On a daily basis, as someone who is at the helm of an IT recruitment agency, it is satisfying to see how we help candidates find their dream job or at least …. better than their current one.
Today, however, I would like to help those in HR who are forced to seek new career challenges due to the current economic crisis. I have seen many comments like “what kind of HR professional is struggling to find a job”. There may be a grain of truth in this, but let us remember that the best cobbler walks in a hole in his shoe.
So what steps would I take if I were forced to look for work?
Here is my list:
1. IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS CARD
This is your profile on LinkedIn or Goldenline, and sometimes even Facebook. The best thing to do is to ask someone close to you for an honest, critical assessment. You might be surprised.
Another business card is your CV. Unfortunately, all too often individual CVs do not differ in terms of content from other applications, i.e. sentences are typical, repetitive, matching dozens of people in the same position. Sometimes there are spelling mistakes which often disqualify an application.
Do you have a professional photo?
Additionally, pay attention to your Facebook profile. Isn’t there any controversial content like “Nobles don’t work”? Yes, we once had a candidate like that.
If you are wondering how to polish your profile on LinkedIn, I invite you to read Kasi Tang’s article.
2. STAND OUT FROM THE FIRST CONTACT
If you find an interesting job advertisement, use your creativity at the first contact. I’m thinking of the text field next to the application for the position, where the CV is attached. Most often I read: “in response to your advertisement posted on the portal XYZ I would like to apply for the position of ABC”. Self-written sentences are in the minority, and they are the ones that can make you stand out.
Some people write something like “I would like to further develop myself in this direction, gain skills in your company”. Unfortunately, this is too much and a common generalization. The question is, what are you able to offer a future employer, and what makes you stand out from other candidates?
3. BE LIKE A GOLD DIGGER
Where there is an advert published, there is a lot of competition. You’re a recruiter, you certainly know how to reach out to good, passive candidates. You need to do the same now with an employer. Write to a potential supervisor, such as the HR Director. Think about it and tell them why you would like to work in this company or for this boss (maybe you have read their article, interview?). C-Level people rarely receive CVs directly from candidates. Most often they are already heavily filtered. Your candidacy may get lost in the maze of other, equally good CVs. However, if you use a creative but unobtrusive approach, you will be one of the very few people, perhaps even the only one, who has taken this step! Risky? Well, in my opinion, in this day and age, getting out of your comfort zone and repeating patterns is the best solution. But everything is within the limits of good taste.
4. GET TO KNOW THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
What is the key to a successful recruitment interview? Preparation. Just that and so much more. Look up the most common recurring interview questions on a search engine. Think thoroughly about the answers to the most popular ones. You can answer any other question from the list by modifying your answers to the previous questions. In this way, you will be prepared for 90% of possible questions.
In interviews, the impression you make is very important. It’s much easier to smile, have an open attitude or look straight in the eye when you’re confident and less stressed. And this can be reduced with good preparation.
5. PREPARE IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
If English is not your strong point, you obviously won’t drastically improve your pronunciation, vocabulary, or grammar skills in the short term. But you can speak more fluently, which is something. Think about the answers to the most common questions in English. If you’re afraid you won’t know what the answer is during an interview due to stress, memorize them. This is according to a certain Callan’s method and it just works. Also, try to speak and think in the language as much as possible every day before the interview. I like coffee. This coffee wakes me up. I drink coffee every day. In the long run, talking to yourself can make you crazy, but I guarantee you it will help.
6. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
You will get better with each interview. But you will see progress provided you analyze your meetings, i.e. what went well and what didn’t. As a student in probably 4th year at SGH, I dreamed of working for a Big Four company. One part of the lengthy recruitment process for each of these companies was a logic and analysis test. It was quite difficult and the pass rate was around 20%. In the first company I managed to pass, but the result was quite average. In the second company (about a week later) I was already about halfway through the ranking of those who passed. In the third company, I was quite confident, but I also changed my tactics in solving the tasks, and …. the result was stunning – I was in the top 2% of people in the whole country. In the month or so that separated the first test from the last, I practiced the skill of passing such tests. Eventually, I got a job at BMW, something I had dreamed of since I was a kid.
It is a good idea to ask someone close to you to practice simulated recruitment interviews with you.
7. DO NOT EXPECT QUICK RESULTS
Someone once said that looking for employment, is a full-time job, and even harder than the job itself. Yes, it is a grind at times. The higher the position, the harder it is to find a job. At the end of the day, the decision may be negative because someone is marginally better/cheaper/more likable/better team fit/available on shorter notice etc. If there are 50 applicants for a position and there is one vacancy, then everyone has a 2% chance (more or less). Therefore, don’t be discouraged by temporary failures, but consistently, every day just do your job, follow your plan. You will see, you will succeed. Have faith.
I am sure the above tips will help you find employment. However, if you have been fruitlessly looking for a job for a long time, then email me 📩 firstname.lastname@example.org
I might be able to help you in some way.
Keeping my fingers crossed!