While I worked as a headhunter for more than 40 years, I quickly learned that advertising to fill jobs had severe limits in being effective. Too many useless resumes that in no way, shape or form fit positions I was recruiting for from needy people who seriously believed that their -3-month training course in some skill made them qualified to manage people and projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. I soon learned networking, although harder for reasons I won’t go into now, was a far superior way to find talent my clients wanted to hire.
When I worked as a headhunter, I filled more than 1200 positions plus consulting assignments and evaluated more than 700,000 resumes plus had conversations with many more whose resumes I never saw.
Now, as an executive job search and leadership coach who hosts two podcasts, “Job Search Radio” which has more than 200 episodes and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio” which has more than 600, I see people making the same tragic mistake too many contingency recruiters make—they do very little networking. They apply to job ads or contact contingency recruiters whose ads they see. They refuse to do “the hard work” of networking that actually gets the best results.
Here’s why you should network.
- Job Search Networking works. Depending upon which survey you read, job boards are responsible for filling 6% of all positions. Recruiters fill approximately 22% of all jobs. Let’s round that up to 30%. How will the rest filled? Networking is responsible for filling 70% of all positions. That is because
- Not all jobs are advertised on job boards or being represented by recruiters. I am sure intellectually you know this, but most job hunters don’t act as though they believe it.
- Your network knows people you don’t. The statistics are that 70% of all positions are filled as a result of networking. 70% or the 70% (or 49% of the jobs) are filled as a result of referrals to people you did not know when your job search began. That was a stunning statistic I learned during an interview with Dave Opton who founded Execunet in 1988.
- Job search networking is a career investment that pays dividends. When you lurch from job search to job search acting as though each job search is a discrete effort of answering ads and contacting recruiters, you are “banking” nothing for the rainy day when you need support. Networking and continuing to network between job search is an investment in your career that can reward you with opportunities that you would otherwise miss out on.
- The firms that advertise, both corporate and 3rd party, offer the low hanging fruit. That means that the other firms reflect “the hidden job market.” There is no obvious way to access it without “the key.” That key is building a network where people know, like and trust one another and are willing to support one another, not just simply while job hunting but when they are not job hunting. Job search networking provides the key.
While you are job hunting, talk to people you know and ask for introductions to people they know and you don’t. It may be the launching pad for finding this job and many in the future.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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