After perusing several articles today, I was struck by the fact that several methods recruiters use to increase their success would work just as well for job seekers. Here are some of the methods I discovered that could be put to good use by savvy job seekers:
- Open House recruiting. If you receive an invite from a company you’re interested in, GO. This is a recent approach by companies to wade through the masses, but you’ll have the chance to wear that interviewing suit hanging in your closet and interact with hiring authorities directly. It’s important to also talk with other candidates, since you will be judged on your communication and team skills, whether you realize it or not. One of those new acquaintances might have a lead for you. You won’t be screened out without personal contact, and it might lead to someone who can be an ally for you into the company.
- Group interaction activities may be introduced. Think of it as speed-dating your future boss! Have your 1-minute pitch ready, and be prepared to observe those involved for insights into the company culture and interviewing styles. It’s also a good time to show teamwork and leadership skills on your part.
- Unexpected recruitment methods. Some companies are sending out employees to “scout out” the competition, or observe possible candidates in unusual places such as retail stores, malls, etc. Always have your business cards ready. If you’re engaged with someone who seems interested in your background, don’t hesitate to give out one.
- Attend non-job fair events. If you’re a member of various associations, go to the meetings, lunches, etc. If you attend unrelated association meetings, such as a non-profit fundraising event you support, school-related activities for you or children, you’re bound to meet others with job leads, connections, etc. If your city has fall festivals, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and other events, what better way to meet city officials and company business owners who support these activities? You may finally have that opportunity to meet the evasive company contact in a more relaxed setting who is covertly keeping an eye out for good talent, and it’s a less intimidating environment.
- Online communities. You may think it’s enough to put yourself on Facebook and LinkedIn, but look for the smaller interest groups and join them, or subgroups of the bigger area groups. And, it’s important to CONTRIBUTE to those groups, not just lurk. Get involved in discussions. That person you meet online who also has a ’69 Corvette may also know the company president you’ve been trying to contact. Don’t limit yourself to just business-related groups. A local job seeker recently told me that he’s found 3 jobs this way, by joining personal interest groups as well as professional ones.
- Considering past candidates. This probably works best if you’ve had a phone conversation or in-person interview but didn’t get the job. Check back with those individuals in a few weeks (3-6 is about right), letting them know if you’ve had additional experience/education since visiting with them, comment on an article on the company you just read, etc. Recently a job seeker told me that a hiring manager called him back a couple of weeks after filling his position to let him know that it was a tough decision and he really did like his background. That employer is saying, “Let’s keep in touch in case the other hire doesn’t work out,” or “There may be another position in the near future.” He or she may already be having second thoughts about the hired candidate, and you want to be ready to step back into the picture. But do this from a distance: check the company website for openings, news,etc. Stalking is never a good idea.
- Employee referrals. With the huge amount of job seekers and resumes to wade through, more companies are emphasizing and trusting employee referrals. This is where your online and networking connections can become good referrals as you get to know them. Many companies have actual referral bonus plans for their employees. You can learn about the corporate culture, attitudes, interviewing processes,etc., before interviewing. If you know someone who works for XYZ and you just submitted a resume for a particular opening, let them know. Even better, ask them before sending anything if it’s okay to use them as a referral. You might get pushed to the top of the pile and get that interview.
In today’s job market, more and more job seekers are finding jobs through non-traditional methods. Rather than being disappointed to hear someone else got the job, wouldn’t you rather be there first?