptions about the rationale behind employment gaps or frequent employment changes on a candidate’s resume. You don’t need to disregard them entirely. Instead, be direct in your questions about why there was a gap and what skills the candidate cultivated during this time.
NextGroup recently recommended a candidate as Accounting Manager in a part-time remote role with a local community organization. The employer was concerned that the candidate was “over qualified” based on her education and also had “moved around a lot in previous roles.” The reality was that this candidate had been following her husband who was frequently moved in his job, and the only continuity she could have was in her studies – now working on her doctorate in the accounting field. Had the employer let the assumptions about her resume take hold, they would never have hired this highly skilled manager. We must resolve in 2023 to embrace the gap and challenge our assumptions.
Embrace the Gap as a Candidate
If you are a candidate who is relaunching or pivoting careers, it’s your responsibility to not let others make assumptions about your capabilities. If you have a gap in your resume, proactively talk about how this time was valuable. In re-energizing your passion and eagerness to tackle new career challenges. If you are dealing with a significant gap, preempt assumptions regarding your hard skills such as using technology. Ensure that the key accomplishments you share during your interview spotlight your ability to get up to speed quickly and highlight the technical skills you possess. This can be demonstrated through any courses or certification you have completed or other relevant experience as a volunteer, etc.
NextGroup was recently working with a woman who had a background in advertising and marketing but had not worked formally in the field for almost a decade. We talked directly about the need for her to demonstrate in tangible ways that she could successfully execute paid and earned digital marketing campaigns and leverage social media platforms in her marketing. While she had taken a few digital marketing courses, they were not on her resume. She had also built a website and run an outreach campaign for a friend’s business – that, too, was not on her resume or included in her arsenal of interview stories. Together, we worked on her pitch and how she could integrate her mastery of digital technology as well as her agility to learn new tools and tactics.
NextGroup believes that most sectors of our economy will remain healthy and hiring will remain strong in 2023. But, to capitalize on this market as an employer or as a candidate, we must remain open minded, confront our potential biases, and above all proactively offer and look for the strengths and skills that can be honed in the Gap!
For support in hiring. Your next stellar team member or in finding that “what’s next” for you, please go to www.nextgroupus.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.