Good connection, bad connection, which is which?

The other day, a client asked me 'What frustrates you (as an agent) about recruitment in this market?' Where do I begin I thought? Is it clients failing to offer enough money to secure the best candidates? Not reacting fast enough, almost guaranteeing that only the weakest candidates are left for them to see? writes Clive Jefferys of JMA Network.

For both fraternities, not answering our calls, or not coming back to us with a timely decision seems to be a common trait of late. The problem is that in this age of calls, voicemail, texts and emails (and our systems document the whole lot) there really is no excuse for not answering a person's question. In absence of contact, everyone reads the worst into any delay. "Fair enough," my client responded, "but what I don't understand is that with so much unemployment, WHY is it so hard to recruit?"

Well the plain fact is that our candidates are not unemployed. If they are good, they are gainfully employed already. However, after four years of pressure, cuts, few pay rises, and high inflation, job seekers in telecoms are taking matters into their own hands, and are not prepared to be a push-over anymore. Their wants are high and their patience is low.
Strong words, but I sit here in the middle and hear a huge amount of frustration from both sides, on a daily basis.

On the subject of angst, we have identified a growing danger with online networking. Like so much of the Internet, sitting at your desk it seems harmless enough, but you need to be very careful now. It goes like this: You link to your colleagues, they are linked to your bosses and HR. If you are approached by a hirer in another company, and link, everyone knows about it all at once. Your boss calls you in the next day, and says ' want to leave?' To underscore this further, another devilish networking product proactively advertises people that have connected to HR Managers, highlighting them as 'potential job movers'.

Considering public opinion, it's ironic that recruitment agents are actually the one group that respect and need confidentiality. A recruiter only calls when he/she has a real live job for you. You don't want anyone else to know, and neither do they. However, with direct employers, that's another matter. No pain to them, whatever game they are playing. And boy, people are playing a lot of games at the moment!

The only safe way to use online networking for job seeking is to keep your own connections 'private' and only link up to people whose connections are private too. Anything else, and the network will see everyone you connect to, and shout about it!

By the way, the example I gave was a deliberate move by one sales manager to freak out his main competitor. He 'pinged' all of that guy's co-workers. It worked. It caused uproar.

PS: There was no job.

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