Toss out the Timid

Job hunters. What are you up to?…………..

I have been a headhunter now for almost 15 years. In that time, it’s mostly been a candidate’s market where the best candidates might get multiple offers, and the rest would get an offer….mostly.

But with COVID-19 that’s been turned on its head. Good candidates are having to kick their heels a bit before they get an offer, and the rest are feeling ignored. Compared to the past, there’s thin pickings, and a wake of vultures fighting over the crumbs (yes, the collective noun for a group of vultures feeding is a “wake”).

As you may expect, extreme events trigger a change of behaviours, but rather than making things sharper and better, most job seekers have turned on their heels and headed off in the wrong direction:

  • Enabled by user-friendly job boards, candidates are applying en masse with click-and-send applications that are overwhelming the recipients – to the extent that some recruiters and hiring managers have stopped advertising and just relying on searching and job boards.
  • There’s a feeding frenzy where nobody is giving themselves time to think if there’s another way. Prompted by everything they’ve heard from their worst managers; it’s simply become a numbers game where there will be one winner – but it leaves everyone else feeling like the worst type of loser.
  • So rather than trying to win, the collective soul of job seekers is trying not to lose. Rather than add colour to stand out, they’re reverting to beige and a herd mentality is taking over.
  • And rather than considering how hiring managers may be thinking right now – they will have a lot on their plate – most CV’s and LinkedIn profiles are timid affairs trying hard not to attract attention at the risk that if they’re spotted, they may get rejected.

So, there’s lot of unthinking defensive behaviour going on, but it’s a COVID-19 world where, if my recent experience with employers is anything to go by, they’re taking transferrable skills more seriously (because they know they probably need more people who can ride two horses at once for when the market flips again) – Candidates wanting to attract a second look need to show a nimble turn of foot, some ambition, and the hint they won’t go to ground next time things get interesting.

Most job seekers are chasing the market down. Ambition is the last thing on show.

Inject your CV and LinkedIn profile with some colour and vim. There’s not much of it going around right now. If you want a little helping hand, you can view more about our services here.

In this market, being ignored is a choice you take by playing it safe.



Written by Martin Ellis.