I went to this networking event a few weeks ago featuring a good speaker named Andy Lopata. I hadn’t actually heard of him before but apparently he’s known as Mr Networker for those in the know. I liked what he went on about as it seemed very aligned my own thinking. The points outlined below…
Linkedin have offered premium accounts to the greater public for some time now, these have been popular with salespeople and others for years. Congratulations to all you job seekers out there, the time has cometh for to get your credit cards out.
Cashing in on job seekers
LinkedIn recently announced their new Job Seeker Premium Accounts, basically charging job seekers to use an enhanced version of LinkedIn. Have LinkedIn gone nasty and exploiting the people that need it most? Not really, they will still allow you to use it the basic version for free so no panic.
There is definitely an online trend to charge for services at the moment. LinkedIn are hopping on the same band wagon as The Ladders, CareerBuilder and other platforms aimed at job seekers. They have all noticed that there is no great shortage of cash out there, however definitely a shortage of jobs. This could very well be due to layoffs avec payoffs.
As long as the value you are getting from a paid account outweighs the cost, it could be worth considering paying a little to speed up your job search.
What are the benefits?
First off, you and your profile will be bumped up to the top of the pile when applying for a particular job. This is very much like a sponsored link on Google, your name will come up highlighted in the applicants list which is likely to get you some attention from the hiring manager (along with the other paying applicants of course).
You will also be able to send InMails straight to employers that aren’t in your network. This is particularly useful when you don’t have any contacts in common and it’s impossible to obtain emails for direct contact outside of LinkedIn.
On top of that, there’s the Profile Organizer feature which lets you track the contact you have with others, save favorites and even add your own notes to others profiles. A good old spreadsheet can probably do the same but this one is automated for you.
Finally, there are some webinars with Lindsey Pollak that act as video tutorials on how to use the new functions and how to search for jobs on Linkedin in general. Lindsey definitely knows her stuff so this could be useful.
What’s the damage?
Your brand new and shiny job seeker premium account comes in three versions; basic, job seeker and job seeker plus.
As you can tell from the image, they vary a bit on price, the only difference in service is the amount of ammunition you will have for each feature.
Basic: With this option you get five folders in your Profile Organizer and you get 100 profiles in your search results. You get 10 introductions to inside sources at companies.
Job Seeker: Here we get five InMails which you can use to contact any employer inside or outside your network. Your search results expand to 250 profiles, you get 10 folders for your Profile Organizer and you get 15 insider introductions.
Job Seeker Plus: The top of the line deal lets you send 10 InMails, 25 folders in your Profile Organizer and your search results of hiring mangers go up to 500 profiles.
Is it worth upgrading?
If you use LinkedIn daily and have hit a wall where you have run out of InMails, can’t seem to get yourself organized enough and think insider introductions will help you – go ahead and try it. As long as you get useful incremental results, stick with it until you get that new job. This is assuming that you have the money to spend, check your budget and ideally cut back on something else instead.
Personally I was never convinced of the ‘regular’ premium accounts, I can live through not having 500 people coming up in my search results (the more precise search, the better anyway). I don’t really see the need for InMails as I tend to get the proper emails of people, more often than not you can guess it.
I think it’s a shame there are no free trials for the job seeker premium account but I can understand why. Job seekers are not long-term customers for any business, as soon as they get a new job they no longer need the service. LinkedIn have decided to milk it from day one which is probably the right decision from a business perspective.
What do you think?
Do you use the premium account today and has it helped you at all? Are you going to try it out?
Being on Linkedin with your full professional profile including previous employments, buzz and keywords means you are likely to be found by people looking your skills. When I say people, nine times out of ten it will be a recruiter. In order for them to contact you over Linkedin, they will have to either send an InMail or get introduced by a third person. InMails are limited/costly and introductions take time, therefore the recruiter may just try to connect with you direct.
Sometimes you get a full introduction email stating why the person wants to link up with you. Sometimes you don’t at all, and you can only guess what the purpose is. Whatever the case may be, the big question is what to do with the invitation.
Should you accept?
The answer to this depends completely on your situation. If you are actively looking for a new position and everyone knows this, absolutely yes. If you are secretly looking for a new position and nobody knows about it, especially not your boss, the answer will be no.
Does accepting mean I am looking for a job?
Well, some people could interpret it that way. I would say it depends on the culture where you work. Some companies cultures are very open about people being headhunted, others are very secretive about it. If others are linking up to recruiters and get no grief for it, you will probably get away with it as well.
Even if you are working for a business where being headhunted is a taboo, there can of course be several legitimate reasons to linking up with a recruiter. You might be involved in internal recruitment for your business. You might have changed jobs recently and it’s only natural to link up to the recruiter. If this isn’t the case however, you linking to a recruiter will raise a few eyebrows. You linking up to five recruiters in one week will send a few warning signals to your manager.
But who will know?
By adding the recruiter to your network, you are telling the world that you are now linked up as it will appear on both your and the recruiter’s home feeds. All your connections will be able to see it and they will draw their own conclusions.
Can they now see my connection?
Depending on your privacy settings, the recruiter will be able to see your first connections.
Some recruiters will be very gentle about this and ask you for permission to speak to contacts of yours. Others will just go for it and call everyone up in an instant. By selecting “not allowed”, you stop anyone from browsing your connections. Be aware that they will still come up in searches, there is no stopping that.
Trick o’ the trade
Accept invitations in bundles. Let’s say you have received four invitations, by accepting them all at the same time they will come up on your feed together. You would hope that your manager and other folks are too busy to check up every person you link up to and therefore you might just get away with linking up to a recruiter.
Another way of doing it is the old bad-news-on-Facebook method; do it when you assume nobody will be seeing it. This could be a Saturday or even a Sunday night; people will hopefully have better things to do than trawling Linkedin at these times in the week.
As with all things on Linkedin and social media, be aware of the consequences of your actions. You are sharing your activities with the world so if you link up to recruiters, be prepared to answer questions.
Do you accept recruiter invitations? If you are a recruiter, do you send unsolicited invitations? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Hello Mark, can you please tell us what you recruit for and what geography you cover?
Wyatt & Jaffe works worldwide… Having done searches in Sweden, United Kingdom, India, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. And the US.
Functionally, just about everything…with an emphasis on high-impact and C-level roles. Industry-wise: Technology, Financial Services, Consumer and Retail.
Historically: Bank of America, GE Commercial Finance, Gateway, Ricoh, WaMu, Maxtor, First Data, CB Richard Ellis, Philips Semiconductor, Seagate.
What has been the key to your success?
Direct and honest communication. Trust created by saying and doing the truly difficult things, not just what gives everyone immediate pleasure. Understanding client needs and expanding on, rather than simply meeting, their stated objectives.
Why are some recruiters failing in this market?
Partly because they expect their clients to direct them. It’s like a physician asking the patient what drug to prescribe. Most search firms wind up behaving simply like vendors, not advisors.
And more importantly because, in my humble opinion, they take a sales approach to what is and should remain fundamentally a consulting business. Selling is advocating for me. Consulting is advocating for the client.
What are the trends you have spotted in your field?
In a troubled economy like this one, the best efforts of almost every search firm have been focused primarily on business development, marketing, packaging and promotion of their services. How would you like it if your attorney was too busy promoting his practice to give you reliable and expert representation?
Like anyone else in the profession, I’m also concerned about the commoditization of search. Treating the selection of key human capital as a mere business transaction doesn’t just damage our industry. It ultimately impacts the performance of corporations and the long-term effectiveness of their leaders.
Disintermediation is rampant now. Both CEOs and their HR chiefs would do well to “spare the consultant and spoil the executive team” by working with search principals directly, rather than through lower-level intermediaries. This is not simply a matter of personal taste or preference; it is critical to corporate health.
How much do you use social media to find clients and candidates?
We have also used a wide variety of digital and social media tools (in the old days it was called “research”) as a part of our overall process. But we have always believed, as we do now, that identifying candidates can only be done meaningfully within the context of a deep understanding of the client’s specific needs. There is no magic formula. Bottom line: If you’re the right person for one of our searches, we’ll find you whether you’re on LinkedIn or not.
How important are resumes and cover letters?
Resumes are terribly important. I can’t imagine a time when they won’t be.
Cover letters should be three things: short, concise and short (so important I mention it twice).
What are your best tips to jobseekers in a tough market?
Remember that it’s not you, it’s the economy. Try to stay calm. Take a deep breath and relax. Hyperventilating is never pretty, particularly during an interview. Prospective employers want Jason Bourne – not Jason Alexander. Show them you’re capable, confident and cool. No sobbing!
Work your contacts, but don’t work them over. Your network is a precious resource and should be treated as such. Now is the time to use it…but gently. Ask for a reference, not a job. When you don’t put your friends on the spot, they’re more inclined to help you.
Keep your wallet in your pocket. If someone offers to craft you a “killer resume”, put you in touch with the “hidden job market” or coach you to become a newer, more marketable you…just say “No.” Whether they’re asking for $3,000 or $300, it’s overpriced. Don’t take candy from strangers, either.
Are career coaches of any use to jobseekers?
Some people may benefit from the hand-holding, but I think that the fees they charge are outrageous and generally a very poor return on investment. When times get tough, the tough get pitched a bunch of crap.
Any other pearls of wisdom you would like to share?
Haven’t I already said too much?
Yes that is true. Thanks for your time Mark.
A 25-year veteran of executive search, Mark Jaffe has a reputation for seeing beyond the package and posture of highly accomplished business leaders. He is uncompromisingly direct and focused on his task – finding the perfect match for his client. Mark is one of the most frequently quoted talent brokers of the new economy and was named by BusinessWeek as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential Headhunters.
Wyatt & Jaffe, recognized as one of the 50 Leading Retained Search Firms in North America (Executive Recruiter News) and short-listed by the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruitment (IACPR) as one of the top ten, is known for engaging high-impact executive talent that the marketplace perceives as unattainable. Wyatt & Jaffe works with a select list of financial services, high technology and consumer companies worldwide. The firm was founded in 1988. More information about Wyatt & Jaffe can be found at: www.wyattjaffe.com
“Have a nice day”, I love New York Tee shirts, Canary Yellow Cabs, and Elevator pitches. Being a true Brit my instant feelings towards an elevator pitch is clear – a collision of Anglo-American culture that is hard for everyone in Britain to instantly align themselves with. Admittedly, the benefits that can come from a…
Networking and contacts have always been the key to success in any profession. Back in the day you would have your little black book of contacts that you would use throughout your career. Nowadays, it’s all gone digital and it’s easier to store contacts online for you, and it’s easier for your employer to snatch them when you leave.
Here’s a scenario for you: Your boss encourages you to sign up for a Linkedin profile which you start to actively use in your work as well as socially. The time comes when you and your company part ways for whatever reason. Your boss now says that the account that was set up belongs to the company and you have to give it up. Does it sound like an unlikely scenario? It has happened to lots of people out there and it will happen again.
Don’t let this happen to you
Even though the lines of demarcation between work and play can be grey in social media, most people simply assume they can bring their profiles with them to wherever they are heading. I happen to know a recruiter who left his company after about five years of service and was asked to give up his Linkedin and other accounts. He was having none of it and put up a fight which only lead to his former employer withholding the final commission payment. It was rather a lot of money so in the end he had no choice but to oblige. He had not seen this coming at all and was now left with the not so enviable task of having to start a Linkedin account completely from scratch; he went from about 5,000 connections to zero overnight.
This was obviously an unfortunate case but you can see why the employer did this. Recruiters rely heavily on Linkedin and the employer knows that the contacts will be used at the next company. Whether you will ever end up in a sticky situation like this is impossible to say. All we know is that you cannot assume anything in this job market. Even the safest job today can be outsourced tomorrow and your servers can be locked down over night, effectively leaving you without access to any online profile you have set up at work.
What I can say is that there are ways to prepare for any eventuality. Here are 5 few self preservation tips that can safeguard your online presence:
1. Check the intellectual property policies
Review your company’s electronic data, social media, online communications, email or whatever-they-call-it policy. Understand exactly what is the intellectual property of your employer and what is considered yours. If you think that your company’s policies are too strict, speak to your manager or HR department and see whether you can swing an opt-out clause. As long as you have a good case for it, they will hear you out.
2. What happened to leavers
Are there any precedents? See what happened to others that left your team or department, start by looking at their online profiles and it will be fairly evident what the procedure was. If there seem to be different policies for different people, ask yourself why. Could it have been because of the role, the relationship they had with the boss or just that things changed when they left? Do your best sleuthing so you can anticipate what would happen to you.
3. Set up duplicate profiles
To be on the safe side, you can open up duplicate accounts on Linkedin, Ecademy, Xing, Twitter etc and make it obvious that the new account is your personal and you will only use it in free time, if at all in the office. To make it abundantly clear it’s your profile only, you can leave out your current employer and just state what industry you are in. The duplicates have to be connected to your private email account by the way.
4. Facebook is under the radar
Facebook is considered private and not a business tool. This means it will not be brought up if you leave your company. By adding your key customers and partners as friends on Facebook, you know you will be able to contact them in case you lose all other means. Adding your current co-workers is also a good tip, as their numbers and emails will be on your company laptop/phone which have to be returned.
5. Use your webmail for personal correspondence
This can be a pain but you don’t want to lose all your emails from loved ones in case you are laid off. Try to separate business and personal correspondence, and tell your friends and family which accounts to use. It will take time to wean them off your company email but it will be worth it.
6. Use your own name for a blog
Instead of blogging for your company (let’s face it, nobody reads a corporate blog), start a blog in your own name or write for other blogs in your field. Make sure you write objective material and that it is not done on behalf of your employer. There is no way an employer can yank this off you as it carries your own name.
7. Back to basics
Networking thrived long before the digital age. How about getting yourself an old-school black book and writing down your contacts by hand? It’s what anyone with a job has been doing for donkey’s years and it will work for you as well.
Leaving a company shouldn’t mean you leave empty handed and without any contacts to help you and your career. The last thing you need when you leave a business is a divorce hearing to divvy up your digital estate. So make use of the tips above and think of your own solutions to safeguard your network just in case you are laid off or choose to move on in the future.
See more personal branding preparation tips here.
Would your employer let you go with all your contacts? Has this happened to you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Most people don’t realize that a recruiter is not actually working on behalf of them, they are working for their client. Recruiters are sales people and they achieve their targets by placing people in to jobs. Placing people means placing anyone, not you in particular – the commission check will look exactly the same no matter who gets placed.
Do they have mood swings?
One day your best friend, the next day they won’t speak to you. The recruiter can certainly seem like a great friend as long as you are what they are looking for and you are interested in changing jobs. If you are not right or you are not ready to move, you will experience not getting call backs and no email replies. Their interest in you dwindles very rapidly and your ‘friendship’ is out the window before you can spell the word fairweathered.
You gets what you pays for
You don’t pay for the service of being recruited and therefore you cannot expect the recruiter to be loyal to you. If you wanted an agent working on your behalf, the money would have to come out of your pocket – just like celebrities do it. You don’t pay a penny to get recruited, you are simply the product that gets delivered. The employer foots the entire bill so if anywhere, this is where the recruiter is friendly – to their client.
So they must be an evil bunch then?
Recruiters aren’t bad people (apart from the
Sales people in other industries are just the same, a car dealer has no time for a person that isn’t serious about buying a car. You will get a few brochures and they will swiftly move across the sales floor to hone in whoever is going to buy. The same thing goes for real estate agents, who you first have to convince you are serious about buying before they show you any houses. A lot of professions fall into this bracket, mainly because the commission structure really incentivizes closing a sale and not nurturing interest and new prospects.
So they aren’t loyal friends, what should I do?
Play the game just like they do. They aren’t loyal friends so you don’t have to either. Work with a number of recruiters, no one recruiter was ever going to have all good jobs to offer you. They will have each have signed agreements with a small number of clients that they work with. So by casting your net wider, you are helping yourself and your career. Don’t worry about letting anybody down, your career comes first.
But I have a great relationship with a recruiter
If you do have a good relationship with a recruiter, can you say why it’s good? I would venture to say that it is because you both bring something in to it. This can be the recruiter giving you heads up on new roles, and you giving the recruiter referrals, industry gossip and insider company information. You can have a fruitful relationship with a recruiter but only as long as you both have something to offer.
What do you think, do you have recruiter friends? Share your experiences in the comments.
Image by Lab2112
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