When you go to the store to buy detergent, have you or anyone you know ever picked up two or three different products, looked at the list of ingredients, and said to yourself or out loud, “Hmm. The chemicals and their interaction are going to cause my laundry to become whiter than this other brand.”
People purchase detergent based on anything other than the list of chemicals or ingredients. They purchase it because their husband, wife, partner, mother, father or friend told them to buy it. Maybe they made the decision based on price or because they had a coupon. No one has ever reasoned that the interrelationship between the chemicals in one product yields a superior result to those in another.
These companies have built a brand that causes you to choose them. That is what people need to do, too, in order to be chosen and sought out.
A 2018 article about CIO compensation points to their seven-figure compensation packages, including salary, bonus, stock options and more, and begs the question: How did they land these positions? Some are promoted internally, but often, these men and women are sought out by their firms or the search firms they hire to evaluate talent for them based upon their experience, qualifications and perceived value as a leader.
How are they found?
When I started in search, companies worked with search firms and ran substantial ads in an effort to locate talent. Newspapers nationally had a key day that ads needed to appear in (usually Sunday) when companies would run huge ads to attract resumes, and job hunters would scour print ads to find jobs to apply to. It seems so weird today when ads run online 24/7 and people can apply at any time.
As I recall, it would be common for me to walk into several hundred resumes on a typical Monday morning from job hunters who wanted my attention. Very few were worth the six seconds or fewer that I might take looking at each.
Recruiters, both corporate and search, ask for referrals from their network of contacts of people who are either qualified or who might be helpful. Individuals providing recommendations and referrals of others has always been an excellent way to receive leads for assignments. Complementing that is the idea of having a public body of work that puts you in the position of being found as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn or Google.
What happens when the need to promote yourself, your knowledge, and your career runs up against corporate policy about how you use social media and how you can promote yourself as a speaker or conference moderator?
From what I’ve seen in my experience, some firms are taking the action of limiting their staff’s ability to be visible for fear that they will be contacted by search firms and others and be “poached” (stolen away) to another organization. These employees are still permitted to have LinkedIn profiles, but they may not be permitted to write articles or books in any medium. They may also not be permitted to speak publicly, let alone be interviewed by media of any form.
Sadly, most employees only find out about the policy after they are hired, and are now limited by their organization in ways they did not know, nor consciously agree to. It is now time for job hunters, particularly senior professionals, to add a question to their repertoire of interview questions asked at an interview:
“If I were to join, what restrictions, if any, will you place upon my professional and online visibility?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are there policies that limit what I can disclose in my LinkedIn profile? Will I be limited in my ability to write articles for industry publications or speak at a conference or be interviewed by media based upon my expertise?
Unless you hear, “We do nothing to impede your public visibility” (or words to that effect), you now have a choice. Should you proceed with the interviews and allow you career to be hamstrung by my employer, or do you politely say, “I don’t find that acceptable?”
Some firms will explain that they are attempting to prevent their employees from being contacted about opportunities for fear that they will leave. One thing I know is that employees don’t leave work they like, jobs that pay them well and managers who treat them with respect all that quickly. Rather, they leave jobs because something breaks down in the employer/employee expectations over the course of time that makes an employee think to themselves, “Maybe I should look for something else,” or “If the right opportunity lands in my lap, I’ll leave.”
As I often say, the person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest or the hardest working, although those are great qualities to have. People get ahead by being alert to opportunities. Anything an employer does to limit your ability to be “found” or develop a reputation as an expert hinders you. Remember that before committing to a new firm.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2019, 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
him Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.
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