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Employment & Education

10 things to know if you're looking (or recruiting) for a job in WNY

Western New York's job market is hot. That's great news for job seekers and not-so-great news for employers.

But one thing remains true for both: Recruitment is different in a tight job market. There are certain things a job seeker needs to know if they're looking for work in the local market right now, and certain things employers should know if they're trying to fill their ranks.

We rounded up helpful advice for both employers and employees.

First, job seekers

Don't apply everywhere at once. This is not the time to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Select places you would like to work, then begin pursuing careers there thoughtfully.

"Buffalo is a tight-knit community. Do not spam out your resume for any and every job that is posted," said Maggie Shea, partner at recruiting company StaffBuffalo.

When employers find out that you've thrown yourself out there willy-nilly, they will think you're not taking your job search seriously, she said.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume. If employers check the two against each other (and they will) it's going to be a red flag and cause them to hesitate, Shea said.

Don't be a pest. Contacting a hiring professional excessively will count against you, Shea said. It shows a disrespect for the person's time and calls attention to you in a negative way. There are ways to show enthusiasm, interest and initiative, but this isn't one of them.

Follow up the right way. Put time and thought into a stellar thank-you email after your interview, Shea urges. Set it apart by making sure it includes specific references to things you discussed during the meeting. Thank the interviewer for their time and let them know that you're interested (or not interested) in the position.

Have someone read it over. Check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure it's properly formatted. And don't send it from your phone.

Interview potential employers before you even apply. Do your research on every company that interests you, recommends Hugh Burtis, a partner at Florida recruiter Human Castle, which has offices in Buffalo. Make sure the company is one you want to work for before moving forward.

Analyze its website, read what the trade publications have to say about it, and check Glassdoor.com for reviews from current and previous employees.

As for recruiters

Know that you are not an applicant's only option. Every candidate you consider has at least three companies looking at them simultaneously, Burtis estimates. Often, the applicant is already in the interviewing stages with another company or has been offered a job. Know you're in tight competition for talent and proceed accordingly.

Don't hesitate. In this tight market, you have to be ready to pull the trigger.

"Time kills all deals," Burtis said. "If an employer waits on hiring an employee, they will 100% lose that candidate for good to another competing employer."

You have to sweeten the pot. Wages have increased, though not enormously. Scheduling has gotten more flexible. Workplaces have gotten more fun.

"Employers need to understand this," Burtis said.

If you're going to compete in this tight job market and still want to attract quality talent, you'd better be willing to increase the starting salary and offer more perks.

Start with an honest and specific job description. Don't leave anything to chance. Spell out exactly what you need. List the nonnegotiables and, if you are flexible on some points, make it known. Don't hold back on what will be expected of the new hire. In such a competitive market, it's better to weed out a poor fit early.

You no longer have the upper hand. It's a job seeker's market, and applicants will be sizing you up just as much (if not more) than you are evaluating them. Be prepared to sell your candidate of choice on the role you would like them to fill and be ready to convince them why they'll want to work for your organization.

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