When there are many more workers than job openings, employers behave differently than they do in a healthy employment market. This is largely because the locus of control shifts from candidates to employers, and employers will have the sense that they can “call the shots.” These dynamics can pose serious challenges for job seekers. Under these circumstances, here are some of the typical challenges job seekers will face at many companies:

* Employers will generally cut back on spending, contract in size, and squeeze efficiencies out of existing facilities and resources.
* Employers will cut salaries and benefits of whatever job openings they still have, with the belief that they will be able to attract quality candidates for a lot less investment.
* Employers will take longer to make hiring decisions, with the belief that they can afford to be much more selective.
* Employers will expect candidates to provide greater value by offering more experience, skills, and accomplishments.
* Employers will want candidates to produce stronger business results with less resources and staff, but to work at the same or even lower-level titles than they did before.
* Employers will tend to curtail promotions, raises, bonuses, and perks, taking the position that “our employees are lucky just to have jobs here.”
* Employers will fill the few positions that do open-up internally, because this is much less expensive than recruiting and hiring candidates from the outside.
* Employers will expect their staff to be more flexible and to make greater sacrifices to keep their jobs, including more relocations, heavier workloads, and greater travel demands.
* Employers will re-deploy talent by transferring employees from one division or department to another, where they can have the most impact.
* Employers will put greater emphasis on recruiting passive candidates (those who already have jobs) as opposed to considering unemployed candidates.
* Employers will reduce their investments in search firms and recruiting technologies, expecting that the best candidates will come to them.
* Employers will tend to focus exclusively on survival and shareholder value, and will stop paying attention to employee morale and staff retention.
* Employers will fill job openings only with candidates whose background and experience precisely match those required by the position.

Of course, there is nothing you can do to control employers’ behavior. But you CAN control your own. Even in a down market, job seekers and employees are NOT powerless or without recourse in dealing with the challenges listed above. In fact, you always have more control over your career circumstances than you might think.

Copyright © 2010, Ford R. Myers. All Rights Reserved.

Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” For information about career services and products, visit www.careerpotential.com and www.fordmyers.com.

Author's Bio: 

Ford R. Myers is President of Career Potential, LLC. Since 1992, he has been providing professional services in career consulting and executive coaching. His firm helps executives and professionals to take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! Career Potential also offers a leading training and certification opportunity called “Ultimate Career Consultants” (www.UltimateCareerConsultants.com).

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