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Ask James Caan – Issue 87

Written by Kimberley Startup | March 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Searching for a job onlineDear Member,

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for the webrecruit team. Not only is the group fast approaching 75,000 members, but we’ve been working on many initiatives aimed at helping jobseekers that we shall be rolling out very soon.

As a result, we have had many interesting conversations with candidates to find out what it is they are looking for, and what their current frustrations are. One of the main themes is still the lack of communication between candidates and recruiters/hiring managers.

This topic leads me onto a letter from Stuart, a health & safety manager who was recently made redundant. He has been told the best way forward is to sign up to job agencies, but unfortunately is not receiving the outcome or the communication he was hoping for.

He writes:

‘I have signed up with a few agencies and I’m baffled why I have to keep chasing them to see what is happening. When you first sign up you hear “we have the job for you, you’re just what the clients looking for” you then hear nothing. 

‘Do you have any tips on how to tackle the job market as this is a new experience to me as I have been lucky to have had work since school’. 

Unfortunately, Stuart, the issue of recruitment agencies and communication is an ongoing debate – one that I have touched upon many times. Finding a job in this economy is difficult enough, and it is extremely disheartening to hear jobseekers’ increasing frustration with a lack of feedback/confirmation when applying for a vacancy.

Recruitment is a people business, and to be successful, every consultant knows building relationships is key. After all, today’s candidate could be tomorrow’s client. And so strengthening these relationships should be a top priority.

If you haven’t needed to apply for a role since you were at school, you will have seen the job searching landscape is different. Today, the majority of recruitment activity is online. Applying for a role takes minutes, platforms such as LinkedIn are adding new ways to connect with employers, and technology has enabled candidates to apply for jobs virtually anywhere in the world.

As a result, the recruiter’s workload has increased significantly and the volume of applications they deal with is greater than ever before. And whilst this is no excuse for the lack of communication, it should, hopefully, give you an insight into how things have changed.

Moving forward, you need to identify how to use the current market to your advantage to find the job you really want. You need to find a way to market your skills and find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.

I’d suggest creating a job seeking plan – one that utilises a complementary set of research tools that is suited to the health and safety market. For example, use LinkedIn to follow companies you’d like to work for, find out about the job boards catering to this industry, and most importantly – network, network, network.

Exploit the opportunities LinkedIn can present. As the largest professional social network online today, there is no other site in which you have a greater chance of being able to interact with influential decision makers. Build up a network of professional contacts, comment within discussions and let people know you’re looking for a job.

Online activity is crucial in today’s job searching efforts, but I also think you need to look at what you’re doing offline. I found one of the best ways to find a job is through a combination of networking and direct contact, so get in touch with friends, family and former employers and let them know you’re looking.

The landscape has changed, competition is fierce – but it’s how you react to these changes and identify your own opportunities that will ultimately set you apart.



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