I want to consider what is interesting to our recruitment network – what helps others in the network who seek guidance and knowledge – what gets views, hits, shares, likes? I am interested to hear from you, the reader – what do you expect to read about and would you chose to read about, what topics interest you most?
Recruiters are in business to offer a service – as with most services, some are great at giving it, some are maybe not so great, but we certainly all strive for one thing: putting the best candidates in touch with the most suitable employers.
If this was a simple exercise, the robots would have taken over long ago – how often have we heard that technology is taking over... but we still need the human touch? It is a journey of discovery for every candidate and client, and the potential scenarios along the way are often utterly unpredictable. People don’t change jobs too often, and no one job search is the same, and the market, economy and environment changes constantly too... As a recruiter, you have to bring your absolute best efforts to each and every transaction so that no stone is left unturned. People’s lives are at stake, and it is our duty to hold their hands.
For me, I am starting to understand that this is where recruitment content might come into play. If you are fairly new to the content space, the plus to know is that I already see that my blogs have touched more people than I could have reached otherwise. Recruiters are notoriously time-poor individuals – we may enjoy having an in-depth chat to anyone who calls, but the reality of our role is that we have to prioritise - and dedicate the majority of our time to those live searches, current clients and candidates…
Coming up with useful content lets all the other potential candidates, and our network, know that we are still there for them. But - here comes the big question, what exactly is “useful content?”
Many blogs out there are self-serving attempts to win business and/or gain visibility. This strategy will work to a point of course, but unless there is a long-term desire to genuinely help people, an audience will see through this approach pretty quickly. In my view, it doesn’t matter too much how well a blog is written – what is most important is that it touches a nerve and elicits an acknowledgement or even better a response!
It could ask a question to make someone think. It could share some personal stories to make someone feel. The picture and title alone is often enough to make someone pause…
You are spending time to put something out into the world to make an impact on other peoples lives. Every word that we say to our candidates is intended to help them move that little bit closer to their dream job, so in my mind, the blogs should be written in a similar vein. How can this blog help (just one) person move closer to signing that new contract? It isn’t about massive viral numbers, and it isn’t about endless debates (nor Facebook material being shared on business social media!) Indeed, the people who need it most may not even engage with the blogs because they don’t want their current employers to know that they are looking. If I can make a difference to just a few of those readers, it will be worthwhile. After all, I probably wouldn’t have reached them otherwise. So when people talk about content-shock and question the ROI of marketing in general, I turn this argument on its head. Why wouldn’t we want to use the channel to help our candidates – so please do respond and let me know what I should write about next!
Written by Julie O'Neill
How Do You Air Your Dirty Linen at Interview?
We all have moments in our lives that we would rather forget – some even extend into our careers…
I’m not sure that I will ever write about mine, but as I am lucky enough to run my own recruitment agency, hopefully I’ll never to have to divulge the unfortunate details to a potential employer! I might be exaggerating a little, but we have all been there, or uncomfortably close to being there... Something definitely didn’t go to plan… You failed to pay attention at a crucial moment… You chose to do something against someone’s wishes or even your own better judgement… disastrous consequences…
I am of the belief that such errors can be the hallmark of someone who is pushing their ability to the limits. Stories of calamities and near misses are to be expected in any interview – after all, we in recruitment work with people, not products!
Why, therefore, do we hear so few candidates talk about what didn’t go so well? (Or if they do, they don’t explain very well…)
The strongest people welcome mistakes as a learning experience, we all know of successful entrepreneurs who have tried repetitively with persistence and perseverance . They genuinely seek out an opportunity to test their boundaries - and when the boundaries bite back, they have a unique chance to adapt their behaviour for the future. Someone who simply plays it safe and stays within the prescribed groove is not someone who is likely to take their employer’s business to the next level.
Candidates haven’t necessarily had dealings with their recruiter before. Not all recruiters can possibly have worked with a particular hiring manager. The stakes are high and the pressure to find the right person for the role is on. When such new-born relationships are put under such strain, breakages are inevitable. However, for me, the mark of the great recruiter is not the calamity itself - but how they deal with the issues and dramas that arise – is it dealt with professionally, fairly, honestly – or are further holes being dug?
I’m delighted to hear about good (even massive!) billing figures, impressive business development skills and client wins - but I’d much rather hear about how they negotiated the hidden obstacles along the way. Hearing a story about something that went horribly wrong and how they brought it back from the brink to demonstrate real success and a strong long-term relationship is going to impress more than a squeaky clean record of excellence. Being strong, and fair, in the difficult times is what we all want to see!
Basically, I am suggesting that candidates should be more honest in their interviews – talking about the “bad” stuff won’t necessarily reflect negatively on them, if positioned correctly.
Of course, there are certain issues that are slightly more sensitive. Naturally it is always better to attract the interest of a potential employer with the sound sensible stuff before you wheel out the skeletons from the closet! As recruiters, we help to advise about the more sensitive issues. We definitely recommend honesty from the start - it is better to be open about certain things at the right time - rather than create stumbling blocks at the end of the process. No client will be impressed to hear of issues at final meeting, or even at point of references (which has happened). If you have an issue that could affect a visa and you are interviewing for jobs internationally, let us know. Don’t change a CV; if you haven’t included all the companies on the CV – why not? It will be found out and you will feel and look worse then. If you haven’t really earned X don’t embellish and don’t say that you have – OTE isn’t the same as a P60!
Every candidate should, of course, give the best account of themselves at interview, but their mistakes are part and parcel of how they have grown as an individual and as a recruiter, so they could form part of the story too.
Be genuine, be sincere and you should have every chance of getting the job.
Written by Julie O'Neill