Passive Job Seeker? Aren’t we all?

How to ensure you don’t miss the unmissable whilst remaining passive.

How are things going with your career? How do you feel about your current employer and the prospects there for you?

You may well be like the majority of people, relatively content. You may be curious to know what is out there, but you certainly don’t want to flag up to recruiters, other firms or your own employer that you are considering your options.

However, once in a while you get the itch to know if there is something better paid, with more support, based closer to home, in a business that you can see a genuine long term future with etc.

So how do you go about becoming a successful, passive job seeker? Being passive means being aware of what is available with minimal effort / time spent and there are ways to do this and ways not to.

I was inspired to write this blog after reviewing the placements I made during 2015. I have been recruiting into accountancy firms for 16 years, mostly in the East Midlands. Job seekers / applicants are a mix of new contacts, referrals and people I have helped before who return to me for their next role. It’s natural to assume, as I did, that most of my placements fall into those 3 categories. After review of my activity in 2015 however, I realised that a surprisingly high proportion fall into a 4th category of being passive job seekers. This means people, who have made contact with me to register their interest but very much on the basis that only a certain type of role would be worth their attention. Some of the people who I placed in 2015 have been on my “radar” for up to 12 years. They have got the right job with minimum disruption to their life by being an effective passive job seeker.

So how do you do this?

Most people’s first move will be to passively peruse the internet when considering their options.

However, the internet comes with multiple potential pitfalls to a passive job seeker. If you have to register or log in to anything, you are likely to be opening up your details to businesses who pay to access that service and want to contact you. Worryingly, many of those are not specialists, are not based locally to you and are on full “sell” mode. If you log into one of the well-known job sites and upload your contact details / CV, this can often go to multiple recruiters who will try to contact you ASAP.

The reason you are passively job seeking is that nothing is critically wrong with your current employment. The internet is therefore not necessarily going to show you job adverts that really catch your interest. In the current market, with high numbers of jobs, only the most obvious and pressing jobs are advertised. As a passive job seeker, you are seeking the “right” job, one which is as close as possible to being bespoke to you. These types of jobs are hugely unlikely to be advertised to the general public. So how do you job seek and remain a passive job seeker?

My suggestion is that we all need to remove ourselves temporarily from the digital, on-line world we have all become accustomed to. One where we look first to the internet for an impersonal answer to the deeply personal question of whether there is a better job for you? Start to find the answer to that question by contacting a human being and do your best to ensure they are the right one. Use your network, ask friends in your industry for their recommendations, look at which recruiter the jobs that catch your interest on line are with or compare contacts on linkedin to decide which recruiter to speak to. In this case, that should be an experienced recruitment consultant who can talk to you and then advise accordingly. A recruiter who has clearly invested time in their market will always be more interested in reputation than a quick fee from your placement.

You don’t need to do a lot to get some really valuable advice. You do not have to prepare a CV before picking up the phone, you do not have to go to a face to face meeting shortly after and you do not have to fill in an application form. Talk to a reputable recruiter, tell them your story and let them summarise the market and within one conversation you can start to answer some of your questions.

You may be surprised to learn that most employers also have a constant, passive search going on for the right employees but just like you, they won’t advertise this, tell the world or brief multiple recruitment agencies. Like you, employers will tell their story to an intermediary who they trust, someone who can keep an eye on the applicant market in the same way that you want your advisor to keep an eye on the jobs market.

This unspoken, mysterious world is actually incredibly simple when the two sides are put together by a knowledgeable intermediary. The best applicants are not always job seeking and the best jobs are not always advertised.

An experienced recruitment consultant will recall the conversations they have had with both sides and match the two. The right job for both employer and applicant can then be carved out through discussions and a genuinely bespoke and personal solution reached.

A knowledgeable recruiter will probe and test the firms who they think could suit you about whether they could accommodate someone with your skills, ambitions and salary and they can often do that without naming you or your firm. This gives you a constant “window” on the jobs market, ensuring you hear about only relevant opportunities and allowing you to essentially forget about job seeking in the times between.

The business world in the UK is currently hampered by a real lack of experienced talent, meaning employers are far more likely than at any time I can recall of creating a job which suits the right person for them. In this moment, and while conditions like this exist, you are much more likely to get a bespoke job to suit your bespoke requirements, but you will not achieve that with a generalist approach. Talk to a specialist, get them to test the market for you and at the least you will become educated about whether there is something better for you out there.

Greg Emmerson

Blusource – East Midlands

07901 640045 / [email protected]

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