Are You a Down-But-Not-Out Star?

According to Dr. John Sullivan, the definition of a down-but-not-out-star is this …

… you bring an exceptional record of performance and whatever bumped you from your perch is most likely only a short bump in the road. (Full article)

I was having the “passive candidate” conversation with another finance executive recruiter recently. His comments really resonated given the article by Dr. Sullivan. When asked whether he presents unemployed candidates to his client companies, he said yes … and why they are unemployed makes the big difference. Did they work themselves out of a job or were they terminated?

Working yourself out of a job could certainly define you as a down-but-not-out star. If that does define you, what are you doing to separate yourself from the non-star finance executive candidates competing for those same positions?

Unless you stand out from the crowd, you will blend in; and if you blend in, it’s unlikely your stardom will be shining through. 

A very accomplished CFO prospect contacted me yesterday. When I inquired what he had done in the three weeks he’s been unemployed and before contacting me, he said, among other things, posting his resume on all the public job boards. He has now blended in, commoditized himself, and made his search that much more difficult.

Step away from the job boards and do what your competition is NOT doing. If you have star power, even down-but-not-out star power, leverage it!

Recruiting Trends and Potential Candidates

Dr. John Sullivan authored the article “13 Trends In Corporate Recruiting for 2009.” He’s a smart guy and another thought leader in the world of recruiting … kind of the Faith Popcorn of recruiting.� When he speaks, I listen.

Here are a few of the trends he sees for the upcoming year, and my take on how they affect you as a passive candidate.

–Upgrading employment branding

According to John, employment branding is THE hottest trend right now and into the future. If it is hot for employers, it is also hot for candidates. What better way to show that you are a fit for a strong branded company then by positioning yourself to appeal directly to their message?

Differentiation is key to standing out from the crowd. A strong branded communication message will attract like brands and repel misfits, making finding that next right opportunity much easier and less time intensive.

–Reinvigorating referral programs

“… the highest volume and quality candidates still come from well-designed employee referral programs.”

Networking, BEFORE you need to network, is critical to rubbing elbows with employees who know about unpublished, quality opportunities. Spending 15 minutes a day cultivating and nurturing an online and offline network, building trust and helping others BEFORE you need to ask for their help, will go a long way towards keeping you top-of-mind for future opportunities.

–Utilizing social networks

Recruiting passive candidates from social networking sites is hot and will shortly become mainstream. Which means, you MUST be where recruiters are looking. If you aren’t on Linked In, Zoom Info, and Ziggs,�and you can’t be found in a Google search, you may be deemed to be extinct.

–Using employee blogs for recruiting

“The very best firms use blogs not just to spread their message but also to answer questions and to make their company appear more “real” and approachable.”

What better way to position yourself as a thought leader, visionary, or subject expert then through a blog read by your target audience? Companies are quickly waking up to the power of blogs … and even microblogs like Twitter … and they are just as powerful as part of a branded communication strategy for passive candidates.