Ambition on how to stand out in today's competitive market
ARTICLE BY SAMANTHA CROSSON BD AND MARKETING CONSULTANT AT AMBITION
There is currently a recurring theme in the world of professional services marketing and BD recruitment, especially at the executive to senior executive level.
Candidates are looking for the next step up in their careers yet many are getting pipped to the post by employers looking for a ‘safe’ hire, usually someone who ticks every single box and has the exact experience required for the role. As these candidates are notoriously difficult to find in the current candidate short market, this often results in a long, drawn out recruitment process which is frustrating for jobseekers and employers alike.
What is often never thought of is the investment into future leaders and the potential that a somewhat off scope marketing professional can bring to an organisation. After all, is a jobseeker who already has significant experience in every aspect of the role going to hang around for long? Most people want career progression after all.
There are a number of solutions to these problems if both companies and candidates are prepared to be open minded.
Jobseekers – how to stand out from the crowd and take that next step in your career
1. Take the initiative
When looking to make that next step in your career it is important that you take the initiative to get involved in other areas outside your remit. This not only widens your horizon in terms of unexplored territory but also gives you the opportunity to learn and develop within your current role while reviewing exactly what you are looking for in terms of your next step.
Such initiative will demonstrate your eagerness to expand your skillset and take on responsibilities that many other marketers at your level would not be exposed to. On the flip side investment into your work, career and business may also highlight your profile within your team and potentially offer new internal opportunities.
2. Raise your internal profile
The world is a small place and the marketing and BD network within professional services is even smaller. In a tough candidate market it is important to try find that tangible personal touch which you can offer to a firm – character testimonials from individuals you have worked with over the years help to build a fuller picture on your brand, your personality, work ethic and ability to get involved, problem solve and deliver results. Networking events both internally and externally are another way of making sure that you have that extra edge and that your name is familiar in the market.
3. Find a mentor
Within any organisation there will be a number of people who have experienced exactly what you are as you explore this cross road and what you need to get that next step. Take the initiative (point 1), while using your network and internal profile (point 2), to find someone who has been in your shoes, someone who can relate to where you are in your career and where you would like to go.
It is important when you do find your mentor to make sure you utilise your time with them wisely. Take the time to ask for their advice, explore the mistakes they made and lessons learnt and question their thoughts on what the market needs right now and how you can bring that to the table.
Employers – how to identify top talent in a candidate short market and make sure you don't miss out on a golden ticket
1. Invest in future leaders
Clever businesses invest in talent, after all talented people are what drive and make a business successful. When meeting with potential candidates don’t think about the short term, think about the future. Top talent is often missed by firms because of a lack of experience or certain skills that can be taught in a short space of time. Employers need to look beyond this and find the future leaders of their firms – those people who can grow and develop, who will have continued motivation and desire to stay in the business for the foreseeable future but also in time have the potential to develop into future leaders.
2. Value of a job spec
Of course, a job spec is important and somewhat a necessity for any role and any agency to recruit your desired candidate. However, it is important to have a flexible mind set when it comes to directly comparing a potential candidate against your job spec. Employers need to be engaged in looking at potential candidates that may not tick all the boxes but that often offer that extra something. The right candidates are also more likely to be open to applying for roles where they know they will not be pigeon holed into a mould that they don’t realistically fit into.
3. Change your emphasis on “paper” impressions
Employers hire the right agencies to look after their recruitment for a reason – they have built a relationship with the agency, the agency knows their brand and how to tell their story best but more importantly the agency knows exactly what you are looking for. Trust your recruiter when they put forward that wild card candidate – sometimes the perfect match does not show on paper but only when meeting a candidate in person.
Overall it is clear to see that in order to overcome a candidate short and competitive market, both the jobseeker and employer have a role to play. By carrying out even one of the points above, you will already open up potential opportunities that you were initially unaware of and stay one step ahead of the competition.