Recruitment reflections – from a candidate

“It’s all in the power of the candidate now”

“Things happen for a reason, you’ll find something”

“Recruitment is a two way street”

It’s spring, there’s been time for lunch today in your working day. Maybe you’re finishing early and are just having a mooch around LinkedIn to pass the time? Well I am in that mood today is a Friday, of reflection, reflections from the last three months of looking for my next opportunity. Also receiving your P45 in the post also helps you reflect quite a lot!

I have known my last fixed term contract would be ending for about three months, so I dusted off my LinkedIn status, the hidden settings ‘looking for work’ were enabled, my twitter profile too and out came the tried and tested C.V. to be updated and polished ready for submissions.

I have to be honest it has been a long three months so far, apparently on average you should give yourself six months to search for that next opportunity. My ratio of job applications versus being invited in for interview, 1 in 4, 25% doesn’t seem so bad. Except about 25% of jobs end up not being available once you get around to speaking to them about it or things have just changed in the organisation. Well that happens, it’s life.

Recruiters. Well hello again to these lovely people. I have sadly had to compare them to estate agents and frankly I have felt it has been a lowering standard of relationship than those pesky estate agents. Phone call after phone call, smooching up to you offering you the world, to then not hear from them ever again after you may have spent three hours writing your C.V. again. They are not all the same, it’s vital to find specialists in your field or location or the type of work you are looking for and build that relationship, if they don’t want to know about you then how can they represent you to their client?

I’ve had some learning experiences over the last three months about myself as a candidate and about the wonderful world of recruitment processes. Let me tell you about some highlights… one discussion where I was invited in for a ‘chat’ turned out to be two people interviewing me. After 18 years in my career I was comfortable talking about many experiences, but be prepared would be my advice for anything can happen in an interview. Another experience, where the recruiter started off by ‘I really shouldn’t tell you this…’, told me that I had not been successful to interview stage, even though I had the right and relevant experience, and the assessors had selected one of their other candidates who did not have the relevant or right experience! So there I was scratching my head, and feeling like I was scratching around like a chicken for feed when it came for looking for a job. Was it me, was it diversity? Was it my experience didn’t conform (career break, digital, IT and non profit work experience), I just was not sure or was it my C.V.? Well I have not had the answers from applications submitted but I am now disseminating the learnings and dissecting my C.V. into something more appealing.

Now another ‘chat’ where I had not heard from the recruiter in five days, phoned me on the off chance. I went somewhere private to realise I was then thrown into a telephone screening with them. The recruiter going through a checklist of conditions I needed to meet, that were already stated on my application. Did they not read that? At the end of this rushed ordeal, I was told I would proceed to the next stage. I thought to myself, oh god the next stage? In fact I was told there would be two more stages and include a numeracy and literacy test. I declined, for the first time ever in my career history, I declined this interview and I told them politely why. They gracefully thanked me for the feedback. I told them I had to go with my gut feeling, and that was this company was not for me based on the impression they’d given me through their recruitment process.

My last invite in for an interview, did actually turn out to be just a chat. A nice chat at that. There wasn’t a role any longer, so it was more a what did I know and what could I find out about this company. It was kind of a funny chat because the company contact couldn’t sit still, legs up on the next chair, climbing on a chair to open a window, popping out of the room as I was just talking, I wondered if my experience had daunted them and hence this reaction. A friend of mine said no maybe he just fancied you!

As I’ve now left my last employment this week. I had sentiments of others being jealous of my new found freedom, what they don’t know is finding a job is a full time job. It can be stressful, time consuming, use a lot of your mental energy and you don’t get much in return! Some good advice I have received is to hold my nerve, keep looking and exploring and the right thing will come my way. Words I hear regularly, Things happen for a reason, you’ll find something”, thing is I don’t want to find ‘something’ I want to do a job I love that uses my special powers and experience. Recruiters telling me regularly that “Recruitment is a two way street”. But is it? This is really a fabrication of reality and even one told me that now “It’s all in the power of the candidate now”. From my experience no it is not, unless you find the right people and that right opportunity. Now I am just waiting for that one ‘chat’ to turn into the start of something great.

Charlotte Joyce

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