My last day of freedom…hello employment

It all began on November 19th when I found out that I was being made redundant.  It was 6 weeks later that I managed to secure a 3 to 6 month contract with a large global organisation in their internal recruitment team. It’s not a permanent role but I am thrilled as it’s a great organisation and it’s a start back to in-house recruitment.

How did I do it?

Through a friend I use to work with in Vancouver back in 1999, who now works for the organisation in the US.  She knew I was looking from my profile on LinkedIn, but I had also gotten in touch with her.  Their UK team were looking but weren’t actively advertising,  and so she put my CV forward.

I think this is a great example of how your network – no matter how old and from what country it is in, is crucial in today’s job search – whether permanent or contract. You have to think global and you have to think social!

Your network has now been made easier to leverage with tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. You can engage with people a lot more easily than you could 10 years a go, even a year a go.  When you mix this with other methods (talking to friends, colleagues and family) you use to use before these tools were around, you have an incredibly powerful search engine.

I am not convinced you can rely on social media purely just yet.  It’s still relatively new.  But when you use it as a leverage to get your message out there, to engage,  and to mix it in with the old and new forms,  the results are incredibly positive.  There is also a piece here where I believe people naturally want to help you.  People go out of their way to give you leads or to point you in the right direction.  It’s important to pick up on each of these as you never know where they will lead you.  My previous colleague Mervyn Dinnen mentioned this in one of his super blogs “the world is your recruiter” and I would have to agree whole heartedly with this, especially because I now have experienced this first hand.

The biggest thing I would like to recommend here if twitter is not yet for you,  is that you do need to use your network, this method is here to stay!  Over the 4 and a 1/2 years when I worked at Courtenay HR,  the amount of times I advised my candidates about how crucial it was to build your network through LinkedIn and to even start one,  has reinforced this, there is no time to delay.

So who is this great global brand?  I start tomorrow, so look out for an update on my LinkedIn profile later in the week! Goodbye to  my 10 am starts and daylight runs in the morning. Hello employment.

Thanks to you all for the support and encouragement over the past months, I am sure I will need your help again sometime in the future!
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Round up…read all about it

It has been a relatively quiet week, the market is slowing down, the phone is not ringing as much, and the job boards are lacking any new opportunities.  So here is a quick round-up before that jolly ole guy in a red suit starts taking over my precious job hunt time!

It is difficult for me to make this sound interesting because I don’t really want to be naming companies just yet.  But all in all, I will have had 6 company interviews by early next week, all are long term contracts, all are for in-house roles, all are with very different industries and all have come through my network.

I have a 2nd round interview today for a great global brand, in my eyes anyway.

I am waiting on feedback from an interview with a FMCG organisation. I won’t hear back till the other side of Christmas.

I have 2 interviews next week, both with Professional Services organisations.

I turned one opportunity down in the Hi Tech space because it was not the level I was looking for and I knew I would soon get very bored.

I have already been rejected for one.  A Financial Services player whom felt my industry experience was not relevant enough. Far enough I thought.

On top of this I have had several interviews with Agencies to register my details and have applied to a number of roles that have come through various contacts, that I am still waiting to hear back on.  I am trying to keep the pipeline active, but I am realistic that over the next few weeks, I may just have to relax and enjoy my mulled wine and fruit mince pies.

Thanks for everyone’s support over the last few weeks.  I would definitely not have had as many interviews if it was not for all of you!  So a huge thank you!  And wishing you all a fabulous Christmas break


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Remember its the little things that make a difference

There is something to be said about the persona of an organisation.  What you hear and read on the ground, compared with what you actually experience when you engage with them, can be two different things.   It’s like that piccy on the box of your ‘ready made lasagna’ packet. To only look very different when you serve it on your plate!

Organisations pride themselves in wanting to look like a great place to work. Corporate websites are full of valuable information for those on the job hunt.  But is this just good company waffle with an exceptional PR machine?   More and more organisations are now turning to Facebook and to Linked to create a social voice so you quickly get a live sense for what it could be like to work there. A social presence is very powerful and can give off a convincing message to people looking to work for your organisation.   However, what I am experiencing when I have started the recruitment process with some, is that what is communicated here, can be quite different from the reality, and could quickly change your impression.  Remember that candidates are an ambassador of your brand, whether you want to hire them or not.

If you have a big social media presence and a big voice in the market about how great your organisation is to work for, then I would expect that the reality would follow through when you meet.  There is a lot to be said about employer branding versus corporate arrogance.  Is there room for improvement here? Absolutely! And it really need only be the small things to start with. Here are a few:

  • Please don’t ignore CV applications.  We have spent the time to research and apply, so why don’t you respond with a ‘thanks’ or even ‘thanks but no thanks’? All it needs to be is a wee email.
  • Please please try to be on time for the candidate interviews. Remember that they have probably arrived 5 or 10 minutes early.
  • Showcase your successes, it gives you a personality and will make you stand out. Reception is a great place to throw some awards about, highlight company events or perhaps have podcasts streaming to show your fun side.
  • Tell us in your eyes the great things about your company. An interview is a  2-way process, so it’s always powerful to hear from someone on the inside what its like to work there rather than reading the corporate waffle.
  • Try to show some interest in a candidate before you meet. Check out their profile on Linkedin.  It gives a sense of worth  before they step on to your premises.
  • Explain next steps,  be open and honest. It will speak wonders as no one else does it.

Small things I know.  But they will go a long way in making a difference to the candidate experience and will do wonders for your employer brand. What experiences can you share when on the job hunt?

Highlights: Connecting HR drinkies and making my homemade Christmas Chutney!

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New beginings

Week one of my job hunt. Recruit Lou.  Today’s blog is a ’round up’ of what I have been doing over the past few days. So let’s get you all up to speed quickly…..

My week started with a bang – mixed emotions to be honest.  I was suddenly finding myself not having to get out the door by 8.10 to start my commute , I was feeling a mix of anxiety, which moved to relief, which then turned into excitement – But then quickly moved back to anxiety again.  For those who have experienced the unfortunate circumstances of a redundancy will know this feeling well. Very much a roller coaster journey.

First up the CV.  I got this up to date, scrabbled through my contacts and made some initial calls to people I know and trust.

Bingo! I secured my first interview with Corporate A on day one, and a phone interview with Corporate B and Corporate C.  That felt really good, firstly because I have had a great experience from an employee engagement perspective.  They were quick to get back to me, had some empathy about my situation, but were also going out of their way to help.  It also just happened that there was a vacancy in their respective teams. I have the interviews scheduled over the next few days, and so will keep you posted on how this progresses….it’s all about networking!

Next up,  Agencies.  They have been calling as no doubt the news is trickling through the market.  I have had some interesting meetings with 2 in particular and I was rather impressed with their approach. It’s positive to know that there are still some good guys out there. But the fact is I want to return to an in-house role so it may take me a little longer to find the ideal – more meetings and more decafe’d flat whites are definitely on the cards!

Job boards were next on the agenda. I have not seen much here that looks of interest to be honest or that my experience is right for, however I have applied for a few roles that were through different agencies (we will refer to them as Agency A & B for future reference) for In-House Recruitment roles.  But no surprise there, I have not yet heard a dicky bird from any of them.  Will give it a few more days and I will start to put some calls in.

Now that we are up to speed with a majority of the activity, what I am fast getting a sense of is that your relationships and networks are definitely the way forward and where you should spend more of your time and energy if looking for a new job. “Nothing new there” I hear you say!  But the reality is that a lot of people don’t.  They are either afraid, can’t be bothered or have to walk their dog.

The amount of times I have interviewed people who still have not gotten the hang of networking and who don’t really understand the tools behind it and the importance and value of it, is quite frankly ridiculous! “Oh but I am on Linkedin” and “I have spoken to a few people I use to work with”.  Come on lady, here is my point, it’s not just about Linkedin, or getting your name up there and connecting with a few chums.  You do have to work and build on it.  It has taken me years to build my network.  But it’s not only the network that is important, it’s the activity and substance you build into your profile.  There will be less chance of you being found by a Recruiter if you just write the name of the organisation and your job title!  You need to think ‘searchable’ and you need to think ‘key words’.  It’s important to understand that these are crucial for you being found by a potential employer or a recruiter…unless of course, you are running from something.

So for those who are reading this and are also on the job hunt – it’s not just about your CV, get your Linkedin profile humming!   And for those who are in the safe comforts of employment, you too need to get your Linkedin profile humming!  There is no better time to start!  And because Linkedin behaves like a CV database why would you not want to have a presence there?

In summary: Network baby! Its relationships all the way!

Highlights of the week: Homemade sausage rolls.  A catch up with my old work buddies – Gareth Jones & Mervyn Dinnen for one last time as a team. Mixed emotions. I will really miss them. Top blokes!  Strictly no day time TV for this girl.  Its Radio 2 all the way.

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Lou’s job hunt

The word is out!

The word is out!

Hi, I am Lou and the word is now out.  I am on the job hunt! Please help me spread the word.  This is my documented diary of Recruit Lou’s job search,  encouraged by the one and only’s @garyfranklin@garelos and @mervyndinnen.  They have all explained to me in no particular order, that to stand out above and beyond, I had to blog.   To do something more creative than to use a job board – after all 75% of all roles are not advertised.  To be bigger than just another CV, and to demonstrate to those that I am real and live and not just a bit of paper!  So wake up. Here I am.  You can read at will.

A small bit about me first (you can find more on the above tabs).

I am a professional Recruiter with 15 years experience across Agency and Corporate, who suddenly joined the queue in finding a new job.

The challenge – to find an exciting In-House Recruitment position with a fabulous company and to get hired!

This blog is dedicated to my journey over the next few months, to report back on my experiences – the good, the bad, but also the great and the fabulous! My one wish is that I hope I get treated like I believe I have treated all of my candidates in the past – and that was with the respect, empathy and encouragement that we all deserve. After all, we are people, we have feelings, and we talk… please help me spread the word…thank you.

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