Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Linkedin tips

Undoubtedly, www.linkedin.com is becoming increasingly important in any jobsearch.  Below is an excellent blog post outlining just how you can use Linkedin to your advantage and ensure that your details are found:


Do you agree with me that Linkedin is one resource that all jobseekers must utilise?

Friday, 21 January 2011

All change...

One of the most inspirational conference talks I have ever witnessed was by Wayne Hemmingway, founder of the legendary  'Red or Dead' brand and now successful designer of many things (http://www.hemingwaydesign.co.uk).

His message was essentially that with the upheaval of the last few years nothing will ever be the same. You can either accept this and be part of the new reality or else bury your head in the sand pretending it isn't happening as your company slowly loses business.

I was reminded of Wayne Hemmingway this evening when reading a link on www.forensicfocus.com where there was a discussion about using new technology to help with job searching.  Reading through the responses I got the distinct impression that this wasn't something that the computer forensics world was ready to embrace and so posted my thoughts which I have copied below:

"In my view - whether we like it or not - this, along with utilising other forms of social media, is the way forward for jobseeking. Jobseekers increasingly tend to be less interested in going to printed media and even job boards (are the days of the job board dead - there are some in recruitment circles who would argue it is heading that way).

If you are a jobseeker it is about utlising these new forms of communication to stand out from the crowd and deliver your message to the right person.

I am no expert in social media recruitment (yet) but if I was actively looking for a new position I would certainly be using innovative sites such as www.branchout.com and www.weedle.com. If you haven't come across Weedle yet it is quick and easy to use as you can simply connect with Facebook or LinkedIn, transferring your career details without needing to complete a lengthy form.

This is the key to these new networking/career sites as who wants to fill in a long, tedious application form duplicating information? Those days are surely gone never to return?"

Do you agree with me that there is no going back?

Finally, I am looking forward to tomorrow as our friends at the number one UK Job board www.jobsite.co.uk (as sponsors of Portsmouth FC) have invited me to Fratton Park to watch the Mighty Leeds United recover from the midweek defeat to take the three points.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Clarity in New York

Why do we over-complicate recruitment?

I am just back from a retained assignment in New York which reminded me how simple recruitment really should be.

The hiring company is recruiting an ED Director.  We initially spent a full day meeting employees at all levels and discussing in great detail exactly what the company needed both in terms of technical and cultural fit.  Employees were very open about the difficulties facing the organisation and spoke in very clear terms about the negatives as well as the positives enabling us to gain an excellent understanding of the reality.

Following these meetings we utilised our network to identify the very best candidates and after initial phone interviews flew out to the US for face to face meetings before submitting an excellent shortlist of jobseekers to the hiring manager.

If only all recruitment assignments could be so straightforward.  In previous blogs I have ranted about the ridiculous nature of contingency recruitment, but with serious recruitment (ie, retained) I think the key point is the briefing phase.  When the recruiter has a really clear view of what is needed and a genuinely clear grasp of the details, then we can easily go out to our niche market and quickly identify and recruit the right people.

Have you ever gone to an interview unsure if the role/organisation was actually for you and then left the meeting enthused?  Or even not bothered to attend an interview as you really weren't convinced and the recruiter didn't excite you about the opportunity?  Trust me: when a recruiter has been properly briefed and believes in the opportunity they should be able to enthuse you as we believe in it so passionately.

Reading what I have written above it all seems so simple and obvious, but then recruitment should be, shouldn't it?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Cultural issues

A new computer forensics graduate we placed almost three months ago was last week told that he hadn't passed his probation at a major consulting firm.

The Company has been excellent about it - as you would expect from a global market leader -  and his manager spoke very highly about his ability but it just wasn't quite the right fit at this time.  However, of course it feels like the end of the world for the person who has been released and right now a million miles away from the autumn day he moved to London with high hopes of a fantastic forensics career.

The reality is that this sort of experience can often be a blessing, although at the time it can feel like the end of the world.  In my recruitment career I have seen so many people leave a role feeling disconsolate and certain that they will never be a success wherever they go - and they were absolutely right!!  Not really, just a little joke...of course that isn't the case at all  - well, except in very rare examples - and I am a great believer in different people fitting into different cultures, even in a discipline as technical as computer forensics.  Many of these people have gone on to develop outstanding careers within forensics with a company where the culture is right for them.

In my experience, one of the most common examples of this is when somebody first leaves Law Enforcement for the private sector.  After a couple of months they know the position isn't right but they feel they can't move on so soon as it almost feels like failure.  Almost always, they do leave and then settle into the next organisation for a long period of time.  It is like personal relationships in a way where after the breakdown of a long relationship there can be a period of experimentation before forming another serious relationship  - oh dear, am I of all people really using a relationship analogy?  Time to end the post I think before I start to move on to other areas I have no idea about - it could be fashion next!

Anyway, if you do leave your position whether due to your own choice or otherwise, please do try to see it as an opportunity, however bleak it can feel at the time.  I would love to hear your stories of how a move that felt terrible at the time turned out to be fantastic for your career....

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A better day

After yesterdays little rant, I was, as always, cheered up by reading the latest blog from the very funny GirlieGeek: http://digitaldetective.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/the-dickens-of-a-tale

On the subject of amusing CF blogs I also laughed out loud at this very amusing interview with Geoff Fellows here: 

In particular, I love his response when asked about whether the glut of computer forensics courses at Universities is a good thing:

"If a Forensic Computing course is offered by a University and it actually teaches relevant current forensic computing, by which I mean at a technical level, in detail, and on a basis of practicality and real-life forensic computing work now, in 2010 then, Yes, of course that would be a good thing.

If a Forensic Computing course is offered by a University in order to cash in on the word ‘Forensic’ and CSI and that sort of stuff, and it is taught by a motley collection of retired system administrators who used to be really good at Cobol programming or who once understood Slotted Aloha or who used to run the Cambridge Ring and who really have no understanding at all of investigative work of any kind then No, they are an excrescence on the face of the planet – they are “a horror, a proverb and a byword amongst all the peoples” (Deuteronomy 28:37)."

Quite so!

This lunchtime I am visiting the impressive Emirates Stadium (pictured) for the very first time to see The Mighty Leeds United take on Arsenal in the FA Cup.

I am not confident but then again I didn't expect us to knock out our friends from across The Pennines this time last year so who knows.

Whatever the result, it is always fun to catch up with some of my Leeds supporting friends who are making a weekend of it in London - especially the three Norwegian brothers I met at the poker table in Vegas who always fly over for the big games!

Finally, after the triumph in The Ashes have you heard this old joke doing the rounds?  What do you call an Australian man with a bottle of champagne?  A barman....

Friday, 7 January 2011

Shoot me please....

I don't get angry too often but today I really do feel like screaming!  Mainly at myself I should add: I really should know better...

Luckily, most of my work tends to be retained recruitment.  Here, the recruiter has exclusivity on the vacancy and can work logically and systematically to find the best talent in the marketplace.  This is the way to find the very best people in any niche, is cost-effective and ensures that a fully briefed recruiter portrays your organisation in the very best light.  There is a real partnership - genuine commitment on both sides - and everyone wins.

Most importantly, the recruiter can identify and recruit the very best jobseekers saving time/money for the Client - which, after all, is why you work with recruiters!

Then, there is contingency recruitment.  Why on earth do I still sometimes get involved in contingency recruitment assignments? 

For those of you not aware of contingency recruitment, it is when a company gives a certain vacancy to a number of recruiters who then go away and find people to submit for the role.  If you have ever had four/five recruiters talk to you about the same role this is contingency recruitment (they will also probably call you 'mate' and ask you about your plans for the weekend with the familiarity of a close family member) .  For the recruiter, unless you find the person who takes the position you don't get paid.

It is quite frankly the most ridiculous and ineffective way of finding the right person to fill a vacancy and populated with stupid, unprofessional cowboy recruiters involved in a race to send CV's as quickly as possible.  It is real pin the tail on the donkey time.  However, sometimes, I too join this race...WHY (rhetorical question so please don't even think it) !!!

Today was another example of why I really shouldn't be getting involved in this waste of time.  We spoke to a CF professional about a role and as usual gained their written permission before submitting the CV for the role.  Simple and straightforward right?

Oh no.  Not at all.  I found out that another 'recruiter' who hadn't even spoken to the jobseeker submitted the CV a day before us and so has 'ownership' of the person - as they sent the CV first - and so collects the fee.  What this means is that a recruiter can, in theory, just submit every CV they possess for a certain role without speaking to anyone let alone performing any kind of selection process.  Paying a fee for a CV distribution service - madness!

Surely this sort of recruitment is just an exercise in low-level recruiters submitting speculative CV's as quickly as possible.  If you still recruit staff this way I would be very interested to know why as I just don't get it.....