Friday, 24 June 2011

Can headhunters get in your way?

Can headhunters get in your way?
I get a lot of clients who are job hunting and looking for work  saying, ‘I want to get a job but don’t want to go to agencies because I have not found them very helpful.’
OK let’s be clear the agency /executive search firm does not make its money from you, it makes it from the company where it places you. You, the candidate, are only useful when they have found a company  who wants what you have to offer. So don’t take it personally when they don’t make a fuss of you! Just make sure that your CV is in the database and that it has all those crucial keywords so that they will find you when they need you.
And that’s the crunch, the recruitment agency or executive search firm will be using a keyword search or CV comparison tool to look at your CV and those things have not got real intelligence! So the chances of you coming out of their search will be slim unless you are a close match.
But just because they are not very helpful to you and don’t make a fuss of you does not mean you can ignore them. Some employers never go to the market directly, they always use an intermediary. They may only ever communicate with the intermediary electronically. So the requirements are fixed in the paperwork.
In the same way the Executive Search firm earn their fees by bringing the best people in the market place to the interview table. Those people need to have a track record of quantifiable achievements and verifiable skills. The consultant needs to be able to justify why they are putting forward someone who does not fit the bill, exactly. Some headhunters will not put forward any candidate who is unemployed .. on the basis that if they are out of a job then they  won’t be seen as any good.  So headhunters focus less on transferable skills and more on demonstrated skills and relevant experience.
There are exceptions; some headhunters have such good long term relations with their clients that they can say ‘ trust me you need to see this person.. they will be a star…’ but they can only say that confidently if they have met you. And they won’t waste their time meeting you unless you meet some of their criteria in a spectacular way. So you’re back to the fact that you need to be a real near match to their specification or have a stunning achievement in at least one part of the specification.
So yes, agencies and  headhunters can get in your way if you are in career transition... but they work well for people with a solid track record in the field they want to pursue. And you can maximise your chances of having a fruitful relationship with an agency or headhunter.   Firstly recognise that they operate in niche markets; in the private sector firms are ‘boutique’ not department store. So pick the firms that you approach judiciously.  Secondly, find out what information they want from you and how they like it presented.  Make sure that your CV has the right key words and is packed full of what you have achieved. Thirdly, be patient.. when they have something they need you for, they will come back to you.  I had an agency come back to me recently.. I had heard nothing from them for over 2 years!
If you want to change sectors,  change careers, If you are gifted and lack experience, if you have a real desire to shift direction, to expand your skill set by acquiring experience in a new environment; a headhunter or recruitment agency may not be the best way to find a new job and you would be better to focus your efforts on other job search tools and techniques.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Digital by default - Martha Lane Fox's message

Went to hear Martha Lane Fox, founder of Last Minute Dot Com and now the government's digital tzar. The first thing to say is that having a disability is not hindering her career success. Being a woman is not hampering her in influencing at the highest levels. Her CV is not that of a typical policy maker but that is what she is doing.She was really inspirational!
Whilst Chatam House rules apply, some of the information is in the public domain so I want to share it to emphasis its importance.
The lowest income houselholds save £200 per year when they are online.
The policy is 'digital by default' - justify why you are not doing it online rathert than than do it manually and then see if you can take on line.
Start with the customer
Nobody is too old or too crippled to be engaged by the net.. but they may need some support or aids.
Estonia and Lithuania are front leaders in embracing technology
Getting governe,mnt transactions online is critical
gettign a greater % of the population on line is critacal
Local government seems to be hard work??????
We can all become digital champions...

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Am discovering the world of 'StumbleUpon'.. taxing to my brain at this time of day. Curiously there is a section in the list of interests called 'Women's Interests' but not one called 'Men's Interests'. Even more curious is the list of suggested things that you get when you tick Women's interests.. includes 'self improvement'. Now where are the guys? what's going on here?
Maybe I'll get my head around it.... and then i'll be stumbling!

Monday, 13 June 2011

LinkedIn is about to make the CV redundant!

LinkedIn is About to Put Job Boards (and Resumes) Out of Business

Jun. 1 2011 - 6:45 pm | 9,610 views | 1 recommendation | 51 comments
Job boards are becoming more irrelevant to the corporate recruitment process every single year. They are ineffective because of the sheer amount of competition on them and how they’re perceived by recruiters. Only lazy recruiters source candidates from them. The best recruiters build a strong network that they grow, nurture and tap into. Most companies hire based on referrals, and through their corporate websites, not job boards. They only use job boards in a last ditch effort to hire a candidate because the best people for the job are the one’s that aren’t looking (sometimes called “passive candidates”).
A study by Jobs2web Inc. shows that companies look through about 219 applications per job through a major job board before finding someone to hire. They only look at 33 applications per hire on their own corporate career site! Just as I said in my book Me 2.0, job boards are black holes. Stop submitting your resume to them and praying that a machine finds it and delivers it to a hiring manager. You should spend more time meeting people at companies you want to work for at networking events and through social networks.
Your traditional Microsoft Word resume is obsolete so create a LinkedIn profile and use their “Resume Builder” to turn your profile into your new digital resume.
LinkedIn’s big announcement today
LinkedIn just announced that they will be launching a button for employer career sites called “Apply With LinkedIn,” which will allow candidates to submit their LinkedIn profiles as resumes through their HR management systems. Companies will be able to take the LinkedIn API and integrate the button into their entire database of open jobs. The plugin uses applicants’ data to automatically sort candidates for the employer. In the submission process, companies can request a cover letter as well as additional fields. By launching this button, LinkedIn is training HR professionals and independent recruiters to use their technology and network grid instead of job boards. They are also making a bold statement saying that you don’t need a paper resume anymore; all you need a link to your LinkedIn profile.
[Update: LinkedIn just confirmed that they have not announced or confirmed such a plugin or product at this time.]
What this means for job seekers
I see more and more companies using this button on their career sites, while divesting in job board advertising. This is yet another step in the internet becoming the new global talent pool. HR databases are isolated in the confines of companies and can’t update fast enough to remain relevant in this fast paced world we live in. Now, more than ever before, job seekers have to create their own LinkedIn profiles and take them very seriously. You have to constantly managing your profile, revise it as you advance in your career, and use it to network as much as possible. Companies will expect you to be on LinkedIn and if you’re not, then you can’t apply for jobs! There are over one hundred million LinkedIn users and you will suffer if you keep submitting your Microsoft Word resume to job boards.
Job boards and traditional resumes are going to fade faster than I even predicted! I predicted ten years, but it might be much sooner than we all thought! Build your online presence now if you want to be able to compete in this ever growing marketplace.
Disclaimer: I own shares in LinkedIn stock, but I’ve been preaching about it’s effectiveness as a job search tool since 2006/7.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Time to retrain?

The top ten jobs identified by the Manpower survey as in short supply in the UK are: 1) engineers; 2) chefs/cooks; 3) managers/executives; 4) sales reps; 5) drivers; 6) technicians; 7) skilled tradespeople; 8) teachers; 9) accounting & finance staff; 10) IT staff.

According to the latest Global Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup, UK employers are currently experiencing more difficulty in filling their vacancies than at any time since 2007.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

'Best talent wants out' say public sector leaders

Almost half of all public sector workers are facing redundancy or looking for work in the private sector, according to a survey by recruitment consultants Hays.

The Hays Public Services Survey 2011 revealed that 45% of workers are either facing redundancy or want to work for a private firm.
Around 60% of public sector employers believe voluntary redundancy and early retirement will result in the loss of some of their best talent, and more than 60% said they are concerned that the sector will struggle to attract the staff necessary to manage the change ahead.
The survey found that local government workers were the most concerned of all the public sector divisions about losing talented staff.
'With such a widespread exodus of staff, it is highly likely that frontline services will be affected,'said public services director, Andy Robling.
'The combination of pay scrutiny, fears around job security and critical media headlines means a stigma has started to develop around public sector careers.
'Many public sector workers are feeling demotivated,devalued and stuck in less challenging careers,' added Mr Robling.'The public sector needs to act now to address this before it is too late.'