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Should I admit that I am out of work?

Should I admit that I am out of work?

“Should I admit that I am out of work?”

Given the conversation we just had in the office, I felt compelled to regurgitate an old blog post I wrote a while ago.

I’ve been really worried recently by a spate of what I call “DINOSAUR THINKING” in relation to this question.

We interviewed a mature and experienced candidate the other day with an excellent depth of experience and skill within a specific sector of the market. During the interview, he was at great pains to inform our consultant that he was not in a hurry to find a new job and that he was going to be very picky.

In fact, he was doing really well in his current role and that he simply wanted better career prospects. he wasn’t going to “get out of bed” for less than a twenty percent increase in his basic salary.

Subsequently, my colleague returned to his desk and allocated resource accordingly to his case. He had a look at what current live opportunities may have matched; allocated an hour to talk to some decision makers in that particular market and not much more. After all, where was the hurry? The candidate made it very clear that he wasn’t in one and had priced himself above market rate. It just didn’t seem like a good bet to be allocating more man hours than that.

When the chaps employers rang in to give us a brief 4 days later it transpired that he had not worked there for 8 weeks. What a pity, his opening interaction with his consultant had proved counterproductive. At best he had diminished the essential bond of trust between him and his consultant which moved their relationship to the realms of being purely transactional. At worst he had embarrassed himself and the consultant who had interviewed him. He would have been much better off having told the truth.

* Any salesman would focus his attention and effort on a sale that is definitely going to happen rather than one that he could posit may not. Just think about it for a moment, imagine that you have two sales campaigns on your forecast. The first one is with a good prospect who is looking at new suppliers but cannot and will not put a timescale on the procurement or whether he can guarantee if the procurement will actually take place. Furthermore, the client is extremely price sensitive and wants an awful lot for his money. The second client has a defined project with a stretching but sensible budget and a purchase project timescale that is clear for everyone involved. You’ve got a good relationship with this second client who has confided in you and trusted you and whilst you cannot be assured of the business you know that if you come up with something decent you could win it.Which of the two client sales campaigns would get the bulk of your attention?

* The honesty and trust fosters effort and energy from your consultant. By sheer nature of having been honest and a little bit humble with your consultant the likelihood is that you will build your relationship and make him or her work harder for you.

* It does not denigrate your market value – the two are not related. This is a crucial point. There is a horrific misperception that by letting people know you are out of work and or very driven to rapidly move jobs, that it lowers your market value. IT DOES NOT – your market value and your status in the market are not remotely interrelated. Your market value and what people will pay for your skills is determined by the equity you have built in your career and achievements in the same way that you build equity and value in a house.

Do you live in a nice area? Then add some value to your house.
Nice schools? Then add some value to your house.
New kitchen? Then add some value to your house. The same can be said for your career.

* A lot of hiring clients are lazy and would rather not have to go through a resignation process and risk a counter offer.You should ask yourself (and I am very keen to state that we are not estate agents) which house your estate agent would focus on marketing? The one with no chain that could be moved into tomorrow or the one with a really complex chain of buyers and sellers where more stuff is likely to go wrong.There are few things more internally embarrassing for a hiring client than to be seen to be having a job offer turned down – it surreptitiously sends a lot of messages across a business about the selling skills of the person offering the job; about the job offering itself and the company.So if a client is faced with a candidate who is out of work yet he is a good candidate who can start on Monday and another “better” one who may have to face a counter offer and a long notice period I have often seen clients go for the slightly lesser yet easier candidate to hire.

* On top of that the 8-week extension to the hiring cycle is perceptually at times worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue. Our current time of year is a particularly relevant example in that clients are hoping to hire quickly and have people ramp up for a rolling start in January so that people have a full chance of hitting quota. Invent a false start date by claiming you are working when not and you’ve invented a perception that you won’t hit target in 2011 or at least that it will be very challenging.

* It’s cheesy and deceitful and if you’ve been deceitful about that with your consultant then what else are you being deceitful about and therefore we have to assume we are less likely to place you and allocate resource accordingly. We DO and we WILL find out if you are still with your employers or not and then there’s that whole embarrassment factor for everyone concerned.

So come clean and be honest, you’ll be respected more, be a higher priority and more likely to be offered a job over candidates that look to our clients like they are going to be hard work to get on board and remember that your market value is based on your skills and achievements and not the fact that you act like something out of the eighties with your recruiter.
Being out of work is advantageous if you play it right. You can get to interviews, prepare accordingly and move forward rapidly. your consultant should always be able to put a positive shine on your situation.

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