So what does a hiring manager value and does that value change with the economy?

We all have services to offer any company, with the range, depth and breadth of those services being reflected on our resume and then articulated throughout the interview process. So how do we make our services desirable to a hiring company and what should we look to emphasize in today’s economy?

A good place to start would be for us to have clarity on what we mean by the word “value”. While the dictionary offers us 18 definitions; 8 of those definitions have a common theme: monetary, worth, represented by a figure. So as we start to formulate our personal value statement we should review our career to date and take a hard look at every piece of training, education and experience in these terms. This will enable us to share how our services would be desirable or useful to the hiring organization.

Having difficulty putting a monetary value on the services you delivered to your previous employers?

Then look at some of the other definitions of the word value and focus on highlighting the OUTCOMES or RESULTS of your efforts, rather than what you did in order to achieve those deliverables.

Look at your career to date in the terms of how your previous employers have benefited for you being an employee:

1) relative worth, merit, or importance
2) monetary or material worth, as in commerce or trade
3) the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange
4) equivalent worth or return in money, material, services, etc.
5) estimated or assigned worth; valuation
6) denomination, as of a monetary issue or a postage stamp
7) magnitude; quantity; number represented by a figure, symbol, or the like
8) import or meaning; force; significance
9) liking or affection; favorable regard
10) consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance

Secondly, we should look at the recruiter or hiring manager as a “buyer” of your services. Meaning that buyers buy (hire) in order to solve a problem and to address a concern of their organization and in 2009 I would suggest that the profitability and the viability of their company is a BIG problem or concern.

So how do we address the concerns of the hiring manager in the context of their situation?

While value remains monetary, worth, represented by a figure the emphasis however does change with prevailing economic conditions and organizational focus.

In a better economy, for example in March of 2000 when the NASDAQ hit an all time high – organizations had a strategic, external or forward-looking focus. Meaning that the organization felt confident about investing people in order to develop or provide new offerings, functions and features. Accepting costs today with expectations of high returns in the future.

The hiring manager’s priorities in “better” economies:
1) Increase functionality & features
2) Increase capacity
3) New equipment & systems
4) Strategic focus
5) Look to future
6) Investment
7) Price / Cost

In 2009, a lot of organizations are simply hanging on. A recent Newsweek magazine survey showed that approximately 45% of all SMB businesses (of which there are around 27 million of them in the US) are not profitable.

So we are looking at approaching the hiring manager who is currently hyper-sensitive to costs with timeframes that don’t extend much beyond the here-and-now for assistance in making you a priority in the hiring process.

Today’s priorities:
1) Profitability
2) Timeframe: Here & now
3) Operational focus
4) Optimize existing systems
5) Increase efficiency
6) Operate cheaper
7) Consolidate

Now take a look at your resume to see where and how you are positioning your services. Are you positioning for a “boom” economy i.e. you are sharing how you added new functions or features, or are you positioning your services for driving down costs or growing revenues.

As a job seeker, we enhance our value by addressing the concerns of our audience in the context of their situation. We are looking to change a hiring initiative into a profitability initiative.

So here is my suggestion for a common value statement that you could use as a starting point; “I am looking to improve the profitability of the company by providing (insert your services) in the most cost effective & timely manner.”

Here we have a clear one sentence statement that clarifies what you are offering and why they should at least look at your resume and at best hire you immediately.

In conclusion, it is your ability to clearly state on your resume and succinctly articulate during the interview process your value, that will turn the hiring manager into the champion or sponsor you need in order to start the job offer process.

I wish you every success in your job search.

Good luck!
Graham Riley