Are You … Tainted?

One of my CFO clients called me yesterday to get my thoughts on a conversation he had with a recruiter in New York earlier this week. The recruiter told him, “if you don’t find a position by June (which would be 6 months after he worked himself out of a job), you’re basically tainted and no recruiter will work with you after that.”

Ouch! It is a cold, cruel world out there … particularly in the shark infested waters of job searching.

First, there are some recruiters who feel that way. Not all. However, the reality is … as I’ve said numerous times … companies don’t, as a rule, pay recruiters to find unemployed candidates.

Second, “why” you’re unemployed is important. There is a difference between losing a job and working yourself out of a job, so your story is important. Third party recommendations on Linked In from your most recent employer and letters of recommendation can certainly help your cause. So can a strong visible and credible digital footprint … do the people who need to know about you actually know about you?

Third, there is no question that once you walk out the door for the final time, even with a big severance package and everything else being exactly the same (talents, contributions, skills, etc.), your marketability takes a huge hit. If you’re unemployed, your challenge to win those competitive opportunities is infinitely more difficult. High-value targets are passive, socially well-connected, and credible. 

If you’re unemployed and looking … and not getting the results you want … get some help. Chances are extremely good that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. And, at least according to this recruiter, a long and protracted job search will only further hurt your chances.

If you are currently employed, now is the time to begin planning for your next move. You are, after all, only and always, between searches. You can do it the hard way or the easier way. It’s your choice. 

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!