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Answers to the latest job hunting questions

Allen Associates, News & Blog

As you might imagine, we get asked a lot of questions by people looking for their next job opportunity. But some questions come up more than others, particularly during times of economic uncertainty when employers may be feeling cautious and taking longer to make hiring decisions.

If you’re looking to make a fresh start in 2024, we hope you will find these answers to our most commonly asked job hunting questions useful. In our experience, the candidates that land the best roles in uncertain times are those that are aware of the bigger picture and have a realistic view of the employment market. Successful candidates are usually very clear about their personal and professional goals and know which areas they are prepared to compromise on.

The following Q&A have been compiled by our recruitment consultants to help guide your job search:

Looking for a new job in uncertain times

I’m not enjoying my current role. Should I throw in the towel now or wait until I secure another job?

As with any major decision, it’s worth taking the time to consider all angles and be clear about your reasons for wanting to make a move. Sometimes, with the right conversations and a bit of compromise on both sides, the issues can be resolved internally.

If you’ve made up your mind to make a fresh start with a new employer, then that’s great. There are lots of exciting roles available, particularly in Oxfordshire where we recruit people at all levels for great jobs in PA and Administration, HR, Marketing and Finance.

Many of our candidates choose to wait until they secure a job offer before handing in their notice. If you would prefer to leave sooner, then you may want to explore temping as an interim solution.

Whatever approach you take, always research the jobs market well or talk to your recruitment consultant so that you are aware of any changes or emerging trends and know what to expect and how best to prepare. Our Oxfordshire Recruitment Market Overview for 2024 will provide a useful starting point.

If job vacancies have fallen to pre-pandemic levels, is it a good idea to cast my net wide and apply for everything in my field?

This approach may land you a job but it may not be the best match for you. Take the time to understand your goals and what you really want and need from your next role. Then identify vacancies that address these things.

Always read the job descriptions and person specifications carefully and if they still align well with your requirements, research the employer and make sure you like what you see and that their values resonate with your own.

Convinced? Great! This is the time to revisit your CV and make any adjustments. You will also need to tailor your application carefully to suit the vacancy. This approach is more time-consuming but it will be worth it as you will have significantly increased your chances of success.

Hybrid working

The job is being advertised as office-based but I would prefer to work from home. Should I apply anyway?

Employers in Oxfordshire are following the national trend and are keen to encourage people back to the workplace where possible – but most of them offer some degree of hybrid or flexible working.

Almost all the employers that we work with would like their staff to come into the office for at least some of the week, with the most common being two to three days in the office and the remainder working from home.

Before you apply, we would advise you to think carefully about whether this is something that you would be willing to compromise on. It may be helpful to discuss your reasons for not wanting to return to the office with your recruitment consultant in the first instance as they may be able to reassure you on some of the points – or identify areas for negotiation.

Career development

Will a new employer pay for the cost of any training I want to do in uncertain times?

It’s a fair question and very much depends on the employer. In our experience, most organisations will either pay for or contribute towards the cost of continuous personal and professional development if a business case can be made. Most employers have decent training budgets, even in challenging economic times, and a process in place for helping people to enhance their skills and achieve new qualifications.

We will be happy to discuss this on your behalf.

Transferable skills

Is it worth applying for a job in a sector that I have never worked in before?

It’s important to read the job description very carefully before applying for any new role. There may be sector-specific skills or qualifications required but on the whole, we tend to find that most skills are transferable across industry sectors. For example, if you have worked in a marketing role for a law firm, those marketing skills can be easily adapted to another service sector – or with a bit more knowledge, applied to a completely different industry.

If you’re in any doubt, speak to your recruitment consultant who will advise you on how best to direct your time and energy.


Why is the recruitment process taking so long?

Done well, job hunting takes time. Occasionally, it’ll be a case of right place, right time, and things may move incredibly quickly. Most of the time though, it takes two to three months, longer if you have a particularly lengthy notice period.

Be clear on your goals, selective on your applications and communicate regularly with your recruitment consultant. Above all, be open-minded to the possibilities, think carefully about what you may be willing to compromise on, and be patient. Success will follow!

Register with us

If you’re not already registered with Allen Associates, you can register here. We recruit for roles at all levels in PA and Administration, HR, Marketing and Finance and mostly with Oxfordshire-based employers. Please browse our latest temporary and permanent jobs to get a feel for what we have to offer and get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.