One Step Back, Two Steps Forward


Every week, I speak with dozens of people from various positions within our workforce. From hiring managers and CEOS to job seekers and incumbent workers, I am heartened and proud to see such high quality and talent within our Michigan workforce.

I found one conversation last week to be particularly enlightening. I met with an executive recruiter to learn more about their business and how they were going about placing people in new jobs. In the course of our conversation, he gave me the following advice,

“I tell all of my clients to apply for positions that they might think are beneath them or even outside of their skill set. Their initial goal should be to get the interview. Once they are in the interviewing process, they may learn about other openings and opportunities that the company has not posted externally.”

After our meeting, I sat down and thought about this for awhile. In many ways, applying for jobs that seem beyond or beneath our skill sets may seem futile and slightly desperate. But when we step back and look at the job market, we can all acknowledge that the game has changed.

It was made clear to me that employers are not hiring using traditional skill and quality metrics. Employers are no longer looking for general role players who will become a small cog in a giant machine. No, employers are looking for candidates that have a variety of skills that may be applied to new product and service offerings, business processes, and growth strategies. Employers want people that can multi-task and are more than just a one trick pony.

This means that the job postings you see in the classified section may not truly reflect the complexity and depth of the positions that are available within a certain company. Remember, the real goal is to get that face-to-face interaction with your potential employer. It is at that time that you will be able to truly assess the opportunity, as well as provide the employer an opportunity to learn more about you and your value to their organization.

So, the moral of this story is if you see a position that is even close to your skill set, go for it! Strive for the interview and unseen doors will open.

The opportunities are out there. Unfortunately, they are often masked and disguised with job titles and descriptions that are left over from the last time these companies were hiring. It is up to us to sift through all of this and uncover the hidden gems buried in the classified ads, job boards, and nebulous job descriptions.