When having a conversation recently I was asked the question what candidates should be doing to be more employable? Were there any secrets as to “hack” the recruitment process? What are recruiters looking for in the “perfect” candidate?

The truth is there is no way to hack the recruitment process, recruiters spend more than six seconds per resume(if they’re a good recruiter), novelty resumes rarely make a difference and being a jack of all trades doesn’t make you more employable it makes your more expendable.

Recruitment and Talent Acquisition is a funny game, a lot of the time we can get a bad rap, that is until we are needed. There is no doubting that there are some bad apples in the bunch but overall, the recruitment industry is full of some of the most passionate, resilient and forward-thinking people out there. It takes a lot to go to work every day with the most volatile product on the market, PEOPLE. 

When people ask me the question what makes someone more employable, the first thing that comes to mind is are you a specialist or are you a generalist? Ten times over a specialist is the more employable candidate.

What is a specialist? A specialist to me is someone that knows what they do well and maximise it. We are always taught to work on our weaknesses but while working on your weaknesses you lose focus on what you are great at, and what you are great at makes you more employable and less expendable.

To use one of many sporting examples of a Specialist Vs Generalist you can take the much-anticipated bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. In the lead up to the fight you had the generalists(Mcgregor Fans) saying how his ability across many different fighting disciplines and unconventional approach would give him the edge over Mayweather, while the specialists(Mayweather Fans) scoffed at the idea of a MMA fighter beating a Boxer in a boxing match.

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Rather than give a blow by blow account of the fight, overall, it went like this. While McGregor was able to match it in the early rounds eventually Mayweather was able to out-box (specialist) the MMA fighter (generalist). In the end the specialist will always beat out the generalist if they are playing in the specialist’s arena.

I fully understand that many roles call for a generalist, in that case be the best generalist you can be.

While my sentiments may not be shared by some, we are moving into a new era of business where people are going to be more accessible to business via remote work so if you aren’t doubling down on your strengths and specialising, someone else out there is and they are making themselves more employable.

Written by Josh Nisbet, Consultant at Beilby Downing Teal Brisbane.

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