Nobody Said It Was Easy

chlopiecWhether you live and work in Poland or in Western Europe, if you are unemployed these days, you better start working hard on finding your next job. It does not matter that you are a Senior, experienced manager, it will take time, efforts and energy. The market is not in favor of candidates any more, I’m seeing it both in my outplacement and executive search activities.
You will have to launch in a structured, demanding and probably long networking campaign. The good news is that, since it is the only way to control the next step in your professional destiny, you can aim high.
The American author Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it”. That is so very true.

Depending on the country in which I work, the numbers vary: only 10 to 20% of the recruitments of managers are outsourced to consultancies, and the companies advertised directly less than 35% of the rest. That means more than half the managers recruitments are not done through classic ‘old’ recruitment habits. Of course it doesn’t hurt to increase you visibility on professional social networks: Linkedin plus a local one (Goldenline in Poland, Xing in Germany, Viadeo in France…), since companies use them now to directly approach people. But it means that it is not much likely that you will be called to be offered a job.
Because what these figures mean is that companies today recruit half their managers in an opportunistic manner. Which is a good news for ambitious and hard working managers.

It means you have to go out there and find your future boss. Your goal is to manage to talk to him/her, to get some ‘available brain time’, in order to propose your services. Of course this will not be easy because they are not waiting for you. But the idea is nevertheless that you want to meet them. Not to ask them if they have a job available, not even to ask them for a job, but to have an honest work discussion on what you could do for them. Talking together like potential colleagues or collaborators, you want to generate their desire to hire you, because you understand them, their situation, their needs and you could contribute.

How do you do that?
I won’t tell you everything, after all, if you want the full process, become one of my clients!
But know that the key word is PREPARATION.
You have to be very well prepared to convince them. You need to be really credible when you explain them why they need you, e.g. what for they need you. What you will do for them and what only you can do for them.
The tough but also very interesting part of this process is that these answers need to be worked out. You can’t imagine them: you have to find them! And they are different for every company. Finding them is not easy. It requires a lot of leg-work: you have to explore the internet to dig up everything you can on the groups and firms you have targeted. You then have to use this freshly acquired knowledge to ask clever questions to people who really know about these companies. But like every good journalist or private investigator you can’t trust a single source; you have to compare the answers of people of equal knowledge but having different angles (you can learn things both from a client and a provider, from a former employee or an insider). Your goal is to understand their place on the market, their strategy, their projects and their organization. This way you might propose some good ideas or at least have good insights, some inklings on what could be done and how. But the main effect is that you will talk like one already inside. And no classic candidate could ever do that, even coming from the direct competition. This generate a powerful identification effect. If you talk like one of them, surely you can walk like one of them! And that is the only way I know of which really overcomes the classic fear of managers who are naturally risk-adverse when recruiting.

Should you meet 30 potential managers this way, you could be assured that one of them would make some effort to try and offer you something. Of course in many cases, it won’t be at first a real job contract, they might want to try you before they buy you. It might be study, an interim, but it will be a foot in the door!!

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