Think Like a Recruiter

I had lunch with Doug Franklin, a local recruiter, last week. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love getting into the minds of recruiters … how do they think, what makes them tick, and more importantly, how do the operate. Doug is a class act and was a wealth of information as he generously allowed me to pick his brain. Here’s some of what we discussed.

Since I work with CFOs, many of whom have been reticent to adopt social media … particularly anything outside of Linked In, I asked specifically about his recruiting methods and those of his colleagues.  Doug’s primary direct sourcing strategy is Linked In. His colleagues use Linked In AND other social media websites as their primary strategies to direct source candidates. (Notice the absence of job boards?)

That led to our discussion around passive versus unemployed candidates. Doug has been unemployed in the past and has a compassionate side for those who find themselves in that situation. However, here’s what he said …

Clients don’t pay us to present candidates they themselves can find in job board databases.

WOW! If there was ever a compelling reason for executives to create and execute a career survival plan that includes fully embracing the power of building a visible online presence, that statement is it. Doug went on to say that he will sometimes include unemployed candidates as part of his slate of candidates, but never more than 25% because … that is not who clients are paying him to find.

Candidates have the most power when they are inside looking out. While nothing changes about a candidate’s skill set, experience, or record of contributions once he’s on the outside looking in with a big severance package in his pocket; the reality is, his marketability still takes a huge hit.

With the slow down of hiring, and according to Doug excruciatingly slow hiring decisions  as companies are willing to wait for the “right” candidate not just “a” candidate, executing a career survival plan on an ongoing basis and long before you need it, is critical to securing positioning as that “valuable” passive candidate that companies want and are willing to pay recruiters big bucks to get.

In my next post, I'll be providing my thoughts on why CFOs should embrace a social media strategy beyond Linked In … and including Facebook.

A Resume is Only the Gift Wrapping

Almost every CFO or finance executive who calls me does so because they “want” a resume, a professional–looking document that will win them their next job. Were it only that easy. The truth is, a resume is only the gift wrapping. 

What a serious, compelling candidate really “needs” is a clear understanding of his value in the marketplace and the ability to articulate that value to the right target audience. And that takes great effort, motivation, and determination.

CFOs Paring Payrolls

Cold Cuts posted at addresses the need for CFOs to cut payrolls … in every manner possible. At least the beginning of 2009 is going to be bumpy for a lot of people.

What was interesting to me was this statement at the end of the article …

Is there any bright spot to be found amid all this gloom? Yes, and it appears to be shining directly on CFOs: most respondents said they expect executive management to feel little or no impact from the coming cuts.

The very people surveyed feel their positions are not in jeopardy. Might I suggest they hold that belief at their own peril? Every executive is safe only as long as he is meeting projections. The moment he doesn’t, he is as vulnerable as everyone else.

At the risk of sounding redundant, you are the most valuable as a prospective candidate while employed. It behooves you, while you are feeling secure, to position yourself from one of power and proactivity rather then being forced to react to a situation over which you no longer have any control.

Once you lose your position, even with a big fat severance package in hand, your marketability will take a hit, it will take longer then you can imagine to get that next position, and your ego and confidence will be greatly tested along the way.

Leverage the power of being an employed, accomplished, and contributing executive now, while you still can.

Now is not the time to be an ostrich!

In popular mythology, the ostrich is famous for hiding its head in the sand at the first sign of danger. With nothing but bad news for the past several weeks, it feels like dangerous times … particularly where job–security and finances are concerned.

In such scary times, paralysis can set in … and I’m hoping you won’t get caught with your head in the sand!

Last week I spoke with the Vice President of a privately–held bank in New York City, where she spent the last 20 years … up until a month ago when she was let go, told to pack up her things, and then escorted to the door. Kicked to the curb without so much as an explanation and without any advance warning. She is grieving a devastating loss on so many levels, one of which is her identity as an independent single woman. Imagine the identity crisis when you are a man supporting a family, and you find yourself in similar shoes.

Your marketability is never higher than when you are employed and open to hearing about new opportunities (a passive candidate); bring a solid record of accomplishments; backed by a visible and credible, online presence.

If you aren’t 100% positive you will have your job tomorrow, today is a great day to figure out why someone else would want to hire you and then diligently put that message out to your target market.