by Sam Gordon and Simon La Fosse

The ever-changing face of job hunting

Apr 10, 2011
CareersIT Leadership

The recruitment industrycontinues to evolve and for many people job hunting is a confusing and sometimes frustrating process; especially at time when they need to secure a new role. Web based recruitment has made it easier to access a wide range of opportunities but this can also de-personalise the experience.

Many large companies now have in-house executive search teams and people are a little unsure of whether to build relationships with them in the way they would a head-hunter.

There has been a virtual demise of broadsheet newspaper executive appointments advertising, which for many was the CIO’s main window on the jobs market. And in only a few years networking tools like LinkedIn have had a profound impact on how people market themselves. Understandably many people are unsure of how they should approach job hunting.

1. Building your profile

It is essential to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. You will note we have made an assumption you are already on LinkedIn as it is truly ubiquitous.

This does not have to be as detailed as your CV but should give a summary of your career and areas of functional expertise. If your job title is based on some internal acronym then it is probably worth qualifying what your role actually is.

Endorsements from trusted contacts and clients can be useful (especially senior, well known people) and it makes sense to link your account to the email you use most regularly. LinkedIn is viewed by recruiters as an essential source of talent and contact through LinkedIn is a less obtrusive form of contact than an unexpected phone call in the office and many people prefer to be alerted to an opportunity before holding a call. Dealing with a higher volume of emails and some irrelevant opportunities is a small price to pay for being accessible for when ideal roles come along.

2. Online appointments

We often hear frustrations from people who have applied to roles online and not received a response and feel their CVs disappear into a ‘black hole’. It is true that the migration to online advertising has commoditised parts of the process and unfortunately not all recruitment companies place an emphasis on their consultants responding to all applications. However, there are things you can do to increase your impact and limit these frustrations. Firstly only applying to roles that really appear to be relevant and making sure that your CV or better still, your covering note, clearly bullet points the relevant experience. From a recruitment firm point of view an advert may receive over 500 applications (which each takes times to review) so by outlining the key experience you bring to the role and having a personalised cover note will help immensely. The challenges of commoditisation do flow both ways! Also by targeting your applications you will protect your brand. Even if a candidate looks right for a specific role if you have applied for five other positions with the same firm that day then it can reduce the impact.

3. Internal Recruiters

Increasingly firms employ their own recruitment teams and in large firms they can take care of a large proportion of hires – and at the most senior levels. Many are generalists by necessity of scale so most will also work with head-hunters – particularly those with a clear specialisation. Many that we know take time out to meet candidates on a speculative basis as they have an eye on the future of the firm and will want a talent network they can tap into outside of specific mandates they may be working on today.

4. Headhunters

Maintaining a relationship with headhunters is essential. Although it is part of our role to nurture candidate networks it is important to find time to proactively engage with headhunters – not just when you need a job. This maintains your window on the market and keeps you front of mind for times when there will be intense competition for desirable roles. Most headhunters are also well networked in their own industry and if they share our values of always doing the right thing by the candidates then they will be well placed to refer you to other reputable head-hunters in the industry. In return helping headhunters helps to build a positive relationship for both. For example recommending candidates for roles if they ask for referrals can be a huge help and we tend to have a long memory for such acts of kindness!

5. Pick up a pen

In an age of electronic communication, it is a rare treat to receive a letter. While an email should always be used to send a CV a covering letter or a thank you note to a contact you have met can make a big impact. Don’t underestimate the power of a well written thank you note. Being distinctive and standing out from the crowd is as important as ever.