Career Advice

What Is the Job Search Velvet Rope?

Have you ever been to a movie premier? Great nightclub? Concert? Then you have experienced the “velvet rope.” It’s the barrier that separates the people who are watching the event as spectators from the people who are a part of the ‘in’ crowd. In the world of work you are often a spectator or a star. The purpose of my posts over the last six weeks has been to get you behind the velvet rope.

Contrary to popular opinion, recruiters are people. And that means they have relationships and connections. Recruiters know that their success often depends on having a list of relationships that they can call on at a moment’s notice to fill a hiring manager’s sudden job vacancy. Some call this their “stash”, a term which comes from the days when recruiters would literally move from company to company with a folder holding the resumes of the top talent they knew.

I know a recruiter at a famous high-tech company who actually has over 500 people in his stash. These 500 relationships travel with him wherever he goes. Imagine the benefit of being in this recruiter’s list of relationships. As Liz Ryan has pointed out, your chances of getting a job from applying on a job board are pretty thin. But if you are one of this recruiter’s magic 500, your chances are pretty good.

Of course it is not just about having a list of people. Anybody can do that. Good recruiters know that their livelihood hangs on the quality and insight of the information about the people on their list: what that person is up to, what projects they have worked on recently and any life changes that could affect their availability for a job.

A recruiter also understands that people who are good enough to get on their list are probably on a lot of recruiter’s list. So if the recruiter is going to have the information they need, when they need it, they have to attract the attention of this candidate. The talent is in control, making the recruiter work for that precious information. This is the very definition of brand talent.

How does the recruiter catch brand talent’s attention? How does a recruiter keep up with brand talent to get their latest and greatest information? By letting them behind the velvet rope.

Once inside the velvet rope brand talent has access to the hiring manager, other decision makers, confidential information which can help them make a better decision about the opportunity and meet people you want to network with. Life behind the velvet rope is quite nice.

My job is to get you behind the velvet rope, but in a way that resonates with your purpose and who you are. That is why everything we have talked about so far is critical: being engaged, knowing your purpose, and putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your career. Having these qualities forms the foundation of what will get recruiters begging you for your information, asking you to come into the event.

Next week we will start the process of wrapping up the ideas of brand talent, profiting from your purpose and getting behind the velvet rope.

Note: In addition to being a good friend, Rusty Rueff is one of the best creative minds in the world of talent. He is the one who first told me about “The Velvet Rope” many years ago. Thanks Rusty!