The Back Door job hunting approach
As a Recruiter, the more potential job seekers I connect with the more I realise that most of them simply do not understand the recruitment process and definitely are oblivious to the “Back Door” job hunting approach.
There are two methods of finding employment; the “Front Door” method and the lesser know “Back Door” job hunting approach. Let me tell you about this.
Job hunting advice first steps
- Think about things you’re good at. Job seekers who ask themselves, “What can I do with my degree, my skills, my experience?” are asking the question back to front. A job search should start with YOU, not your CV or Résumé. Let’s be creative! Are you an ideas person? Are you customer orientated and good at solving problems? Can you manage processes and people? Ask yourself these types of questions and then write down what applies to you, because THIS is what YOU are. Most of us don’t think of ourselves as ‘talented’ – but look closer at yourself and you’ll find something to guide you towards the sort of jobs you’ll most enjoy.
- Create a list or even better a mind map of the career options you think you could realistically do and would really enjoy. Don’t limit your thinking at this stage, be creative, be ambitious be visionary. If you want to continue in your given career path, think what would inspire you. If on the other hand, you are looking for a change, then research how others changed into these careers.
- Recruiters spend only seconds reading CV’s or Résumés so what needs to stand out from the rest of the text? Think about the skills you have gained. Are these transferable across many industries? If so, list them down or add these to your ‘mindmap’ to help you identify the types of jobs and industries you are currently most suited to. Get to know yourself and focus on your positives and strengths. Then identify and list what makes you come alive? Ask yourself what really motivates you? Understand your unique skills, abilities, and interests.
- Do your homework, many careers can very sound exciting when you only know a little about them, so make sure you also know the downsides of a job, such as travel, shifts, management style, lack of potential for growth – only then can you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Test the water before taking the plunge, find out what every job entails
- Test your CV or Résumé on Recruiters in your business sector to establish whether they consider yours to be an above-average CV or Résumé. Be cautious here, their feedback may be based upon their personal preferences; they may also be likely to give you a soft statement that will not offend. Take note of feedback that provides examples of what matter to them
- Be unforgettable for the right reasons. Impact comes from strong context keywords, having a clear and logical layout, and detail about what makes you special.
- ALWAYS customize your CV or Résumé for any given job opportunity. Put yourself in the shoes of the Recruiter and the Employer and make sure you’ve emphasized the bits that relate directly to the role.
The “Front Door” method
The majority of Candidates today utilise the ‘Front Door” method of job-hunting. It’s a traditional and probably convenient thing to do. It entails blasting out CVs or Résumés to hundreds of likely Employers, applying online for dozens of jobs listed on job boards.
They may strike lucky occasionally, however, many are disappointed when they fail. Using the Front Door approach to job hunting is playing the numbers game. The expectation is that if Candidates apply to literally hundreds of job opportunities the odds are that one or two may turn into an interview. Bear in mind that Candidates who employ this methodology are one of a large crowd of individuals doing exactly the same. The Monster job site contains 2.8 million CVs or Résumés. Hey, you need to stand out from the crowd! The odds are therefore against these Candidates.
The “Back Door” job hunting approach
The “Back Door” job hunting approach is a methodology that utilises the places that most other job Candidates rarely use, mainly because they are more time consuming and require considerably more follow up. The “Back Door” job hunting approach has, however, better odds and significantly better conversion ratio of application to interview to appointment because Candidate competition is light.
There are different ways to take the “Back Door” job hunting approach, which one is best for you depends upon your current employment status. You need to know someone who knows someone who is in a position to get you an interview, and also to provide third party credibility that you need for a job offer to be made. Networking is one of the best ways to do this. Any contact online or offline is better than no contact when it comes to job hunting. There may be contacts that are in a position to hire you, if not it’s certain that there will be contacts that can provide a door-opening introduction that a CV or Résumé only application simply cannot provide
Here comes the hard work part of the “Back Door” job hunting approach. You must get to know as many people as you can who are working in your current type of job, or one that you hope to move into. It is not necessary to know the people who are actually doing the hiring. Knowing the people who know the people who are doing the hiring is the object. The more contacts you have the more job opportunities present themselves, often before the actual job hits the job boards. Use your social media to do this.
The Back Door approach to job-hunting then becomes effective when you avoid applying with the crowd through job boards or a Company’s website and you make direct contact with the potential Employer [the person who does the hiring for the position]. Contact can be by telephone. Even if the Employer asks you to apply through the Company’s website, it’s OK, you will have made a critical contact, and if the Hiring Manager is impressed by your CV or Résumé you will have positioned yourself above the competition.
The other Back Door job hunting approach if you are unemployed is by accepting a temporary role. Remember, every time you apply for a job using the “Front Door” method your application is probably one in a hundred. It is hard to get noticed in a hundred deep stacks of CVs or Résumés. But when you are already actually on-site and working for the Company, you become a name and a face and have the opportunity to impress. Two dynamic factors support this:
- Immediate availability
- No cost of hire
Your odds make you a favorite for full-time employment. By entering the Employer on a temporary or part-time basis you have the opportunity to demonstrate your worth. Sometimes the best way to get a job is to work yourself into one.
There is another, if not extreme way of taking the “Back Door” job hunting approach – offer to work for free. It is a brave and bold step to make but one an unemployed Candidate may need to take. If you are confident that you have the ability to make a substantial contribution to the Employer’s organization, this can be an extremely effective way to land regular employment. It is important to establish at the outset the fact that you will work for free on a trial basis for a specific given period of time.
As previously stated the “Back Door” job hunting approach can be challenging, hard work and the work for free approach does have a risk. It could be that you work for a given period and you may be let go, without receiving any financial benefit, however, if the Employer is impressed with what they see, they may elevate you to a part-time or full-time position.
The benefit to the Employer is that this approach eliminates the financial element of recruitment failure risk – a very real consideration particularly in small to medium businesses. It negates:
- The cost of advertising a job on an online job board,
- The cost of paying a Recruiter’s fee
- The cost of salary paid during the probationary period
The “Back Door” job hunting approach is well worth considering.