Does Low Unemployment Help or Hurt Executive Job Seekers?

I’m an executive interview preparation coach. I support leaders in landing the jobs they deserve and ones they’re genuinely passionate about securing. Some of my clients have been curious about how record low unemployment is helping or hurting their chances of getting hired.

In general, low unemployment means companies have confidence in the market, are expanding jobs, and probably offering higher wages. More opportunity and better wages is a good problem to have if you’re a job seeker. After all, low unemployment signals a larger proportion of jobs than the number of people competing for said jobs. But, is this true at all levels?

Korn Ferry recently surveyed 200+ of each CFOs, CHROs, and CTOs regarding whether they had a “ready-now” successor to take over should they leave their post. Their data suggested that less than 20% of the time CFOs and CHROs had a ready successor and about 60% of CTOs had an available successor.  Meaning, these organizations will need to hire from the outside to find the best candidate. So, although it may be a good time overall to put yourself out there for your next high-level career move, the challenge is still that there are fewer senior management positions in total. While Korn Ferry’s data suggests that CFOs and CHROs have more opportunities for significant roles, that may not hold for all senior management positions, as we saw for CTOs.

Independent of unemployment rates and career fields, I have come to understand from my fifteen years of HR and executive coaching experience, that the single differentiating factor separating good candidates from great candidates is the amount of preparation they put into the interview process. To be seen as the best-fit candidate, you must stand apart from the rest. To be the selected candidate, you should be able to express the answers to three essential questions expertly:

1. Why do you want THIS job?

2. Why should we hire YOU?

3. After a year in the position, how will you know you were successful?

How do you think your responses stack up? Strategies for answering these three questions with excellence can be downloaded here in my helpful guide. Get out there and land the job you deserve, taking advantage of this job seekers market!