Headhunters : Here's 10 Smart Ways to Get Noticed
by Mac Mackay
In today’s climate for legal practice it is not enough to keep your head down and achieve excellent results. Suppose you realise a colleague, who you feel isn’t working as hard, has just landed ‘your’ perfect job – unadvertised – so what do you do? Here’s my ‘top-ten’ tips for getting noticed:
1. Know the Market
Recognise that ‘recruitment’ and ‘search’ are fundamentally different.
Recruitment is for jobs that are often advertised with the recruitment agency working on behalf of the candidate and only getting paid when they place someone. That said, do remember many jobs never get advertised as that costs money.
Search is driven by client (recruiter) relationships where the aim is to find the best talent available – even if they are not looking. Head-hunters are seldom briefed for the more modest jobs so depending on what you are looking for it may not be worth pursuing them.
2. Get beyond performance
Naturally enough, you have got to perform well. That just gets you into the market place. To get ahead of the pack you will need to look at how you go about it; your values, integrity, honesty, and how you develop both business and the people around you. Your future employer is going to be interested in all these things.
3. No shrinking violets, please
While the next obvious step is to get yourself on to the appropriate head-hunters’ database, ones that work in your sector, note that they will receive thousands of CV’s a week – particularly at this time as the legal market is being shaken up. While it is not the only place they look, it is one of the first.
So, two things – first, be absolutely clear about what sort of job you’re looking for (vague ‘any job in litigation will do’ smacks of desperation) and secondly, make sure your CV stands out by qualifying your achievements. There are specialist CV guides around and people that can appraise your first draft.
4. Get noticed
Being quoted in the media, presenting at conferences, and adding value to LinkedIn interest groups debate all help – perhaps even a blog. However, beware. Your activity here needs to be very selective as too much exposure may suggest you don’t spend enough time on the day job. As with so many things in business, recommendations are very powerful so work on that, too.
5. How to get recommended
Workout who the head-hunters listen to – so who in your firm is on their radar? Now, if these people are smart, they will not be sharing their job search at the water cooler. However, marketing yourself internally in your firm will be a key driver of recommendations. This goes back to point 2. Agencies often get recommendations or seek referrals from people who have worked with someone previously.
6. Improve your on-line persona
Having a good profile on sites such as LinkedIn fills an essential purpose. Make sure you don’t limit yourself to what you have done but work on defining what you have achieved. Also make sure you list either a non-work e-mail contact or ensure communications from LinkedIn don’t come into your work in-box. As for Twitter and Facebook, need I say more?
7. Get to know them
Even if you are not looking just now, get to know key people in the agencies. You can let them know when you are. And take it from someone that suffered three consecutive (and unexpected) redundancies from industry in the late 1980’s /early 1990’s, it is so important to have contingency plans in place.
8. Honesty is the best policy
Try to blag your way through an interview with an experienced person is a recipe for disaster. And what comes around will go around so your reputation in the market place will be tarnished. It is important to look to get some mock interview experience as it might be a while since you were interviewed by a specialist recruiter. So, don’t oversell yourself or project an image of the person you think they are looking for – that image is likely to be transparent.
9. Do say…
“I have a few suggestions for that role, why don’t you take my details?”
10. Don’t say…
To, “And where do you see yourself in five years’ time…?” “Where you’re sitting, baldy…”