Career Advice, Interviews

Active Job Seekers Beware; Get Screened In Before Your Next Job Search

Last week we introduced three new concepts that recruiters use to evaluate job candidates: active, passive and brand talent. Today’s conversation takes a deeper look at what it means to be “active talent.” Unfortunately the view isn’t pretty.

If you recall from last week, active talent is the name that recruiters use to describe someone who is actively looking for a job. For example, if you are applying for jobs on a company’s website, you are active talent.

So brace yourself because I need to share something with you that may be a little troubling. If you are active talent you are probably at a disadvantage in your job search. You definitely aren’t in the driver’s seat. Many recruiters and hiring manager will go to their grave saying this isn’t true. But it is. Let me tell you story to prove my point:

I was recently trying to hire a recruiter (ironic, huh?). I asked a friend of mine named Jim to come in and talk to the internal clients (the hiring managers that a recruiter supports). I thought Jim was the perfect talent, but he was happy in his job and not looking for anything new. It took some convincing to get him to come in and just have a conversation.

The conversation didn’t go well. Jim didn’t like them, and they didn’t like Jim. Since Jim is an absolutely top-notch recruiter, I was confused about why things hadn’t gone well. I did some digging.

It soon became apparent that I had blown it. I hadn’t told the clients that Jim wasn’t actively looking for a job. When I explained that he was in fact visiting as a favor for me, they got pretty upset. They both said (my words, not theirs) “If we had known he wasn’t looking for a job we would have treated him much better.”

Think about it: Jim is great talent. It should have been a slam dunk. But many times the context matters more than the person. If a company is pursuing you, they are playing offense – they are trying to “screen in”. If you are pursuing the company, then they the company is in defense mode – they are trying to “screen out” since there are usually many more applicants than there are jobs.

My mission is to make sure that you are not active talent. We need to put you in the driver’s seat to get you “screened in.” Making you ‘brand talent’ is a proven best way to make this happen.

In the next couple weeks, we will discuss the difference between passive talent and brand talent, as well as talk about how to manage your brand. In the meantime, if you have “I had an active talent experience from hell!” story, or find relevant material on Glassdoor as you are perusing the interview or company reviews, let me know in the comments section. Thanks and talk with you next week!