Friday, 3 August 2012

Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

Pie chart 300x168 Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

The idea of a perfect candidate is one we hear all too often. Yet in this candidate-rich market, hiring managers are still constantly pining for that perfect hire – the one that’s hidden amongst the masses with a skill set perfectly suited to join your corporate brand. More commonly than not, you hear these candidates referred to as a passive job seeker.

But who are they? What is the difference between active and passive candidates? What impact do they have on your recruitment strategy? And why are passive candidates so highly sought after?

Anyone who has done recruiting will understand the difference between active and passive candidates. The most common definition for a ‘passive candidate’ is employed, but not looking for another opportunity. An ‘active candidate’, however, is a candidate that is currently seeking a new employment opportunity.

Yet, a recent poll by webrecruit found the meaning of active and passive may not be so clear cut. The survey taken part by 749 LinkedIn users, asked candidates how they would best describe themselves in terms of searching for new opportunities.

The results revealed 46% of candidates would consider themselves as active job seekers currently looking for a job. 9% were passive and would not initiate candidacy, and another 4% were not interested in opportunities at all. The remaining 41%, however, are not actively looking for a job, but are curious about opportunities they see before them, and are more commonly referred to as the actively passive. So what does this mean for recruitment?

Many argue that a passive or curious candidate is more desirable than an active candidate. This is because, unlike active candidates, they aren’t looking for jobs and must, therefore, be better.

But reaching the passive market can be a challenge. After all, passive candidates aren’t looking for a job and are not using the traditional recruitment platforms. As such, business networking, social media and direct candidate sourcing become key channels to recruit these types of individuals.

The fact is, as recruiters, we have to seek out the right candidates – passive, active and everything in between – regardless of their current working status. Which means we have to be vigilant in the resources we are using, and more importantly, how we are using them.

In reality, no type of candidate is better than the other. Rather, the best candidate is the one that best meets your needs, is the best person for the job, and the best person for fitting into your organisation.

And these findings show now, more than ever, the importance of embracing an integrated recruitment strategy comprising both social media and traditional recruitment methods in order to identify the best person for the job.

James Caan - Issue 105

Dear Member,

Talking about the current financial climate and the affect it’s having on the jobs market is something I’ve had to do a lot of recently. It is tough out there, and with recent government statistics revealing a 0.7% fall in GPD, it doesn’t look set to significantly improve any time soon.

However, and I say this vehemently, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Recessions can provide us with an opportunity to identify new and exciting career paths.

I also believe that positivity and a healthy dose of fighting spirit is the recipe for career success in these hard times. To help foster this, webrecruit has teamed up with Aimee Bateman, of Careercake.TV, to bring you CareerCamLive.

CareerCamLive – a monthly live careers show – will see Aimee answer questions from those seeking careers advice. The first show – Using Social Media to Job Hunt – is on 7th August, 18:30, and is available here:

Aimee is incredibly knowledgeable and fantastic to watch, so please ensure to tune in.

Now, back to the column. This week I’d like to discuss the issues facing public sector workers seeking employment in the private sector.

For instance, I received an email from Alex, a finance officer within local government looking to move into the private sector due to a lack of progression in his current role.

Having worked in local government for the last four and a half years, he is now seeking his next step up as a finance analyst or manager. However, he fears that prospective employers may be put off by his public sector background.

He asks me:

‘Is there anything that I can do to show them that I am capable of translating the skills I have and continue to learn into the private sector?’

Alex, I can see you’re in a frustrating position. Whilst there are many benefits of working in the public sector, career progression isn’t necessarily one at present.

Transitioning from the public to private sector can be a challenge; this is because they are often seen as two different worlds.

As you mentioned, Alex, progression prospects within local government can be limited. Whilst the public sector can offer flexibility in terms of working hours and holiday, the workspace can be regimented and includes a lot of red tape.

The private sector can also prove to be a very challenging working climate too – it’s incredibly target-driven, with longer working hours and shorter holidays. Yet, the rewards, both personally and financially, can be fantastic.

To make the move, you must consider the type of company you are interested in working for. Whilst I appreciate you’re open to any industry, it’s important to target your job seeking efforts in order to transfer your skills and demonstrate your value effectively.

In your case, Alex, with your lack of private sector experience I’d try adopting a different approach to your CV. We know that the private sector keeps a firm eye on costs, so emphasise what value you will deliver; for example, your budget management skills.

You mentioned you were studying towards your CIMA. This is an excellent example of going the extra mile to gain new expertise. Make sure to communicate the qualification’s value and how you are able to transfer this to a new commercial setting.

It may also be worth mentioning the importance of an online profile. Why not harness LinkedIn’s potential to market yourself? Private sector employers check candidates’ profiles online and it can be a strong networking tool.

Overall, your challenge, Alex, is to present your experience in such a way that a prospective employer can ‘slot’ you into their company. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next opportunity.


James Caan

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the web for what it was built for what it was built for

Crowd sourcing 300x300 Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the web for what it was built for

Designing a strategy that services an organisation’s talent needs has become an increasingly complex task for the hiring manager. Not just because of the unpredictable shifts in the economic climate, but also the constant introduction of new technologies, paving paths for new talent channels.

Recently, Matthew Jeffery described a relatively new concept – recruitment 4.0 and crowdsourcing. It involves using social communities to outsource tasks traditionally performed by internal employees.

How does it work? A company posts a problem online and a large number of individuals offer their opinions and ideas as to how to solve it. The winning idea is rewarded in some form, and the end result is the company adopting the idea for its own benefit.

Often described as a win-win solution – crowdsourcing is cost-effective for businesses and fosters innovation among their social communities. In fact, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Pepsi and Starbucks have already used crowdsourcing techniques to generate ideas that have already or are expected to turn into new products and service innovations.

Whilst there is still a way to go before we see a scalable crowdsourced recruiting solution, key elements can already be incorprated into companys’ social communities, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Here are some of the basics for businesses considering leveraging their social communities to crowdsource.

It’s an additional resource, not a replacement:

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that crowdsourcing is not being used to replace any human decision making processes.

It is a form of attraction, a platform to promote your brand and encourage your social followers to send you suggestions and ideas that can be used within your company, and ultimately create a pool of talent.

If you want to attract talent, you must make yourself attractive:

Building an attractive culture and work environment that will encourage star potential to your social communities is the basis of getting the most out of crowdsourcing.

The only way you’re going to be able to build these communities is if you build an incentive structure that will attract them to your social platforms – whether that’s through gamification, a place to share videos and photos, or offering exclusive access news.

Outsource clearly defined tasks to achieve your goal:

Crowdsourcing is best suited for simple tasks such as a new logo, website or product name.

Be specific. Make a detailed list of what the person is supposed to do. For example, if you’re looking to re-launch your company website, you could ask people for their feedback regarding layout, the readability of text and attractiveness of the design. From there you can get inspiration.

Align Incentives:

To those who develop a winning solution to your problem, you must offer some type of reward, whether that’s financial, a holiday or an iPad.

In return, each person who takes part in the challenge is focused on doing their best work so that they might win. And as such, the ideas and solutions you receive should be pretty fantastic.

Overall, it seems fair to say, keeping talent engaged and interested in your brand and business is not going to get easier. The influence of social media, it’s ease of access and the desire it creates to connect on a global level, makes crowdsourcing, simply another natural progression of time.

Ask James Caan – Issue 101

Dear member,

In these turbulent economic times, businesses have taken the brunt, with many being forced to go under. Subsequently, this often means that the owner has to go out and find a less prominent role within another company.

The transition can be a difficult one to make, however, it doesn’t have to be. When executed properly, it can bring about refreshing change and open up new, exciting opportunities.

Last week I received an email from Jackie, who has owned her own business for the past 5 years. Changing circumstances, however, are forcing her to look at returning to employee status.

She asked:

“Being a business owner is it harder to get back into main stream employment? What challenges may I face?”

Firstly, thank you Jackie for getting in touch. Your situation is not uncommon; especially in the current financial downturn we are experiencing. Rather than being daunted by it though, you must ask yourself how these shifts in the marketplace are opening up new opportunities for you to tap into.

The key here is to stay ahead of the game. You have already accepted a big turning point in your career, so you are in a prime position to now go ‘whole hog’ and diversify completely. Everyone needs to be chameleon-like in a recession and be able to adapt well to change.

The biggest issue you, and others, face is the art of re-packaging your skills. This is so as not to scare off potential employers, whilst at the same time remaining truthful. Although it is a case of survival of the fittest, rather than being focussed on yourself, you need to think carefully about what a potential employer is looking for.

Having owned your own company you will have acquired a wide and varied skills set. While you may need to play down how you applied some of these skills, you certainly shouldn’t omit them completely.

For example, it is likely that you will have managed a team of people. But, instead of playing up your managerial experience, make the focus more on ‘effective teamwork’. The main concern an employer will have when hiring someone who is moving ‘down’ the career ladder, is whether or not they can adapt to being in a less authoritative position.

You need to make them believe that this is a transition you want to make. Thinking of not having that ultimate responsibility anymore and being less stressed should help with this.

All the very best Jackie,

James Caan

Question? Email me at for the chance to appear in next week’s column.

Monday, 2 July 2012

An Administration Professional’s Guide to using LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Executives 150x150 An Administration Professional’s Guide to using LinkedInWhen the recession hit, businesses nationwide shed their administrative personnel in a bid to save costs which cut thousands and thousands of jobs. As a result, there is a huge pool of support personnel, not only seeking jobs, but looking at ways to add further value on top of their existing skill set.

There are a growing number of tools available to those looking to secure work in administration. Job boards, online communities and forums to name a few. Perhaps the largest untapped resource for some jobseekers however is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has made a big impact in recruitment, and continues to aid jobseekers to identify new opportunities. With hiring managers using it to get closer to their ideal candidate, those who do not use it as part of their job hunting tool kit could be losing out.

So how do you, as an administrative professional, make your LinkedIn profile stand out?

Your LinkedIn profile needs to contain as much relevant information as possible, laid out in a cognitive fashion. Take 5 – 10 minutes out of your day to try and improve your profile or update some information, it doesn’t seem much but, after a week have a look and you will notice a significant change.

An administrative professional’s CV usually offers a constant and steady work history, loyalty to a handful of companies and a track record of excellence and (hopefully) over-achievement within your role. And learning how to translate this onto your online profile is much easier than you think.

7 LinkedIn tips for administration professionals:

Complete your LinkedIn profile
Ensure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete to maximise your chances of marketing your skills. Fill in the fields on your profile, use the right key words and indicate how you have added value.

Pick the right keywords
Keywords are used by recruiters and hiring managers that trawl LinkedIn’s vast reach to find candidates. Use well-know, jargon-free phrases that reflect your remit whilst making it easy for the audience to understand.

Join groups and follow companies
Join relevant groups focusing on administration and follow companies which you either having an interest in working for, have worked for or feel are interesting and relevant to your career. Make sure to take an active role in groups; participation in discussion threads and offering to help or advise others will help market your abilities.

Status updates
Set interesting headlines and status updates which will make viewers want to follow links to find out more about you. This will include blogs, industry information, statutory changes or other relevant information. It is essentially a way of selling yourself and making your profile more visible to second and third level connections.

Write an administration-relevant CV
You can use your LinkedIn profile as an online CV. Work to your strengths , if you do not have many qualifications, focus on your work experience and vice versa. Also focus on other skills you possess such as touch typing and personality traits, such as highly organised and a great attention to detail.

If you have done any voluntary work or extra-curricular activities, make sure you mention these. Many admin roles require flexibility and team work, volunteering and social activities show off these qualities.

Connect with colleagues, other administrative professionals and people you consider interesting and who will bring something to your network. Try to achieve over 100 connections over the course of a few months, that way your news feed will have new and fresh additions regularly and, to the outside viewer, you will come across as an active member of LinkedIn.

First impressions count
Your LinkedIn profile must appear professional, yet interesting, and that is a tough balancing act. Having a strong profile will help to attract connections and, after all connecting with people is what LinkedIn is all about.

As an administration professional, how have you made your LinkedIn profile as visible as possible? Please share your tips below.

Coming soon – Career Advice Live!

Aimee Bateman 150x150 Coming soon – Career Advice Live!webrecruit is teaming up with Aimee Bateman, who is widely recognised for her expertise within the recruitment industry. Her success has seen her featured on TV and in the national media, including the BBC.

In a nutshell, Aimee is a successful entrepreneur, ambassador for jobseekers, motivational speaker, TV presenter and author. Her website,, is a free resource dedicated to helping passionate people succeed in their chosen careers.

On the first Tuesday of every month (starting in August), she will be hosting a live video stream providing you with all the nuggets of advice you need to secure the job of your dreams. Her wealth of top-tips covers all career angles, whether you are in employment, or not.

The exciting new sessions will work on an interactive basis; whereby, Aimee will be fielding questions via Twitter. She will then respond to your individual queries on all issues work-related.

But, we need your help. The feature has no name and we want you to come up with a catchy, little hook-line for it. Visit our facebook page to enter the competition and be in for a chance to win a signed copy of James Caan’s book.