The current job market is full of opportunities, but as with everything in this modern world, it’s constantly changing and evolving. Because of this, the way recruiters carry out their candidate search is also changing, which means the way you carry out your job search should change too.
Whether you’re looking for the same job in the same industry, or looking to branch out to a new challenge in a new sector, or somewhere in between, you need to take a different approach. There are certain things you should be doing to accelerate your job search and achieve your job of choice, with your employer of choice.
Your approach should be tactical, just as recruiters are tactical in their candidate search. Fortunately, there a few simple things you can do to ensure a successful job search in the current job market.
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I’m based in Queensland, and whilst I cannot speak more broadly about the entire employment market across Australia, much of what is happening here is happening elsewhere. We are certainly recruiting roles in Sydney and Melbourne.
On the whole, there is a lot of confidence and a lot of excitement about the future. There are also particular industries that are enjoying much better times, like the mining industry. Since mining is such a critical backbone of employment in Australia, when the industry is doing well other sectors will do well too.
So if you are actively looking for a new job, now is a good time to be out there and getting amongst it. From what I’ve seen, it’s fair to say you will start to see a lot more opportunities advertised that are relevant to your backgrounds and experience, etc.
But, as is always the case, the vast majority of recruitment happens in what we call the ‘hidden job market’, where the role is never advertised, it never gets to a recruiter. The only way to access this is to be able to sit and navigate the traditional way of finding a job.
In the current job market, there is a continuing rise in internal recruitment, particularly in medium to large organisations. Internal recruitment has always been present but historically, internal recruiters would largely look after what I call more lower end transactional roles, and senior opportunities would be given to executive search companies to be managed and filled.
Now, internal recruiters are more sophisticated in their search, with access to tools like LinkedIn, so are starting to work on far more senior roles. You might even see some organisations using their internal recruiting teams to recruit at C level. It’s rare at CEO level, but it’s certainly becoming a lot more prevalent at the executive leadership team level.
Whether or not it’s appropriate for these roles to be managed by internal recruitment or not is another question, but it’s definitely happening and is something to be aware of.
Another thing to be aware of is that recruiters are only good at putting square pegs in square holes, so they’re looking for people who have largely filled what I call ‘same job, same industry’ roles in their history. Whether that is internal recruiters or external recruiters – even Arete Executive – when they are retained by organisations to fill a role, they look for people who have done it before, have done it well, and are motivated to do it again.
While ‘same job, same industry’ is largely the most common job search, there are three other quadrants of the market; ‘same job, different industry’, ‘different job, same industry’, and ‘different job, different industry’. I discuss these in more detail in my book, Uncover the Hidden Job Market’, which you can get a free copy of on my website.
Modern technology like LinkedIn is playing its part in the changing recruitment sector. LinkedIn allows internal and external recruiters to scope out and map talent much, much more effectively than they used to be able to. In the past, recruiters would place an ad on a job board like Seek, but now they have a much greater reach for quality candidates.
The main benefit of using LinkedIn to search for candidates is the ability to filter quality and reach out directly to promote the opportunity. As a search firm, we don’t rely on that; we also call people in their workplaces to sell the opportunity to them with the hope of engaging their interest in being an applicant.
LinkedIn has the potential to become even more of a game changer in the recruitment industry with the development of a new technology. Artificial intelligence will allow internal recruitment teams predominantly to input some key attributes of the people they are looking for, and LinkedIn Recruiter will build the short list for them. So, once again, it’s becoming much easier to go out and get longer reach for people who specifically meet your requirements.
What does that mean for you, the job seeker? Firstly, if you want to be identified, it’s critical your LinkedIn profile clearly demonstrates your skills and experience and has the keywords necessary for this artificial intelligence, or search professionals, to be able to find you.
If you’re looking to move out of ‘same job, same industry’, the only way to really do that is to get in front of your employers of choice before they know they need you.
By getting in front of your employer of choice, you will be assessed purely on your own key achievements and transferable skills. You will, therefore, be considered for opportunities outside of ‘same job, same industry’, rather than be compared against 200 potential other applicants, who may have far more relevant experience.
I’ve seen a great example of this from a role Arete Executive recruited for about 18 months ago. The employer was a Sunshine Coast-based not-for-profit that was looking for a new CEO. The brief was very specific: the candidate had to be from a C level role within a disability-related not-for-profit, have a strong understanding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and M&A, have significant innovation experience in the sector, and must be prepared to live on the Sunshine Coast.
I’m sure you’d agree, to find a list of potential candidates who meet all of those criteria is a big task. We ran our typical headhunting/advertising process for this role and at the end of 20 working days, we came up with nine candidates who met the brief for the Chair and the Board.
I followed up with the Chair about six weeks later to see who they’d hired. It turns out they hired the General Manager of the Sunshine Coast Tourism Bureau, who hadn’t been shortlisted by us and did not meet the brief.
How did he get the job then? Because he knew a couple of people on the Board and he was able to successfully sell his key achievements and transferable skills to the point where the Board felt happy to take the risk. It has been a successful partnership so far, so it’s a win-win for both parties. But, had he applied for the job, he wouldn’t have even got to the interview stage because he simply just didn’t meet the brief.
So this is a very clear example of somebody who was able to move into ‘different job, different industry’ by getting in front of the employer before they knew they needed him. Even more importantly, he was able to successfully sell his key achievements and transferable skills in order to be offered the role.
I know of many other people who have been successful in doing the same thing, so I encourage you to follow their lead if you’re looking to move into a different job in a different industry. Identify your employers of choice, find the most relevant person to talk to, approach them, build a rapport and stay in touch. So when a vacancy becomes available, if not immediately, you are the logical first choice. That will never, ever happen when you are applying for an advertised role that is not ‘same job, same industry’. Particularly when the role is being advertised by internal recruitment.
Internal recruitment is very tactically driven, they are balancing and managing multiple assignments at any one time. So they simply can’t invest in the time to investigate and champion candidates who are not ‘same job, same industry’.
Again, I cover all this in more detail in my book, ‘Uncover the Hidden Job Market‘, but if you’re looking for a change, the important thing is to ensure you’re making yourself visible on LinkedIn and making yourself known before the opportunities arise.
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