What You Should Know Before Selecting A Search Firm.
Our clients represent a broad range of transportation, logistics and distribution organizations. Some are global, many are national or regional in scope and still others focus on specific local markets. Their sizes range from a few million dollars in annual revenues up to multi-billion dollar corporations. Each one of these companies is unique and they all have their own very special cultures. However, they do have one very important thing in common... They pay us to bring them outstanding candidates!
Now the big question: What is an Outstanding Candidate?
Answer: It depends… it depends on the client, the position, the number of “qualified” candidates available in the marketplace…etc etc etc.
But, there are some keys to positioning you as an outstanding candidate:
This is the most important key. If you have not accomplished positive results that are meaningful and relevant to the client, you have limited value to that client. It’s just business, not personal. However, most candidates have more accomplishments and achievements than they give themselves credit for. Include these on your resume and on the questionnaire you receive from our firm. Be prepared to discuss them with us and with our client. What did you do? How did you do it? What was it worth to your company?
Results matter. They are keeping score out there.
Even in this unstable economic world, clients value a history of stable employment. If you have had frequent job changes you are suspect in the client’s mind. What are “too many jobs”? It varies among clients. But, generally speaking, if you have had more than 3 positions in the last ten years, it is cause for concern. Be prepared to discuss the job changes with us as well as with the client. Be honest with us, the client and with yourself. The reasons behind the moves may be explainable and even positive, but they always plant a seed of doubt with the client which must be addressed.
You may have an outstanding record of accomplishments and a Grade A employment history, but if you are limited on relocation your opportunities will be limited. Remember, search firms do not find jobs for people, we find people for jobs with our clients. The greater your flexibility, the more likely it is that we will have a client opportunity that fits. And flexibility extends beyond relocation. If you are hung up on job titles or the size of company or whether they are public or privately owned, etc etc… you have limited flexibility. Make no mistake, these are legitimate issues and you should be selective about the company and the position. (If you aren’t, you may end up with an “unstable” employment history.) But, just remember: lack of flexibility = fewer opportunities.
Frankly, if it’s all about the money, then you are not positioning yourself as an outstanding candidate.
Money is important. We understand that and so do our clients. But candidates who are just out for the money today tend to end up with unstable employment histories tomorrow. Career moves need to be about more than just money.
That said, let’s talk about money. First and foremost, know what you are worth in the marketplace. If you are at the “top end” of the pay range for your position, don’t expect a substantial increase unless you take on a higher-level position. And if you are at the “lower end”, don’t expect a new employer to make up for it and take you to the top end. Secondly, if you are moving up to the “next level”, don’t expect to go in at the “top end” of compensation for that position. Third, look at the total package including incentives, benefits and the potential for increases and promotions in the future. Consider the cost of living for the job location. Look at the big picture. Think long-term.
If you’re employed, stay employed if at all possible. What they say about the best time to look for a job is true. It’s when you have a job. It’s the best position to be in and certainly the best position from which to work with a search firm.
If you’re unemployed, be prepared to explain why? Be honest. But never badmouth your former employer. Have references available. Include supervisors, peers and customers who have positive things to say about you and your achievements. If you are working with a search firm, again remember, search firms do not find jobs for people, we find people to fill jobs with client companies. And, above all, remain patient. You can still be positioned as an outstanding candidate, even though unemployed. Emphasize your accomplishments, be flexible, stay realistic about money and look for the “right” job. (You don’t really want to go through this again in six months, do you?)
These are the hot buttons. Ideally, everyone is looking for the candidate with a great record of accomplishments, stable employment history, open to relocation, reasonable expectations regarding compensation and currently employed. Realistically, there aren’t many of those out there. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate or the perfect job for that matter. Your challenge, as well as ours, is to make the most out of what you have to offer to the marketplace now as well as in the future.