Working with people is one of the most transferable skills that there is – right?
Putting language and cultural challenges aside at least, recruiting for a Finance Director in London throws up many of the same challenges of recruiting in New York, a banking recruiter in Singapore has a similar role to that in London... The markets may have a slightly different dynamic, the hiring companies might have differing processes and legalities may vary, but as and when those candidates walk into the room, the interviewer is still asking themselves the same questions - irrespective of the skyline outside the window!
It is, of course, a little simplistic to say that if you can recruit in London, you can recruit anywhere - but the huge numbers of people who have “gone there” and “done that” is a testament to the fact that it is more than possible. If you have the personality, the right blend of experience, life situation, drive, desire for a change, ability to fit culturally - then a dream career does not have to remain confined to your daydreams on a packed train commute into London!
At McCall, we have made many introductions abroad – the demand is high and growing hence why we have offices in Singapore (where our manager is Scottish!) and Sydney, and will continue to grow. Demand is especially high for second/third jobbers or management who want to experience a different country and lifestyle. The reasons vary from weather, sport, cost of living - in any case it is fair to say that there are more than a few commonalities regarding what makes a successful placement. Getting on the flight is one thing – staying out there, settling and thriving is something else entirely.
Firstly, you have to have an incredibly strong sense of “why.” There are various potential reasons and they have to be both meaningful and deeply felt enough to view the move out there as a medium-term move at least, long-term at best, rather than a short-term holiday. Getting in a long-term mind set and being realistic about exactly what you are giving up (in particular family visits and close friend networks tend to be the hardest) is one of the most important factors. You’ll miss all sorts of silly things about the UK (potentially the number of changes of weather in a day!) Ultimately if that is balanced out by a potentially amazing future in a country where you are more likely to lead the lifestyle you desire with ease (and less stress levels helps!) then you will leave with a beaming smile on your face…and have plenty of visitors!
Secondly, it helps to enjoy being highly social - you have built your UK network up over a number of years, but in many cases, you could be starting from scratch in your new country. You might be moving to a warm desk, but people don’t work with your desk, they work with you. The nuances will be different and it will take time to adjust – so get used to lots of storytelling, lots of listening and hopefully lots of laughs. If you slink back to your lonely flat at the end of the day, having eaten alone, you may not last there for long. You have to suck the marrow out of the experience; typically there are plenty of people who will be more than happy to help you do that, providing you are prepared to really immerse yourself.
Written by Julie O'Neill
I’m sure you’re great at recruiting for your own industry sector, but are you sure that you understand the dynamics of when recruiters are recruiting you?
This level of introspection is crucial when you are looking to move on in your recruitment career, but it surprises me how unprepared many recruiters actually are when it comes to searching for their next roles. If they could interview themselves, many recruiters may well be concerned at what they hear.
Much of this is the common-sense advice that they give to their own candidates, which they somehow fail to heed for themselves. When they turn up for an interview at a prospective client, they feel like “one of the gang” and this relaxed attitude sometimes proves costly.
They might sit on the phone with a candidate in their reception area, but doing so while they are waiting for their own job interview is very bad form. The basics of chatting with the PA, accepting a drink if it is offered and mirroring the behaviour of the interviewers is crucial, but I have even heard of recruiters going to an interview and leaving their coats on because it was cold in the room. They are not in charge of the dynamics anymore – they have to seek to fit in.
Some recruiters feel that they can let their billings speak for themselves. They walk into the room, mention that they brought in a huge sum last year and then sit back and wait for a pat on the back. Trust me, this is a mistake. The best recruitment companies are looking for people with business acumen as well as a deep understanding of their industry sector. That is the only way that recruiters will continue to differentiate themselves from the threat of technology. Have a few case studies in your head and get ready to showcase how you got to those fantastic numbers.
There is also a psychological aspect to the recruiter interview. Recruiters are used to controlling the conversation, but when they are being interviewed, it is worth taking a few deep breaths and waiting to be led rather than leading. You potential employers will have their own agenda, so rather than led them through how brilliant you are, let them ask the questions that are relevant to them. They know a good recruiter when they see one.
Another common issue is being as assertive in a salary negotiation with a potential employer as you would be with one of your clients. Persuading a client about the merits of a candidate is very different to persuading a future employer that you are worth a 20% pay rise. By all means, sell yourself at interview, but let them tell you what they think you are worth. Being motivated by money is fine, but if you are seen as unrealistically obsessed by the financial side of things, future employers will see problems on the horizon.
Strange that it might sound, it is almost worth looking at yourself in the mirror before any interviews and asking yourself some difficult questions. How will the answers sound to an interviewer? Do they reflect who you are? Are you able to tell your story in an authentic way? And, the most important question…. Would you give yourself the job?
Written by Julie O'Neill
Last Friday the McCall Norris team enjoyed catching up for a drink at Opera Bar with their recent McCall Norris expat placements. Great to see everyone!
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