Ask the Recruiter With Danielle Harvey: Recession, Contract Work Benefits and More

by Susan Mullin

This week, we were joined by Danielle Harvey, our Talent Acquisition Specialist who focuses on contract positions. Find out what she’s been seeing in the job search battlefield – how candidates are moving from one job to another, why contract jobs are an excellent way to grow your skills and the biggest non-negotiable for job seekers right now.

As we all know, we’re in a period of uncertainty with a potential recession looming over us. Are people wanting to move jobs or do you see many staying put right now?

Danielle: It’s a mix of both. Some candidates I’ve talked to might have sensed uncertainty in their current organization, so they are trying to keep options open knowing that the recession is out there. On the other hand, there are candidates who have been impacted by mass layoffs or are seeing budgets tighten, and they want to make a move as soon as possible. This is obviously true for people who’ve had a heads up like “your department is being directly affected by the layoffs” and “you have this much time.”

What advice would you have for someone who is personally affected by the mass layoffs?

Danielle: Start by updating your resume and make sure that everything reflects the most recent work you’ve done with your organization. Then go through your current LinkedIn connections, connect with people you’ve worked with in the past, make connections with people who have also been laid off themselves and connect with recruiters. Try and find a recruiting firm that focuses on the space that you work in.

Speaking of a recession, younger candidates who are entering the workforce may feel apprehensive about the current job market. How do you recommend entry-level workers make themselves stand out with little job experience?

Danielle: I would say internship experience is really important, especially if they can secure a longer-term one. Obtaining certifications and completing training programs can also be very useful. Anything that they can do to get relevant experience in their desired field.

What has recently caught your eye in a junior candidate?

Danielle: Junior candidates who research a company before talking to me really make them stand out. Also, junior candidates who come in with questions and know the kind of work that they want to do, especially in the marketing space, are impressive – because marketing is so broad and there are so many things that you could do.

If you had to name one thing, what’s the most important aspect of a good resume?

Danielle: Consistency in formatting and layout, fonts and font size, spelling and punctuation stands out to us AND our clients. Stick to the basics and avoid crazy or stylized elements and graphics. When you list experiences, have the most recent one at the top and remove irrelevant information that doesn’t align with the job you are applying for. Add in specifics that do align with the job that you’re applying for and REMOVE headshots. Try to keep the length between one and two pages.

In your conversations with candidates, what sort of work environment do you find most sought-after? Remote? Hybrid?

Danielle: I do see still the majority of people wanting to work remotely but they are becoming more open to hybrid, especially if there is flexibility on which days they can go on-site vs. set days each week. When they are allowed to ease back into the office, they are more interested in a hybrid setup. As far as the number of days in the office, candidates are typically interested in one to two days per week.

Since you work on the contract side, what kinds of candidates do you see typically interested in contract positions?

Danielle: I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s any one type of candidate interested in contract work, but we are seeing more and more people open to contract positions, especially with recent mass layoffs. I do see currently employed people who feel like they’re stuck in a position without growth interested in contract roles that can provide career development opportunities.

What would you say are the advantages of contract jobs versus permanent roles?

Danielle: I have talked to people who love contracting because they get so much experience from different industries. A lot of the candidates haven’t heard of contract roles. They think of freelance or 1099 jobs that aren’t 40 hours a week and aren’t secure. With TorchLight, our contract roles are W2 with full-time hours. We offer good benefits including health insurance, PTO, paid holidays and 401(k). This surprises a lot of candidates.

Contract work can seem scary and unstable. Especially for early career candidates, contract roles are a great way to get their feet wet and try out different industries and specialties – and see what their passions and talents are. For seasoned employees, contract roles can offer a new challenge or opportunity to transition to a new industry or specialty. You can find a contract role that offers what you’re interested in.

What is the biggest hesitation candidates have when interviewing and/or the biggest non-negotiable?

Danielle: If they have multiple job offers on the table, they weigh what’s going to be the best career move and the next step in their career journey. So, if they’ve got two completely different organizations offering them a job, they might be looking at which has the best opportunities for growth. They also look at benefits and whether the setup is remote vs. hybrid.

Is there any skill that clients are particularly looking for right now?

Danielle: If we’re talking soft skills, I believe a candidate who has a strong willingness to learn will excel in any role. The workplace can be everchanging so being adaptable and flexible to new opportunities, including taking on additional role responsibilities as needed, will help you succeed further not just in your role, but also in the organization – think of future growth opportunities, promotions and more.

Aside from soft skills, our clients also look for candidates with a variety of hard skills, like experience using different technical tools or programs. Since our roles are focused on the marketing space, a few of the common ones we hear about from our clients include different marketing automation platforms like Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, and MailChimp; project management software like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp; data analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics; social media management tools like Hootsuite, and content management systems like WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace, to name a few.

Read our last edition of Ask the Recruiter with TorchLight’s Diana Gardner.

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