Recruiting in a Turbulent Marketplace

ThinkstockPhotos-475232197With our economy growing at its fastest rate in 15 years, it is galling to find that the energy industry is in the doldrums and has already shed more than 75,000 US jobs.

This has resulted in a dramatically different landscape. There has been an increase in candidates and a shrinking of job opportunities. No longer are energy recruiters faced with the old challenge of trying to fight against a skills shortage, instead we are putting highly qualified candidates forward for intensely competitive positions. While this situation may be unique to the oil and wider energy industry at this moment, its lessons are relevant across recruitment.

Within energy, there is now even more of a premium placedon the very best talent. Oil companies have a sudden array of highly competent candidates to choose from. Put simply, our candidates have to stand out.

We need the best talent and to attract that we have had to modernize. Today, 43% of job seekers are now using a mobile device for job hunting. Startlingly, this is often ignored by recruiters. It is embarrassing that two-thirds of recruiters haven’t invested in mobile career sites.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Global engineering market report

At Spencer Ogden, we have devoted ourselves to maximizing the opportunities of mobile. We have launched two apps: SO Play and SO Jobs. SO Play is a game that is used to engage people to the Spencer Ogden brand. Meanwhile, SO Jobs is a functional and navigable app that lists our advertisements across all of our industries. Already, we are seeing the clear benefits of this two-pronged mobile approach, an approach which also displays the diversity of energy industries to candidates.

This diversity is key. Across industries, recruiters have to keep an open mind when looking at candidates. Looking at it from our perspective as energy recruiters, there are not currently enough jobs for everybody in America’s oil industry.

However, there is an answer to that. A former oil rig worker could find a career in hydropower – he/she would have many relevant skills and talents which could be transferred. Indeed, many of those with a non-energy background have the skills to work in the energy sector. For instance, the Department of Energy is currently targeting former military servicemen and women to work in renewable energy through its recently launched Solar Ready Vets program.

Of course, this is not a pattern limited to the energy jobs market. There are countless examples in the professional services of candidates taking different career paths, having realized the number of doors opened by skills learned in their original career. The important thing is that we as recruiters are receptive to career changes and to sourcing candidates from places less obvious.

Recruiting in turbulent markets is an enjoyable but ever-demanding challenge. Yesterday’s skills shortage can become today’s glut. It is therefore critical that a recruiter seeks to attract the best talent, adapting to modern trends in searching and applying for roles. A recruiter also needs to keep an open mind about candidates, whether they are entering an industry starved of talent or fleeing one that is overflowing.

MORE: Start a candidate community that attracts top talent

Henry de Lusignan

Henry de Lusignan
Henry de Lusignan is head of Spencer Ogden’s US operations.

Henry de Lusignan

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