Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Help the Headhunters to Help You

Hello again

It seems like the most widespread effect of the recession is to find yourself stuck. You may be stuck in a house that you own, a flat that you rent or you may be stuck on “staycation.” Today we are looking at people stuck in a job that they want to leave.

Is this you? In these times of lower job security you need to be working to the best of your ability and won't want to get caught hunting for a new position. That makes you what we in the industry call a “passive” job seeker. What’s your strategy?

The passive job seeker’s message to the market is “I’m good, this is what I do and here’s where you can find me” and that needs to be communicated consistently through different channels. Let’s look at some different aspects of that.

Before we talk details let’s make one thing clear. If you’re relying on other people to help you make a move you’d better make sure that you’re someone they will want to help. A head-hunter wants to get the fee for placing the best person but remember that the best person is easy to get on with; someone who deals with partners and directors with the same ease they deal with associates, clients and recruitment consultants.

Headhunters spend a lot of their time speaking to people in your industry. If you are doing conspicuously good work and treating people well you will be on the radar. If you have taken the time to network with your peers the signal will come through much more strongly. Another way to become more visible is by writing an industry blog to demonstrate your expertise; maybe you could do this officially for your firm. This will help you to appear in google searches.

If you’re in a senior position you may consider higher level profile work. That might mean speaking at industry events or talking regularly to journalists. If your industry has a directory like Chambers and Partners for law or Accountancy Age do what you can to get listed. Take the calls and complete the questionnaires. It may seem trivial and you can outwardly treat it as that but don’t underestimate the value. Professional associations, official or otherwise, are worth joining. Think about where people seeking talent in your industry will look and make sure you’re there.

The researchers and resourcers of the recruitment industry may look for names first and then look for detail to complete their dossiers. They may go straight to places they know they will find the detail, especially for less senior roles. This includes searching CVs on recruitment websites like Jobsite, CWJobs, Jobserve and Monster and perusing profiles on LinkedIn. These sites can be used anonymously whilst still allowing headhunters to find you. Make sure to mention the key attributes that single you out. Use the key words that describe your dream job in your online profile. Take the time to complete as many fields as possible so that targeted searches locate you.

Maybe the most important thing is to form long term relationships with recruitment consultants that you trust. Treat these relationships professionally and keep them two way. This may involve helping other people before you help yourself but no harm will come of it. Avoid the temptation to phone your recruitment contacts repeatedly, their activity is driven by employer vacancies, not available staff. Your aim is to be the first person the consultant wants to talk to when your dream role comes up so don’t put them in a difficult position before that.

Doesn’t sound so hard does it? The market is starting to get more dynamic so believe in yourself, put your brand in the public domain and make sure people can find you. You could find yourself making an exciting move in the new year.
In the mean time we wish you and your families a wonderful festive season from all at Picture More!

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