News Column

Finding an Edge in the Job Market

June 19, 2013

Juan Baron

Juan Baron, Northwestern Mutual
Juan Baron, Northwestern Mutual

Companies are starving for diverse talent. Meanwhile, the Hispanic population grew four times faster than the national rate between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Business owners have begun to recognize the value of recruiting candidates with linguistic, cultural and personal connections to the U.S. Hispanic community.

However, while being Hispanic can make you a competitive candidate, there are many other key elements to winning the position of your dreams. Individuals who are prepared, involved and informed have the greatest opportunity to succeed.

Referrals are the name of the game
A study conducted last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that referred candidates have a 40 percent better chance of getting hired than nonreferrals.

When seeking out a new position, job seekers should look within personal networks to identify potential opportunities. For example, face-to-face meetings over coffee tend to gain more traction for candidates than blindly posting resumes to job search websites, which are limited in their ability to sell a job seeker's personality.

Community involvement
Even if a company has a global reach, it is likely to maintain connections on a smaller, local level. Get involved in the nearest chamber of commerce or a local nonprofit. Community involvement illustrates the diversity of a candidate's talents to potential employers while providing additional networking opportunities.

Be interview ready
The work done in advance to prepare for an interview can make a candidate stand out. The ability to speak to personal strengths can contextualize a candidate's value beyond the interview to the company as a whole.

Also, know the company being applied to. Talking about being a good fit for the company is more impactful when the values and mission of the business are known and understood.
Offer solutions, and don't be negative when discussing past work history. Instead, use the opportunity to underscore problem solving skills that have been employed to help resolve a situation.

Don't underestimate the power of questions. Read the interviewer and keep them engaged by balancing personal responses with questions about projects and the work environment.

Being Hispanic is an asset in the current job market. Recognizing the benefits this connection offers can help job seekers find a good career fit. Most importantly, however, you can improve your chances of success with in-person networking, community involvement and well-honed interview skills to get from interviewee to short-list candidate.

Juan Baron is a wealth management adviser and the managing director for Northwestern Mutual in West Los Angeles. Baron serves on the board of managers for the Westside Family YMCA and the board of directors for the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association Inc. Baron is a certified financial planner, a chartered life underwriter and a chartered financial consultant.



Source: HispanicBusiness.com (c) 2013. All rights reserved.