Target the Company?
Yes, you heard me correctly…target the company and quit chasing the job.
This is the philosophy behind the Targeted Job Search.
As a baby boomer, I was raised to be loyal to my employer. When the right opportunity came about, it would typically be offered to me. If I wanted to change jobs, I would go to the newspaper, trade publications and, later, job websites for job ads.
The employer was in control and used various marketing tools to attract prospective job seekers.
Now companies source perspective employees, notice I did not say job seekers, via LinkedIn, Google and other social and career platforms. They no longer care that you are not looking for a job. If you want to play this game you need to be a good passive candidate or someone who is easily found.
Gone are the days where you could apply for the job and hope to get an interview.
When you go to Monster.com, Indeed.com or any company website with positions listed, how many of those positions are real? What percentage of jobs are actually listed?
You have to understand why companies post jobs:
- They are legally obligated. If the position is funded by your tax dollars then the position will be listed. This includes federal, state and local governments, higher education, NGOs, and K-12 education.
- It is the only path into the HR systems. I have seen multiple instances where a job was posted after a final candidate was selected. They posted it so that the candidate could formally apply and once that was completed they took the posting down.
- The company wants to collect resumes for the future. A number of large companies have the same jobs posted permanently. This is so they can collect resumes so that when they are ready to fill a position, they have a large database of candidates available.
Many jobs simply do not get posted. Outside of government and higher education, it is difficult to determine but only 20-50% private sector positions actually get posted to find candidates.
The higher the skill level of the position the less likely it will get posted.
Quit chasing the job!
Depending who you listen to but a large percentage of positions are filled through referrals. This is all about risk mitigation in the hiring process. The safest hire is an internal candidate. The next safest hire is an external candidate with an employee referral.
Therefore, build a target list of companies that you want to work for and build a referral network.
The Targeted Job Search
I teach my clients to target the company they want to work for and then network their way in. When a position opens up or is created, you want either your contact to refer you to the hiring manager or have the hiring manager to think of you! You want them to already know who you are, your skills and values.
There are 4 steps to the process:
1 – Build the Target List
You need to build a target list of companies that can hire you. Who hires people like yourself in your geography? You may want to read the post – Finding People Who Look, Taste and Smell Like You.
In a later post, I will write about how to build this list, but it can be as simple as asking your friends where they work and are they happy.
2 – Research Your Target List
Once you have a list of 15-25 companies, investigate each company to see if you want to work there. You will do this by contacting employees who currently work there and former employees. Current employees can be referral sources and former employees can tell you why you left!!
3 – Connect on LinkedIn with Recruiters and other HR professionals
In the world of recruiting, hiring recruiters and other HR professionals are the mesh that holds things together. They are usually connected to everyone in their company. When you are connected to an internal recruiter all of their connections become 2nd-degree connections for you. Also, recruiters move from company to company and carry their connections with them.
Recruiters can be firewalls or roadblocks in your job search but being connected to them on LinkedIn is invaluable.
4 – Build Your Referral Network
Reach out and connect with employees in your target companies. Specifically, reach out to employees in the functional area where you want to work. Connect with them on LinkedIn and then approach them to meet in person. Ask for AIR—Advise, Insights, and Recommendations. The magic word is “advice”. When you ask for advice it is a compliment and people will rarely turn your down.
In building your referral network, you will want to meet as many people who have either direct hiring responsibilities or are key influencers in the hiring process.
If you methodically target the company and not the job, you will have a steady stream of employment leads.
This process never ends! Whether you get the job or are rejected you will continue through this process over and over again. Even once you have the job you will restart the process 6 months after your start date. If you do not get the job, you will use LinkedIn to find who did get the position and adjust accordingly.
In today’s world, you need to always be working the process.
To read the rest of the Targeted Job Search series click here.