According to research carried out by international organisations such as Manpower and Deloitte, there are many indications that after a period of cautiousness brought about by stringent economic times, a high percentage of employees will now be open to new job opportunities. The numbers range from 66% – 84%, but whichever one you take, they are pretty high.
The recent recession made those that were fortunate enough to have survived a dramatic downturn, risk averse. The old mantra of ” last in, first out ” played loudly in their ears. Now, with small signs of recovery people are lifting their heads above the parapet to step down and are willing to dip a toe gently into the job search water. In the executive search sector we call this category of candidate, “passive candidates”.
This doesn’t mean to say they are “passive ” people. It’s a generic term used to describe job seekers who are in employment, but who are not necessarily actively sending out their resumes , or are advertising themselves on job boards. For many companies, for reasons I sometimes struggle to understand, passive candidates are considered to be more highly desirable prospects. This is why the catch phrase “it’s easier to get a job while in a job“, is so popular and proved a huge frustration to job seekers during the recession, when many good people lost their jobs and were actively looking for employment.
However, there is huge mileage into having carried out some self assessment, coming up with a career strategy and creating a plan to achieve that. Candidates might not be sending out CVs blindly, but there are certainly some very strong smoke signals in the air, with active self promotion going on and the raising of visibility to the right people. This doesn’t necessarily detract from being open to unforseen possibilities or suggest lack of focus. For the first time in several years candidates have choice and there is no problem saying that. As someone who makes those calls to candidates every day, very often the opportunity I present may not have occurred to the potential candidate. But receiving that straightforward, time-saving communication of “Thanks, but your opportunity is not in line with my current career plans. Let’s stay in touch.” is also quite acceptable.
With this upturn, executive search specialists, passive candidates and hiring managers alike should find themselves in stronger positions. But all parties are going to have to up their games , as the sheer volume of possibilities kicks in. For passive candidates this is a critical time as we move towards a reputation economy, where everyone can be researched online.
– Make sure your online presence is precise and of high quality content to guarantee that key word searches are accurate. Otherwise you will find yourselves being approached for the wrong type of searches, which will eventually become irritating.
– No online presence could mean no contact unless you have a very strong actual network.
– If you are not open to job opportunities currently, close that option on your LinkedIn profile. This should deter all but the crassest of recruiters.
– If you are, contact details should be easy to find. Search consultants for the first time in years have a wide choice and if you are hard to reach, they will move on to the next candidate.
– Make sure all your networking is strategic and you are connecting with hiring decision makers in targeted and researched companies. The right opportunity could be around the corner.
– Have a polished up to date CV ready to send out at the push of a button. Hiring companies and search consultants no longer have to chase anyone too hard.
It’s great to feel the stirrings of a recovery! Let’s hope it continues!