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The Power of Linkedin for Job Seekers

Quite frequently I receive calls and messages from people searching for a new job, often having been fired or left a company through redundancy.

Before I get into the benefits of Linkedin, I wanted to firstly say that at some time in your career, unless you are extremely lucky, you might find yourself without a job and it will seem very strange to say the least.

One of the most shocking findings from the conversations I’ve had is that people don’t really understand the power of Linkedin.

In many ways, it should be seen as your shop window. I mean that.

Creating the right profile, one which will be found by other users of Linkedin is so important. A good photo, words which sum up who you are and what you’ve been doing and for whom. Don’t overcook it. Keep the summary truthful and avoid industry speak.

Something which won’t necessarily occur to someone looking for a role or even having a Linkedin profile is that many hiring companies and recruitment firms will search the platform from the back-office perspective.
When Linkedin is searched by companies and recruiters, the options for search is still quite limited, so it’s really important to be as clear as possible with your intentions. A Job headline such as Seeking opportunities or Searching for my next role or Considering my options, can all be search strings used by recruiters to find the most active job seekers on the platfom.

Make sure that they know roughly where you reside too. There’s no point withholding this information because geography also plays a big part in the search criteria. Consider your nearest Linkedin Town or City and use it.
When I say, Linkedin Town or City, not every town is featured, just the major ones. For example, if you live in Crawley, West Sussex, your Linkedin town will be Redhill, the same for Horsham and surrounding areas.

Here are some tips for creating greater visibility for you when seeking out your next role;

Within Linkedin, use the search bar and enter the role of the likely hiring manager in the chain of command or go two tiers above your role if you wish. For example, if you are a Sales Manager, type in Sales Director and then use the search functions to be specific about who you are looking for.
The drop-down menus include Connections, Locations and Current Companies. The most important ones here are Location and People.

Linkedin gives you options as shown here;

Start narrowing the search down by choosing People.

Then look at the locations and add locations where you’d like to work, (select as many as you wish). If they don’t appear by typing them in, remember what I said about major Town and Cities. It’s best to look at a map for major towns within a radius.

Once you’ve selected your criteria, hit the return or enter key and soon you will have a list of people in front of you.
Now the fun begins.
This is the time consuming but valuable part of your hard work.

View the profile of the person or company one at a time. Click the profile name to view the whole profile. Then follow them from the follow option, found in a drop-down menu of the More button. It’s important to follow because they are notified by Linkedin that you’ve started following them.

Then use the back button in your browser to return to the list of the main search. Click on the next one and so forth. Keep going down the list, which usually has about 10 people listed per page.
After a while of repeating this exercise, (which is boring and repetitive), you will finally have visited quite a lot of profiles of people who might be responsible for appointing someone like you anytime soon. They will see that you’ve looked at their profile and in turn, they will look at yours. Human nature creates this intrigue.

Now, suddenly you have more or less everyone looking at your profile and if by chance they like the look of your skills, background and relevance, they might simply invite you to connect or make contact with you.

DO NOT send connection requests. The platform may suspend your account if you are rejected by the person you are approaching to be connected with. DO NOT send Connection requests. The odd request is ok, but too many will kill your account.

Instead, make sure you follow their profile, it’s much safer and no limits.

Good luck with improving your visibility, I know for sure that some people have been found this way. Not only is it fee-free for the employer, but it might also open a door, either now or later.

Keep watching this blog for future tips. Good luck, I hope this insight helps with your general understanding of Linkedin and I wish you well with your endeavours.

Make sure you’re on my radar for Housebuilding opportunities; Visit;

Speak properly, or else

A couple of years ago I was listening to a podcast in which someone introduced themselves as a Phone Phobia Counsellor.

I listened with interest as the majority of recruitment is oral, certainly after gaining attention via messaging, often in writing.

Recently I have been listening to the radio more often, as a consequence of travelling for hours on motorways to meet candidates and clients.

I am genuinely disappointed with not only some presenters of radio shows, but also their phone-in guests. When adults can’t pronounce their T’s it becomes very irritating and unnecessary. I am forced to switch off.

One of the last irritations was a discussion on LBC radio when a political advisor couldn’t manage say ‘strategy’ or ‘party’ correctly.

Stra-a-gee and par -ee.

Who is influencing these degenerates?

Why is so difficult for people to speak without using phrases such as;

You know? Like, So, D’ya know what? Er, Can I get

Known as Discourse markers, these annoying pauses during a conversation are habitual and need to be erased from the dialogue. I believe that we are falling into a trap. Only this week, one of my clients called me and said that he had ‘reached out’ to someone. What? Reached out? Do you mean that you made contact? I explained that this American term shouldn’t creep into our conversation and if it continued, I would change my accent and speak like an American with a whole bunch of stuff included!

It seems that we are being bombarded from all angles with illiterate dunces who can’t speak or string a sentence together, with the added Americanism thrown in.

Hiring. Since when did we hire people? Maybe hiring a taxi or hiring a wedding suit, but when did hiring replace the word appointing or appointed or appoint or recruiting? We’re hiring! She’s been hired.

Next, we shall be filling up with Gas, no doubt.

This subject has been well covered in the press and on the radio a few years ago, so there’s nothing new here. What is new is that I am becoming irritated by it.

Should you find yourself sitting opposite me in a meeting, I shall abruptly suspend the meeting if I hear too many annoyances, whether you are a client or a candidate. It won’t be a friend because I don’t have any.

Directors get booted

Staff are performance managed when they’re not quite fitting in – ever hopeful of significant improvement. On the other hand, directors just get booted.

Over the last 17 years of headhunting, I have received many calls from directors who have been booted by their employers.

Often, newly booted directors will talk about the fact that they wish to find something new, but there’s no rush. This usually means that they are working their notice either at home or have arranged a ‘compromise deal’, or ‘settlement agreement’. The same scenario by different names.

A settlement agreement is essentially a sum of money to shut you up and not make a claim against the company for unfair dismissal since you are likely to be leaving the same day they decide your face no longer fits with the organisation.

When your face doesn’t fit anymore, take the money and move on. Negotiate the best deal based upon the likelihood of finding something within a reasonable timescale within your discipline. Compromise deals vary depending upon the length of service and other factors.

There is little point dressing it up as something else because everyone knows everyone and an HR reference doesn’t go far when senior bods speak to each other.

When you face this shocking event, it is essential to take some time-out to reflect, before rushing into the next job.

If the timing works and there is a job just around the corner for you, great – go for it.

Think long and hard about the culture of the business you have just left and whether you’d like to repeat the same. It’s easy to think that the speed of returning to any job is important, often a decision made in haste will be regretted later.

Your value hasn’t changed. You are still the same person you were last week or last month or last year. What has changed is the company’s view on whether you fit their organisation anymore? The business might be out-growing you.

Sometimes it’s better to be out of a business that doesn’t value your contribution and join a business that would embrace your experiences with open arms.

Try to be realistic about your situation. It’s much better to say I’ve been booted out because they had other ideas and we were not aligned in our thinking than to say you’ve resigned suddenly and working notice from your garden. It might be that you have resigned and have been forced to work from home, as part of a confidentiality issue, but honesty is the best policy when speaking to a new employer.

Companies make changes all of the time at Director level and it’s not a big deal. You won’t be the only Director on the planet who’s taken a whack of cash and considered your new options. Few directors leave a business, many fall out of favour.

When it happens to you, there’s an automatic feeling of failure. Most of the changes are personality clashes, not performance issues. Sometimes a combination of both, but that being the case, why do so many get back to work relatively quickly afterwards? 

I hope this insight has been helpful and that you remember my observations.

Things you didn’t know about some recruiters.

I am fortunate. I had a successful and rewarding career before entering into the world of recruitment. I found myself in the hands of recruiters and ‘headhunters’ (if you can call them that) soon after a swift cull of directors whilst working with Crest Nicholson. Both regions saw the departure of Managing Directors and Sales Directors in one swoop over three months. In some cases, employees had served over 30 years with the company, but their faces and mine no longer fitted-in with the new regime.

Headhunters v Recruiters

There are still many people who don’t understand the significant differences between Headhunters and Recruiters, which will become crystal clear in a few minutes of reading this. The entry barriers to recruitment are very low. In fact, so low that the industry attracts all sorts of chancers. There is a perception about recruiters which falls into the used-car sales person or estate agent profiles.

Your role as an employee is to navigate these recruiters and find someone you can trust or at least give the benefit of the doubt, because fundamentally they can cause much damage and in my case, divert your career onto a different track altogether.

Contingency recruitment

CV trading I call it. A term I stole from Mitch Sullivan. (CV spot-traders) It’s where you give your CV to a recruiter and they start trading with it. Until the recent GDPR tightening of data, CV’s were arriving in email boxes over the place, willy-nilly, often the same CV from multiple sources. When you run a department and have your inbox filling up with CV’s from multiple recruiters, it can be a time-wasting distraction.

Even if the CV has relevance, where do you begin? Which recruiter do you respond to and surely all of the recruiters involved will be chasing their fees for introduction. A complicated business for hiring Managers and Directors.

In the meantime, the poor candidate who has their CV going all over the globe has no idea of the potential problems they face.


The other big problem with recruiters is their knowledge of your industry, job role or specialism. They are reliant upon keywords for most things. They won’t have a clue about the culture of each company or indeed how it all fits together. Unless you find a credible recruiter you’re in a deep pool with lots of sharks.

Diverting your career

That’s right, diverting. A strong term but nonetheless true. 

I have seen first hand what can happen when a suitably qualified candidate is offered a job at a new company to then be hounded by another recruiter to try to divert them to their client company. It all starts with leaking information. Walls have ears, or as suggested during war times, Loose-Lips Might Sink Ships. Confidentiality is difficult when you deal with amateurs.

Fees at risk

Contingency recruiters will fight tooth and nail for their fees. They often don’t have any real relationship with the company they are hoping to place you with, it’s just a CV speculative approach and throwing mud at the wall. Be careful with comments such as; I’ll get you an interview with X,Y, Z company and then you hear nothing or some BS about they’ve been told it’s on hold or an internal appointment. What’s probably happening, is that someone like me is working in a partnership arrangement with the client and no other agencies will get a look-in, therefore you have absolutely no chance of meeting their ‘client’ who probably has never heard of them or has no desire to work with them.

Exclusive Candidates

Imagine you are a brand of rice. Why would you only go to one supermarket to sit on a shelf?

When an agency says; will you work with me exclusively, you’re actually closing the door to most companies. There is simply no reason on earth to give one agency control over your career. By all means, as is the case for many of my candidates, who say; “I’d like to find my next role via you” as I understand the industry, job roles and companies so well.

However, I always respond with; you must view the whole market, not a segment and that means looking at all roles with all companies.

Headhunting or Retained/Executive Search

Headhunting is one of life’s mysteries. Nobody really understands what happens or indeed what it all means. Retained Search or Executive Search or Headhunting are terms used to describe a particular service performed either quite badly or very successfully by someone able to find the best candidates for their client. Always, the headhunter will be retained and paid partially in advance to search and select the best people. The result of the search has more to do with the Headhunters ability to demonstrate their trust and knowledge of the sector, of their client and the reasons to consider the proposition. It is quite rare for a Headhunter to work in conjunction with anyone else or other agency as it would create an obvious conflict. Moreover, if the headhunter has any credibility, they will always meet their candidates. How effective they are after this is really up to you to fathom out.

Question the recruiter

What’s their background? How long have they been recruiting in your industry? What do they know about your specific job role or the culture of your company? Not much.

Recruiters have many bad habits;

They don’t call you back – (should be at the top of the list) Let’s explore the reasons;

  1. They have bad news and don’t really know how to convey the bad news to you.
  2. They have gone fishing with your CV and the companies they have targeted haven’t taken the bait.
  3. They are too busy sending emails and tweets.
  4. They have phone phobia.
  5. They advertise roles above your job status title to attract candidates for a job role which they are hoping to muscle-in on. i.e They see a job for Sales Manager with a company, so they advertise the same job in a different way to attract candidates. When they have the candidates, they bombard the company who they believe the opening is with, or worse still, they have a conversation with a disgruntled employee of a company who has suggested that they would consider a move and behind the scenes they start lining up people for the role. It’s called ‘back-filling’ jobs – it happens all the time in contingency recruitment.

Money is important – you aren’t

Making a living in contingency recruitment is tough. It can be very rewarding but also the most frustrating job on the planet.

What I really dislike are the disingenuous recruiters and headhunters. They see you as money, not a human-being with a career decision to make.

I have seen and heard some really slippery slime-balls in this sector. They are the types who call you up as if you’re best friends. It doesn’t take long to hear why they are calling and furthermore, once they have found out enough information, they are off again.

How to spot a recruiter who doesn’t know about the industry they serve.

A few questions will soon uncover the level of competence;

  1. When they call you about an opportunity, ask them about their client and the team or the structure of the dept. Who runs the dept, how long have they been with the company, how many in the team, reason for the vacancy, how long has the recruiter been recruiting for the company and the department?
  2. If the recruiter is still connected (unlikely) ask them whether they are the only recruiter acting for the the company?
  3. Before sending the recruiter your CV or agreeing to listen to the proposition, ask the recruiter about the job role and why they think you might be a good candidate.

I could go on, but I would imagine you will have already discovered that the recruiter either knows little about you or their client by the end of question 1.

Jobs Boards

I hate them. You probably hate them too.

This really is throwing darts with a blindfold.

Upload your CV and wait. Don’t hold your breath. You might be discovered by a recruiter or you might just have opened a can of worms.

Recruiters pay for access to Jobs Board databases. If your CV is the database, they now have a copy. If they have a role which might suit you, who knows, you might be lucky enough to be contacted.

When you apply for a role, the same thing happens. Your CV arrives straight into the recruiters inbox. Possibly hundreds of recruiters.

It’s a mine field. Good luck.

About the author

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Simon Wilkins

Simon Wilkins

The Headhunter

07554 234 567