Finding your next role can be tricky. And you are bound to get rejected a lot of the time. But how much work have you put into it?

We have all seen the headlines – those job seekers who have made 2,000 applications and not had a single reply. Which is fine, but with the click of a mouse I can make multiple applications to an agency for multiple jobs. A simple as that.

But is that really looking for a job? For agencies that are deluged with candidates and under serious pressure. If they see somebody apply for a Managing Director and a Receptionist role, are they going to treat any of those applications seriously?

So how hard do you work at your job search? 

  • Do you draw up a list of roles that you think you would be suited for, and then a list of employers you would ideally like to work for? 
  • Do you approach those employers directly, or even find people who work there, connect with them and ask for their help? 
  • Once you have submitted an application, do you ever follow up?

It is competitive out there. Unless you treat your search for a job as a job, and something that you need to work as hard as you ever worked for your previous employer, then it may be difficult.

It is why some people find it so easy to get into another role, where others struggle for months. Roll up your sleeves, get professional about it and sooner or later the tide will turn.

Or contact us and see if we can put you on the right road. 

We speak to lots of jobseekers who we are supporting through outplacement.

Quite often when we speak to them after an interview, they feel slightly frustrated by their performance. That they have not quite got the message across. Which is why they nearly always benefit from interview coaching.

You see the problem is, many of us are not great storytellers. At interview, many are also really quite nervous. And under pressure, especially if you really want the job because you need it or it is the job of your dreams.

So instead of communicating clearly what you can bring to the organisation, you tend to go on a bit of a ramble, get a bit disconnected and add in a few too many details. And you can sense that the recruiter is getting bored and wished that you would get to the point.

And that is precisely what I recommend to anyone in an interview. Get to the point as quickly as possible and ask the interviewer if they would like further qualification.

Do not be tempted to paint an elaborate picture. Because you’ll probably end up in a Ronnie Corbett style monologue, going down all sorts of blind alleys and leaving your audience unimpressed.

Much better to get the key message across and add more information afterwards, than trying to tell your life story in one go.

I see it many times. 

People have put together their CV quite badly but they have spent ages agonising over their personal profile, before starting on the CV proper. 

The profile is not that important, but the contents of the CV are. So get that part fixed to begin with. The personal profile, on the other hand, is the part of your CV that can be adapted to various different situations. And certainly can be adapted to ensure it matches the needs of any job role you are looking at.

The reason for this is that recruiters and artificial intelligence will often scan through personal profiles to check whether they match job requirements and specifications. 

The personal profile does not need to be fixed, and while we would not recommend producing 26 different CVs for 26 different job applications, this small part of your CV can easily be adapted. 

So do not fret about it to begin with, you’re probably going to change it later in any case. 

Plenty of jobseekers do not show their age on their CV. And there is no reason for them to do so.

So we looked through a CV a few weeks ago that was actually quite well laid out. There was some decent qualifications there, although they gave no hint as to when schools and colleges were attended, so we turned to the job history.

Again this stopped in the year 2000, nothing earlier than that was shown. We have no problem with any of this, as I say any jobseeker is perfectly entitled to take any reference to their age off the CV to prevent age discrimination.

Except, having so carefully covered their tracks I look at their email address: joebloggs1957@gmail.com (apologies to the real Joe Bloggs, I have changed the name). I did not need Hercule Poirot to help me out, but I reckon John was born before 1958.

It is amazing how careful you can be and then miss the blindingly obvious isn’t it?

Look, I know that jobs are not to a penny at the moment. I know that the market is not flooded with opportunity.

But nevertheless, some of you are so keen to get a job that you’re scared of disagreeing with the recruiter, even when what they say is plainly wrong.

Sometimes this can be a test, to throw something controversial into the questioning and see how you react. Whether you stand up for yourself and what you believe or whether you simply roll over.

At other times you may fundamentally disagree with everything that is being said to you. However desperate you are for a job, would you feel comfortable in an organisation like that? Would they respect you more if you stood up to them and said you felt it was wrong.

We don’t suggest you pick an argument in every interview, but if you know something is plainly wrong then tactfully suggest that you don’t quite agree with everything. It might be a test or they might be a nightmare to work for.

Good luck!

Or at least get your lighting right.

Online interviews are becoming more common and more important. First impressions really count. So often I start online coaching with call from a dark murky figure against a brightly lit window. If I’m lucky the camera is pointing at their head if I’m not it misses them altogether.

Online interviews really are important. Practice them carefully beforehand, preferably video calling with a friend and asking them to take a screenshot. That way you can see whether you look like a professional TV presenter or someone stuck in the back of a cupboard in low light.

I know that many complain that their laptop does not have a great camera, or they can only use their phone. But if you are serious about your career, and recognise that this is an important part of the process, then invest £20 in a decent WebCam. Then set yourself up somewhere in the house with decent lighting and a plain background. It will pay real dividends.

Get the lighting right and you can shine.

It is quite simple “I’m 99% certain I’ll accept the offer”.

Having recruited for employers all over the world for many years, I can tell you that I know exactly what that phrase means. I have heard it perhaps 300 times, and on the balance of probabilities that would mean that 297 of that 300 have accepted the job.

Except in reality they never do. Because a candidate who is 99% in, is 100% out.

A bit like a football really. A ball that is 99% over the goal line is 100% not a goal. On the flipside a tennis ball that is 99% out is 100% in.

So 99% means to me that they are preparing you for the 1% doubt. That they quite like the idea of the job but they know they won’t accept it. But they don’t have the guts to tell you today, so they’ll leave that lingering doubt in your mind overnight until they call you tomorrow. Or go quiet on you.

If you want to reassure a recruiter that you are going to accept their job (but you possibly have no intention of doing so because you are seeing three other employers in the meantime) then do not use the 99% word. They have heard it all before. 

In fact we are much happier with lower percentages, because they are much more genuine and quite often end in a good outcome. Somebody who is 90% certain may well accept, and someone who is 80/20 will accept most of the time.

So I’ll never believe 99%. But I might give you 110% for effort. 

On your CV? Completely. (Though there are ways of telling the truth that are better than others)

But when you’re dealing with third parties, especially agencies, then you do not need to share everything. Having operated in recruitment ourselves for many years, let me tell you a typical scenario that can really harm your chances of getting your ideal job.

The typical scenario goes something like: you are a very capable candidate who has two or three opportunities on the go. You have been offered a job, or are strongly in the running for one, through an agency who has introduced you.

You mentioned casually that you are also in the running for a job with XYZ Ltd. Perhaps you have been introduced to them by somebody else or even a friend.

Here is the agency’s dilemma. They know you are a strong candidate for one of their clients, but also for someone who they are not dealing with. Agencies range from the very ethical, that is like how we always wanted to behave, to the very “sharp”. 

A sharp operator will not be able to let this go. As soon as they have put down the phone they will make the following judgement, you are 50-50 between their client and XYZ Ltd. If they can get one of their candidates into XYZ Ltd, they have the potential to make two placements. Clearly it will halve your chances of getting your next role, but for the sharp operator that is not their concern.

It happens a lot more than you would believe. And especially in the current climate, where new roles are difficult to come by. If they can get a lead on someone who is definitely recruiting, many will follow it up.

So my advice to you is simple, if you want to be open and upfront with an agency you trust by all means tell them you have a couple of opportunities in the pipeline. But never reveal the identity. 

The harder they push you, the more you know they want to contact the client themselves. You are under no obligation to tell them, and if I were you I would insist that the role is extremely confidential and it would be a breach of trust to reveal the identity. End of conversation.

In the meantime good luck, I’m delighted you have two job opportunities.

The question I’m often asked – ”Why did they get the job when they’re nowhere near as good at it as me?”

Because many people who are brilliant at their jobs are rubbish at communicating it. They don’t understand that what comes to them naturally, is difficult for others to comprehend.

And they don’t understand that if you can learn to communicate your skills, can explain exactly what makes you different and why you have better results, you will get noticed.

It has always been one of our biggest frustrations that the best operators sometimes don’t get the career breaks they deserve. And we have often looked on in amazement at those who cannot perform at that level rise rapidly through the ranks, impressing everybody at each stage of the interview process. They can’t manage but they can interview well.

Learn the secret to this process and your career will take off. Pretend that it makes no difference and it will hold you back.

Talk to us, we can tell you how.

On the one hand they aren’t really. If you know what you’re doing.

But most of us are not broadcasters. And the only video calls we ever really make are with our mates, and never really trying to impress a new employer.

And how many interviews have you ever had to do with the family running around in the background? Or with the stereo blaring from upstairs?

Because many of our jobseekers have to overcome these hurdles and more. How do you get the lighting right? How do you dress? How do you lead and guide the conversation rather than a series of grunts and Yes’s and No’s?

We know that the online coaching that we do makes a massive difference. So do our jobseekers. 

In any interview first impressions count. An online interview is not an informal chat – get it right, understand the principles involved and you will be way ahead of the competition. And whatever background or experience you have, you will stand a much better chance.

In today’s market, as we all try to keep apart from each other, recruitment still has to go on. And if you can master the online interview then you will find yourself back in work much quicker than most.