WHETHER you are a recruiter or a job seeker, it is important to understand the economic events that affect the employment outlook. And given the uncertainty still plaguing the global economy, here is some advice taken from Employment Outlook Q3 2012 by PrimeStaff Management Services for both hiring managers and job candidates.

Recruiters and hiring managers

* Be open-minded: Don’t simply look at a skills match or whether the candidate has experience in your particular industry. Look deeper when assessing the candidate as he may have transferable skills that are sufficient for the role. It is just as important for the individual to be able to fit well into the corporate culture, which will increase his chances of succeeding in the role.

* Consider looking within the company: As it is currently more an employee’s market, you may want to consider recruiting from internal sources if your recruitment budget does not allow you to entice strong candidates who are asking a high premium in terms of salary.

* Focus on retention: Following on from the previous point, you should also put greater emphasis on retaining existing staff, given the talent war most companies will face.

Job seekers

* Know which sectors are hot or not: The “star” industries that are experiencing good growth and will hire are: hospitality (retail, food & beverage); health care; pharmaceuticals; biomedical sciences; and information and communications technology. Comparatively, the financial and manufacturing sectors may see some re-engineering of their workforce due to exposure to prevailing economic risks and cost-rationalisation strategies.

* Cast your net wider: If you are intent on searching for a new job, “sell” yourself to as many recruitment agencies as possible, in addition to using job portals and newspapers in your job search. This is because many of the bigger companies only use recruitment agencies to meet their hiring needs these days.

* Be realistic: Even though there may be many opportunities in the tight labour market, you should be realistic in your salary expectations. Don’t insist on a sky-high increment over your last-drawn salary as many companies will be constrained by tight budgets due to rising business costs. It is advisable to ask for increments of not more than 10 per cent.

* Focus on the fit: Don’t focus solely on salary when considering the offer. Look at the bigger picture: Would you fit well in the company’s culture? Does it offer a motivating and inspiring environment that would help you excel? Is the role aligned with your long-term career objectives?

* Be open to contract roles: Understand that companies need to contain their business costs. There is thus a growing tendency for them to offer contract roles instead of permanent ones. And if you do take up contract jobs, see them through to the end of the contract period. Don’t break the contract and jump ship the moment you receive an offer of a permanent role as that would tarnish your professional reputation.

* Upgrade your skills: It never hurts to upgrade your skills. Higher skills will enhance your employability and help to push up your salary.