Out of Sight, Out of Mind
I recently sat down with a friend, a very highly paid executive in his late 40s. He still has energy and hunger, which along with a stellar track record, is a strong set of attributes for his job search. I have worked with him in the past to review job opportunities. One big difference in his current search versus past searches: His phone is NOT ringing off the hook. In the past, recruiters, executive recruiters and the like would contact him directly and beg him to interview. Easily, there would be five or six opportunities to review, but not anymore! Did his skills deteriorate? No. Can he still perform? Yes.
So, what’s going on? Pretty simple, there are fewer people recruiting with fewer job opportunities: that’s obvious. The big change is that whoever is recruiting is looking in places where he is not: LinkedIn and other professional networking sites. Quite frankly, he’s out of sight, out of mind. If he can’t be found, he won’t be contacted. This is actually a two-way street. Many people he worked with have moved on to bigger and better roles and can easily see him as a great candidate, but he doesn’t know where they are.
Solution: Get onto your favorite professional network, start searching your history and see where your former co-workers have ended up. (College grads: See where people who graduated one or two years ahead of you have ended up.)
Back to my friend. We started doing this: “Where is John XXX? Where is Bill YYY”, looking for the places these former co-workers ended up opened up his eyes. He never knew where they ended up, and didn’t know about their roles. We started developing a target list of people to contact. As we saw these companies, we started looking for other connections at these companies, and behold – more great contacts! Some of the companies he found made him think of other companies and behold – even more new contacts!
A moral of the story: People are moving and have moved on. New companies are being formed, perhaps with your former co-workers. It’s easy to lose track of people: out of sight, out of mind.