Sunday, February 28, 2010

The New Normal

I’ve been participating in a conversation on on how the world of searching for new jobs has changed and how to define the “new normal” relative to career management and job searches. This discussion got me to thinking about the new normal and how it will play out in the world of work.

The first thing I did was Google “the new normal,” which yielded about 350,000 hits. When narrowed for “careers,” 128,000 hits emerged. The hits address everything from job search techniques by the unemployed to talent acquisition by companies. Clearly, the match of people to corporate positions and needs is of ongoing interest, even in a recession.

Two of the more interesting articles came from Stephanie Klein, of The Boomer Group, and Dan Finnigan, of Jobvite Blog. In a blog post about trends in the Denver employment market, Stephanie Klein noted that as companies begin to bring on additional talent, they are shifting in how they are finding candidates and what they’re looking for. In the “new normal, companies are seeking candidates who can have a direct and immediate impact on the bottom line.”

In a two part blog post, last December, Finnigan examined the new normal from the perspectives of both job seekers and employers. Finnigan began by noting that the new normal “means that we have to seriously rethink – and literally rework – much of what we do in business, including how we find, hire and manage people.” He noted that employers hire all the time; even in January 2009 – the worse month of job loss – when 741,000 jobs were lost, 4.4 million people were hired; many of these new hires were “strategic replacements” to bring in needed expertise and knowledge. In recruiting new hires in a recession or slow recovery, employers will focus on the highest quality candidates. In order to attract such candidates, referrals and relationships will be the preferred, low cost approach. These referrals and relationships will be created across the current and emerging social media platforms – LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter.

So what does this mean for the job seeker? According to Finnigan, “we are all jobseekers…all the time.” He mentions the need for “pro-active career management” where we’re “always looking toward the next assignment.” The key tool for this continuous career management? Networking – professional and social networking online, developing offline contacts, helping others, building a solid reputation. Moreover, we will need to continually “construct, discover and fuel” our networks; not relying on any one technology, but “weave” it into all we do.

So, as a continuous jobseeker that has to demonstrate bottom line impacts, what’s your career management strategy for the new normal? How will you let people know about the value you can provide prospective employers? What will be your new normal in a world of constant change?


  1. Thanks Erika. I'm thinking of sending it to Paula Cohen, in our LI group, who wants to begin a conversation on helping folks in their job search. It may be a good way to frame the discussion she want to initiate.

  2. Thanks Scott. The new normal is real. I plan to send this article to a couple of friends. It should help them to rethink what we are all now doing.

  3. Great Bob,

    Rethinking our assumptions is critical in the new normal.

  4. This is something we must really think about. Looks like the new normal is here to stay.

    Great post btw!