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Recruiters: Networking our way to notability

By Katie Gerrard, Senior Consultant at I am recruiting

One of my favourite tasks is calling a candidate to let them know about their perfect job; the one which might just change their life. All that potential and possibility right there, and I’m the lucky person who gets to present that hope. Of course, I love that ‘you got the job offer’ call too, but there’s often so much riding on that for both client and candidate it just doesn’t compare.

What still surprises me, all these years on, is how so many candidates haven’t already seen the advert, after all it’s their perfect job. It’s been over a decade since I started recruiting and I’d say instead of adverts getting more coverage, they’re getting less. Employers often ask me where I’m advertising to bring in my candidates and the truth is I don’t really, and here’s why….


There’s just not enough time in the day
Firstly, the time is my own, there aren’t enough hours for me to go through and respond to all those eager applicants (and I do like to respond to as many as possible, after all until I’ve spoken to a candidate I don’t know enough about them to make a firm decision). Secondly, and most importantly, my best candidates don’t have time. They genuinely work hard, they’re thinking about their job during the day and doing a hundred other things in the evenings – networking, chilling, researching, dreaming about where they’d like to live and making it happen. The better a candidate’s skills and work ethic the less likely you are to find them trawling the jobs boards. Sure, when they register with me it takes a little time to tell me their hopes and dreams but it’s a better use of their time because then they get to rest. I do the advert search for them, and whilst it’s an additional chore for them, it’s an important and productive use of my time. Besides, all my best roles come straight to me (but that’s another story).


Too many options
Maybe I’m getting older and less tolerant these days, but I feel we have way too many options in all parts of our lives. I go to buy a dress and can have any cut, style, fabric, and colour I can imagine. But by the time I’ve looked through them all I really don’t want that dress anymore, I just want a coffee. That’s how job seeking can be. There are so many jobs boards to choose between, over a dozen just for my small chunk of the job market alone, and that’s before you even start scrolling through the opportunities. It’s too much, no wonder candidates just wait for the update emails to drop into their inbox (and let’s face it, we all just promise ourselves we’ll look at them properly…. later)


I didn’t know it existed
With all the job titles and niche environments in our sector it’s easy to look past a possibility which ticks all the boxes. Sometimes it’s because it’s been given a name the candidate didn’t expect it to, often it’s because it’s a sector or job move for them and they literally didn’t know those roles existed. That’s great for me as I get to really earn my payment fee and introduce a new way of thinking for both client and candidate. Applicants don’t usually find what they weren’t looking for and that’s where I come in. There’s only so much you can put into an advert; a conversation can give you so much more.


I looked at the job again and wasn’t sure it was right for me
On those rare occasions my potential applicant has seen the role they’ve often decided not to apply. Why? Well often they have a question or two in mind they need answering first. If I’ve qualified the job perfectly I’ll usually already know this answer. If it’s a question I hadn’t considered I know the employer well enough to go back and ask. Sometimes the reason is the salary range; the candidate needed £1000 or so more than the advert banding. Occasionally they just don’t know if they’re good enough or they need a little support putting the application form together. A supporting statement is a huge investment in time and candidates need to know they’re in with a good chance before they take it on.


So how do we find our candidates then, I hear you ask.
Well, often we just knew them already. We placed them five years ago and they stayed in touch, or we met them at a networking event and thought they were interesting. Often, we don’t find them, they find us. A colleague suggests they give us a call for example, or they found their last member of staff through our agency. When you place a job with I am recruiting your consultant is almost certainly already scrolling through their mental list of who they know already. If that fails we go and ask who we know who they know (and it’s fair to say we know a lot of people!) If a super candidate finds out about my opportunity too late I simply go out and find them another one just like it.


And that’s why in 2018 when I’m asked, ‘do we really still need to pay agencies when we have all this social media available to use for free?’ I say yes…. but only the good ones.


Recruiting or job-hunting within professional associations or not-for-profit organisations? We’ve advised thousands of clients and candidates over the years. You’re in safe hands with I am recruiting.

We are a specialist recruitment agency for professional bodies, membership associations and NFPs. We’ve had the pleasure of working in this sector for over a decade now and have built up an outstanding reputation in our field with unrivalled sector knowledge and access to the biggest network of candidates and clients.


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