In a recent Gallup poll 40% of workers said their employer had frozen hiring and 33% said their employers had reduced hours. So, it may be that looking for your ‘dream job’ right now is not at the top of your agenda. Whilst the idea of entering the job arena right now is pretty daunting, it’s very tempting to keep or choose the job you can get.
Yet if your ambitions were already bubbling away before all of this, the experience may have made you even more determined to pursue your ideal job. The good news is that many companies are still hiring and there are actually several great reasons to think about a career move in 2020, including:
- Competitive advantage: the job hunting playground in highly skilled and specialist roles is actually a little quieter than normal. Putting yourself out there now could give you a head start and a competitive advantage once the economy bounces back.
- Quicker turnaround: In a hot market, the recruitment process can seem quite protracted, the good news is roles that are advertised will have been created out of necessity, need filling and now.
- Skill shortages: One of the most significant issues affecting recruitment in 2020 before CV19 was skill shortages. This won't change in a recession; critical skills are always highly sought after and hard to find.
Even if you’re scrolling job ads that don’t include the job you want and feeling deflated, chances are the job does exist, but it’s on the desk of a specialist recruiter. There are potential job roles with your dream employer that are not advertised because recruiters are proactively finding top talent for them behind the scenes. Not convinced? Over a million people were placed in a permanent role by an agency between 2018 and 2019. So, whether your previous experience was good or bad, recruiters can play an essential part in helping top talent manage their career path.
In this blog, we share some top tips on how you can get the most out of the relationship with your recruiter, so that you don’t have to settle for the job you can get in 2020, you can get the job you want.
What do recruiters do?
A good recruiter is a valuable extension of any HR team. In many cases, they’ve spent considerable time developing long term and meaningful relationships with their clients. They are a professional intermediary; they advise, prepare, and provide market intel to you and the hiring client. They use this to influence decisions and challenge where they can. Essentially, they do the groundwork allowing you to focus on research and prep. They should be professional and discreet. And you would be wise to treat them as you would any hiring manager. Harness this relationship, and they will be your greatest advocate throughout your career.
Find the right recruiter for the job you want
While there are no guarantees, finding the right recruiter is the best place to start your journey. Before you do that, it’s important to come with a clear view of what your dream job looks like. Think about what it is you want; do you want to develop a new skill set, enter a new industry, or a move up the management ladder. Even better, create a list of your dream employers or do some research on the type of job you want and what kind of experience they are after. If the job you want requires at least 2 years in a less senior position, make that your target stepping stone position and find a recruiter that can help you get it. Now that you have your list and a full picture of what your dream job looks like, you need to find a recruiter that specializes in those areas.
For example, at Boston Link we’re international recruiters that help executives move into management roles, and managers move into more senior roles across Finance, iGaming, Blockchain, Technology and Aviation sectors. There are also recruiters that specialize in senior management, HR, customer service, retail, and marketing, and some who offer career development programmes and CV consultancy services. A specialist recruiter will have a detailed understanding of their sector or job role niche, which means they’ll be able to offer expert counsel and have some potential employers in mind for you. Of course, recruiters are also looking for someone like you using platforms like LinkedIn, so in addition to finding the right recruiter, it's also essential to optimise your LinkedIn profile so that you will be found.
Get the most out of your recruiter meeting
Your first meeting with the recruiter is a fact-finding mission. To secure the job you want with a recruiter you need to treat this meeting as you would a job interview. Recruiters are your gateway to the job you want; remember they are championing more than a CV so it’s important to present the best version of you. The recruiter meeting is an opportunity to share what you feel most relevant, interesting, and of the highest value to your application.
Where previously you may have met face-to -face, now it’s likely to be a video call. While it’s probably safe to assume that you’re now a whizz on video chat, whether that’s zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype, which has become a huge part of our “new normal”. If you’re not, get familiar with the chosen platform for your meeting and have a practice with some friends to make sure there are no unexpected technical problems.
In advance of this meeting, you should also reflect on your achievements, and what it took to reach them. To help you get started, here are some questions you could ask yourself ahead of the meeting and discuss with your recruiter:
- Have you developed any projects, business concepts or ideas?
- Did you lead any projects?
- Did you manage a team?
- How did you overcome stakeholder objections?
- What did you learn from the project?
- How did you measure your success throughout the project?
- What was the long-term outcome?
- What did you learn from it, and how did it change the way you work?
When you answer these questions, remember that recruiters are not as interested in the outcome, as they are in how you achieved it. They have heard of the ‘work well in a team’ and ‘under pressure’ cliches, so keep things authentic and tell them a story. If you’re ringing a specialist recruiter with zero experience at all in your chosen career path, you may not get this first meeting. Don’t take it personally, most recruiters are not career coaches, so if you’re looking to make a significant change of direction without the skills to back it up, they can advise but they may not be able to help you achieve it. It may be better to focus on obtaining the skills through study or asking their advice on what you need to do to be able to get the job you want in the future. Chances are, they have a wealth of industry knowledge that they will be happy to share.
Be clear on your salary expectations early-on
Have a think about your salary expectations before you speak to a recruiter. Look at job boards, ask networking groups and review the salaries with large organisations that have salary bandings. We also have salary surveys on iGaming and finance.
Have the salary conversation during this first meeting, why? It’s better to have a discussion now than face disappointment later. It also means your recruiter understands your expectations and can let you know if they are realistic or they need to be adjusted along the way. Whatever you do, once you’ve found a recruiter you’re happy with, trust them. They will have several years of industry experience, and they will understand market conditions and salary trends.
Be available, be open and be flexible where possible
If you made it this far, the chances are you already have a clear idea of the job you want, which is great. Now, to get one step closer with the help of your recruiter, it’s important to be open-minded and flexible. Your recruiter may have a number of ideas on how you can get the job you want, whether it’s a first step into a new industry or a job move that will build on your skills and help bring that perfect job within reach. Once you’ve engaged a recruiter and they’re securing you interviews or offering proactive support on preparing you for application, be open and communicative. The hard truth is that a recruiter is much more likely to recommend applicants that they have a good rapport with. This means being available to talk when they call, being quick to reply to emails and doing your best to shift your schedule when they secure you an interview on Zoom or otherwise. And, whatever you do, don't back out of commitments once you have agreed to a client meeting, unless you absolutely have to. Life happens and your health is important too, so if your circumstances change, just talk to your recruiter, don't ghost them, and don't go off the grid.
If your recruiter has not been in touch for a while, give them a call to make sure you’re at the top of their list. This can be a hard one to balance, try not to be overzealous. A call every few weeks from you or the recruiter is about right. If your CV is shortlisted for a role, then your recruiter is likely to be on speed dial. If they continue to be evasive, just ask them why. It may be that they are not the right recruiter for you, or they are avoiding sharing some hard truths that you need to hear. Be brave and urge them to tell you, you need to hear it if you’re going to get closer to that dream job.
Take their advice and learn from interview feedback
Your CV is your chance to shine. Employers want to see where you have had a positive impact on a business and how you did it. Some recruiters will re-format your CV and write a summary to present with your application. Ask to see the summary; it may be useful to help build a personal statement on your LinkedIn profile or your CV. And, if it’s not offered right away, ask for their advice on the format and content of your CV.
If you make it to a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd interview and beyond you’ll be in the golden circle of applicants, probably 1 of 3 to 5 applicants that have made it this far. They are your advocate, as much as you are theirs. Before your interview, you can expect a thorough briefing from the recruiter. They will give you the background on the employers:
- Company values
It’s worth listening to your recruiter in advance of interviews, they will share insight and the experiences they have of the company. They may have negative feedback or be critical of you to help prepare you for the interview, listen. As they say, feedback is a gift, it can help you monitor your performance and increase your chances of a successful interview. Listening to feedback and taking action on advice from your recruiter will make all the difference, and will take you from the job you can get, to the job you want.
Swot up on your interview skills to make a good impression
For whatever reason, if ahead of or mid-way through the interview you’re not feeling it, you still need to be impressive that will leave a good impression with the employer. You can never over-prepare for an interview. Julian Perigo mentions "I advise bringing something to take notes on to the interview". There are so many great resources available, these interview tips from Indeed covers the basics well:
In summary, it’s important to:
- Research the company ahead of the interview
- Practice answering common interview questions
- Really get to know the job description
- Use the STAR method, telling stories when you answer questions
- Practice your interview skills with friends
- Prepare examples of success stories and projects
- Have some smart questions ready for them
- Wear an appropriate outfit for the job
- Be prompt and slightly early, but not too early!
- Practice body language, tone and remember to listen
- Be authentic and positive, make them feel good
- Be honest and avoid cliche answers to questions
- Practice speaking positively about ALL of your previous employers
Remember, whatever interview skills you pick up (even if you have to adapt them for a new video call environment), be authentic and honest as well as prepared to present the best you that you can be. That way, even if you don’t get that job, you’re in your recruiter’s good books. And, who knows? Maybe that same employer will open an even better role down the line or recommend you to someone else.
Ready to find the job you want?
Working with a recruiter doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get your dream job, but the experience itself will be valuable. Most importantly, specialist recruiters are much more likely to have relevant jobs that align with your aspirations and be able to get your CV in front of potential employers. Even if it doesn’t happen now, nurturing relationships with recruiters in the field you want to enter now, will likely pay off down the line.
At Boston Link we’re very passionate about developing talent and proactively helping applicants get the job they want, and currently have a number of positions available. You can check out our job listings now or find out how one of our featured job seekers found a job working from home during the pandemic.