Managing Your Career As a “Passive” Candidate

A lot of you will have started 2020 with a clear goal of finding a new role – new year, new career! But arguably the majority of HR professionals should always have at least one eye on the job market.

Indeed, in many ways, if you are not an ‘active’ candidate, then you are almost certainly a ‘passive’ candidate. That is to say, that aside from those of you who have started a permanent role in the last 12-18 months, most savvy HR professionals should be taking control of their career management. These days, company restructures can be announced out of nowhere and changes to your role are often the norm. With competition for the best roles at an increasing high it pays to be on the front foot when managing your career.

Here are 5 things to consider as a passive candidate:

1. Get to know a couple of great Specialist Recruiters. It is worth building a solid relationship with one or two credible and experienced specialist recruiters in HR. This doesn’t mean that you will be speaking to them every week, or even every month. It might only be a coffee once every 3 or 4 months, but in that way, you stay close to what is happening in your particular area of speciality and the Recruitment Consultant will get to know you really well. The strength of these relationships cannot be underestimated. Throughout that time, you will build a ‘wish list’ of companies that you’d ideally love to work for, and at the appropriate time, they will introduce you to a discreet number of contacts at some (or all) of those places.

2. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. There is little or no point having a LinkedIn Profile if it is not up to date. Try to avoid having a carbon copy of your CV; instead have a profile that complements it highlighting a few high level responsibilities. Some strong recommendations from peers and previous Managers also don’t go unnoticed. Don’t worry about your current employer becoming suspicious about your up-to-date profile; nowadays it is common practice to maintain a healthy and accurate LinkedIn profile.

3. Keep up the Networking. This means attending relevant and interesting breakfast and lunch events where you get to hear an expert in their field speak and share ideas with other HR professionals. Additionally, make sure you dedicate time to catching up with old colleagues, referrals from others etc… the diversity of one’s network cannot be underestimated. Not only does this add weight to your leadership qualities, but a high degree of job opportunities come from exactly these means.

4. You do not have all the control. Know that even if you are not doing any of these things and have no plans to move in the coming few years, there are greater plans at play, particularly in larger corporates. These days, it is not uncommon for top performers to face redundancy through restructuring or off-shoring.

5. Knowledge is power. By raising your head above the parapet every now and then you can determine how well you are faring in your current position. A little market evaluation and self-analysis goes a long way in terms of benchmarking your salary in comparison to external opportunities and where you might be in the hierarchy of your current organisation. The information you glean from learning about what is happening in the HR recruitment market will stand you in good stead during salary reviews and appraisals/performance reviews.