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There comes a time in the career of many professionals when the next career step could be found by using a recruiter, or if senior enough, an executive head-hunter. So, how can you get their attention?
One of the most effective ways of being recognised and identified as a talent, is to participate actively in dialogue within your field/industry. Speaking at industry events or conferences, having articles published or being quoted in relevant articles will all increase your visibility.
It might sound obvious but the more successful you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be approached by a recruitment consultancy. People who stand out (in a good way) are easier to find. Unfortunately, viewing yourself as successful is not quite enough. What matters is what other people think of you.
Are there enough people out there who will recommend you and suggest your name if they are asked their opinion? If there are, ask them to add a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. People (and recruiters) will notice.
Although the cultural fit between an individual and a potential employer will be a crucial element of the recruitment decision, most search consultants will be seeking individuals with specific skills and experience.
If you’re acknowledged as being an expert or specialist, you have a greater chance of being identified.
Many people talk about networking, fewer actually do anything about it. Networking effectively amongst your peer group and across your industry is a powerful way to increase your chances of being noticed.
Make an effort to stay in touch with talented and well-connected colleagues and reach out to other people who you know are figureheads within your marketplace.
The most successful networkers invest in their professional relationships consistently and over the long term.
This type of behaviour is far more genuine and more likely to reward you than the ‘suddenly enthusiastic’ networking that people often end up trying when they need a job.
LinkedIn, other social networking sites and search engines have changed some elements of the high-level search process. Whilst the traditional approach still remains valid, most researchers will also use online tools as part of their ‘long-list’ building process. As a result, it is advisable to build yourself a compelling social media profile.
Ensure also, that any of your articles, industry comments and/or PR is visible online.
Genuine search campaigns are intended to find the best possible talent for a specific role and then persuade the most appropriate individuals to consider the role. Whether or not an individual is actively seeking to change jobs is normally irrelevant. The norm is for the consultant/researcher to call you and this partly explains why you might not find it easy to get in touch with them.
One of the easiest ways of developing a relationship is to use them to recruit for you. The strongest professional relationships are often those that are truly beneficial to both parties. If you have discovered a search firm relevant for your own career development, contact them when you are hiring.
Conflicts of interest and ‘off limits’ protocols are taken very seriously by professional search firms and this does limit some of the effectiveness of this approach. Nevertheless, if you are keen to invest in long term relationships, this approach is often successful.
For most people, the answer to this question is both, but not always at the same time. Professional search consultants frequently end up placing people that they have met as clients and also work for clients they first meet as candidates. It is worth remembering that a talented recruiter may well be able to help your career as well as helping you find talent for your organisation.
Take a long-term approach to building strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with colleagues and key recruiters. Try to be visible and ensure that your key skills and achievements are in the public domain.