Transcript #149. Who to call first when you need a new job: Recruiter or Career Coach?

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Renata: Who do you call first when you need a job, a recruiter, or a career coach? And what is the difference between recruiters and career coaches? These are some of the questions we addressed in this very interesting interview with two recruiters, which was recorded live a few weeks ago on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook.

Renata: If you want to be part of those live streams, please make sure that you subscribe to my newsletter, and I'll make sure to keep you in touch.

Renata: Career coaches differ from recruiters, but I'm not so sure that professionals understand the difference and the roles we each play in supporting their career progression. So many times, people contact me, and they say, oh, I know you are a head hunter, and I have to correct them and say, I'm not a head hunter. I'm a career coach. And the same happens to recruiters. They are always telling me that people come to them, hoping that the recruiters will solve their career questions. And that's not the case. 

Renata: So listen to this episode to better understand those differences and find out what you need to do before you go job hunting. Here's a little bit about our guests. Jacinta Whelan is a friend of this podcast. You have listened to her before. If you've been following us for a while, there are two previous episodes with her.

Renata: Number 31 called "Me Inc: Opting for short term contracts" and number 78 " Portfolio Career: What is it, and is it for you?" She's a partner with watermark executive search. She's an author, thought leader, and a popular speaker on the concept of entering executives, portfolio careers, and the future ways of working.

Renata: She leads the Melbourne office for Watermark and has over 25 years of experience, starting in leading entering businesses in Hong Kong, New York, and now in Australia.

Renata: And Adam Neyenhuys is a partner in the global search firm True Search based in Sydney. He leads the FinTech and financial services practice for True Search across Australia and New Zealand, as well as the finance practice across the Asia Pacific.

Renata: I hope you enjoy listening to Jacinta, myself, and Adam, and you learn a lot from not only the questions that I had prepared for them but also the questions that we got from those that participated live. It was a very interactive session, and I hope that you enjoyed our conversation.

Renata: I'd like to introduce you to my guests. We have Jacinta Whelan long-time friend of the job hunting podcast. She's been on two previous episodes with us, number 78, called "Portfolio career: What is it, and is it for you?" And prior to that, number 31, "Me Inc. opting for short time contract work quarantine," so this was us trying to address issues of lack of job opportunities.

Renata: You remember that it wasn't that long ago, about a year and a half ago, there were no jobs in the market, and we were trying our best to serve the community of job hunters, and Jac came to support us. She's a partner at Watermark Executive Search, author, thought leader, popular speaker on the concept of entering executives, portfolio careers in the future ways of working. She leads the Melbourne office of watermark and has over 25 years of experience, starting in leading entering businesses in Hong Kong, New York, and Australia.

Renata: And to add a little bit of flavor to our conversation for the first time on the podcast. We have Adam. Ooh, I don't know how to pronounce this. Adam, let me try, Neyenhuys. 

Adam: We'll go with Neyenhuys. 

Renata: Neyenhuys. You know what? 

Adam: That's amazing.

Renata: I did. Check it out before earlier this week.

Renata: And then I forgot. So apologies for me. I went, and I Googled it, I learned it, and then I immediately forgot. So Adam is a partner with the global firm true search and has spent the last 20 years in search and recruitment across the Asia Pacific region. He has worked across all asset classes and companies across the Asia Pacific.

Renata: And he will tell us a little bit more about what he does, which is really interesting as well. And I think lots of you will love to hear about it. 

Renata: Adam, let me start with you first. I want you to tell us a little. About your career and the sort of clients that you serve in Sydney, and you were just telling me you do some global searches, why don't you update us on that first?

Adam: Yeah. Great! Thank you, Renata, thanks for having me this evening. This is great. So I've been in the search and recruitment ecosystem now for 23 years. Fifteen of those have been in Australia, and six or seven of those have been in Asia. So, largely working on C-suite and leadership opportunities and doing executive searches in that space. A number of years ago, and my former colleague of Jacinta, I worked at Watermark together for three and a half years. And I joined a startup in the Australian ecosystem called True Search. And True Search is the globally the fastest-growing executive search firm that's disrupted the traditional search model using a number of different technologies.

Adam: And, we have grown. Since I started 280, we're now over 950 people around the world in 20 locations. Wow. And we do executive searches in purely one space, and that is the growth tech ecosystem, largely backed by venture capital and private equity. And, here in Australia was part of the foundation team in 2020.

Adam: There were two of us, and now there's 11 across Sydney in Melbourne. So, it's growth here at True. And we've seen ourselves go from the 13th largest global search firm to now the sixth. So it's been a very interesting journey. 

Renata: Oh, wonderful. I love to see that because that means that in Australia, we are growing in that space, that, you know, startups and companies that are high growth in tech. I love it! So excellent to have you on board, Adam. 

Renata: Jacinta, we have spoken to you before on the podcast, but give us a little bit of an update on what you have been doing since the pandemic hit. 

Jacinta: Yeah, thanks, Renata. I run watermarks Melbourne office, and watermark in Australia has three service offerings, we do a search business, a traditional executive search, we do a board placement board appointment, and then do interim executive. My particular area of specialty over 25 years is the interim executive. And that is something that is really growing and taking off as, particularly if we're in a tight labor market, people are looking at alternate ways to source talent and this concept of, a pool of people who don't, look for a permanent role but are think you need to work differently is really something that's resonating with the market. 

Renata: Yeah. We address this a lot because of the caliber of my clients. So my clients tend to be over 40. I have a client she's in her thirties, but most of my clients are in their forties, fifties, or sixties.

Renata: And that idea of the flexibility of the interning is so much part of the post-pandemic reflection that people are doing, so we do tend to go back to watch those two episodes quite often, Jacinta, and you step in to do a master class inside my group coaching program. So thank you so much for being so active and such a great advocate for, for what I think is the future for many of us in the corporate sector.

Renata: But today we are here because outside of this public environment of the podcast, we talk about this a lot, about who candidates should call first when they need a job, should they go to a recruiter or should they go to a career coach? What is the difference between recruiters and career coaches? You know, is it clear? Have we helped educate professionals to understand what the difference is and what different types of professionals can come in to support them at other times in their careers what you need to know before you go job hunting to make everything smoother and easier, not just for you but for the other stakeholders involved in your recruitment and selection process?

Renata: So we are going to address this today. I think we're all very warm and ready to go because we really want to address this and let as many people as possible know what the difference is. And I think this is just the beginning of hopefully something that we can partner together, Jacinta and Adam, to talk more about.

Renata: So, who wants to go for it first in answering? What is the role of a recruiter? 

Jacinta: Adam? You take it away. 

Adam: Yeah. Okay. So, in executive search effectively, how it works is we're retained by an organization to go out and find a particular C-suite member with very specific skills, with a very specific background, and quite a defined mandate.

Adam: We spent a lot of time. You know, with our clients up front defining that mandate. So the room for error for us is very small. And so when it comes to us actually approaching the market, usually we're on the front foot, and we're approaching people that are passively looking, in the ecosystem.

Adam: And we are trying to make that into, make that talent more mobile, so that the organization can attract them, you know, in their own time. Now, that is blended quite well with individuals or C-suite members that are in our ecosystem that are looking for the next role and that are more active in the ecosystem.

Adam: And I think this would play into your experiences as well, just since, in the interim space is that those individuals do form part of the job search. And they are people that are available to us and probably make the most noise. I would assume, you know, in our lives on a weekly basis around their next opportunity.

Adam: Now interestingly, you know, we talk about that experience, and the time that that takes to work with those particular individuals, I think if they come well coached, well prepared, they're crisp, they're articulate. They know exactly what the next three to five years looks like and the next five to 10 years beyond that.

Adam: Yeah. You know, that's a real position of strength that defines that immediately available market. You know, when we're actually looking to formulate short lists or long lists, or actually give our clients ideas in the ecosystem. So I think that is easier said than done, however. So usually, what we end up finding is we're more of a counselor. They come to us with their burdens, with their troubles, the why things haven't worked out, why things, what, why who's to blame, you know, where they're going next, and you don't become an agony aren't but it's not a bad statement. Right? I think candidates that come to us that are looking, that have been coached, that have spent time on their strategic plan that has spent time on their career, that understand what's next and understand exactly how we can define and help them, you know, make the transition into the next appointment. Yeah, the difference between those massively it's ma it's stuck. And I can tell you that it's the latter that's far more attractive.

Adam: Yeah. You know, to spending time in 

Renata: yeah. Jac, what would you like to add to that? 

Jacinta: Yeah, I think when executives enter into the market, so if we talk at the moment about not that passive people that are head hunter would tap on the shoulder, but the people who are active in the market, cause that's probably who our audience is tonight. People are out there really looking for their next role. Executives only enter the job market sporadically, you know, and the market's different every time they enter. So we often hear things like, you know, I haven't looked for a job for a long time, or it was different last time I did it.

Jacinta: And that's almost take that off the table because every time you enter the market, you meet the market at the point it's at. And so you need to be match, fit, and understand what does this market look like and how to do I best address this market to Adam's point when people, if they want, cut through. I see the role of where the coach and the executive search firm fit.

Jacinta: When the candidates are looking at us, we're all part of the solution. We're there to help them find their next role. And it's probably our job to better define a bit what role each of us have in that process, in that partnership with them. And I see the coaches very much where you are, they take you on a journey.

Jacinta: You know, it's often where you're a little bit more vulnerable, and you work through, you know, either what hasn't, why you've left an organization and what you want and how has aligned with purpose and passion, and in a COVID environment there's almost not a single person out there that I've spoken to, who isn't thinking about, where do I go? What does my career mean? You know how to engage it. So all of us are thinking that and that work with a coach is the right place to do it because a coach is trained in this. We're not. And you can sort of then, you know, unpack it to pack it back up again so that when you hit the market, you've actually got this product that you're taking and think of yourself for a moment as a product because you get one chance often to interact with the executive search, a consultant or the market, if you're going direct to market and you don't want that one interaction to be where you are still figuring out what you want, and you're sort of bumbling through, and you're essentially hoping that someone else will help you solve the problem of what's next.

Jacinta: And it's no one else's job to solve what's your next job. We're here to partner with you. We're a channel to market to get those roles. But I, think people rush to solution mode, which we're all probably guilty of. And so they really quickly ring their recruiter. I'm in the market. Can I see you?

Jacinta: I'd love to push back a little bit on people and say, take the time to work with a coach so that when you do hit that recruiter conversation, you're really well prepared. And I think you'd do yourself a favor if you did that. I get that people want to run to it quickly. And, you know, and particularly the executive cohort that we are interacting with, they're all senior, they're all used to having the answer.

Jacinta: They're all used to sort of, you know, people very quickly responding to, I've got a need, can you help me? And it's the self-reflective part that I think is, you know, where do we fit? Where does a coach fit? I think there's a role for that coach, to work through before you get to the recruiter.

Renata: I'd love to give my opinion as well on this. Jac, when I consulted for watermark two and a half years ago, I remember asking you to see a friend of mine, somebody who is the cat's pajamas in her field, like she's absolutely an expert, and she was in the market. Very suddenly in the market.

Renata: You know, as sometimes we find ourselves when we, 

Jacinta: um,

Renata: our white-collar workers, and when she came for a conversation with us, I felt bad for the three of us. For me to have insisted with you that, you know, we should see her, for her to have come to Melbourne to see us when she was so unprepared. I never felt so compelled to be a career coach as in that meeting. Mm-hmm, you know, And that's exactly what you two are talking about. You know, there is a process of grieving of self-reflection of vulnerability and allowing yourself permission to be human, that is better than either with a mentor or a coach, you know, people that you trust before you go to market.

Renata: And that sort of navigating that transition and the anxiety, of, you know, stepping in too quickly into tactical mode without having done the strategic assessment first is so interesting because you would never do that in your job. Nobody who is a white-collar worker working at sea level would go into operationalizing something without a strong strategy to back it up.

Renata: But then when it comes to their own careers, they don't see it that way. So once you bring that to the analogies and the examples of their work and what they do, let's say their marketing manager or their, you know, a CFO, I would say you wouldn't do this. You wouldn't go and start spending money without a budget, would you? So that's how I sort of bring that, need for being a strategic and for becoming crisp and clear before coming to you. 

Renata: Most importantly, I think many people don't forget or don't remember, or don't realize that they are not your clients anymore. They may have been your clients at some stage, but as a candidate, they're not. How do you navigate that? That differentiation of somebody who has been a client and now needs a job, how do you deal with it?

Jacinta: if I can, Adam, I feel that our clients and our candidates the two sides of the coin almost. So for us, we like to build a long-term relationship. So it's very, very common for us to have people who've been a client, then they're a candidate, then they're a client, you know, and, and so on.

Jacinta: And Donna, who's on the call and, you know, the other, we pride ourselves on Honest interaction at both points there and really transparent interaction, but it is slightly different when you're the client, you know, you've got money on the table, and you've got a need and, we are responding to that, and often people find it hard to flip. So I don't know that we see it as hard, Adam, I'm not sure if you'd say the same, but we are used to it. We're interacting with both all the time, but you do get a sense that others find that hard. They still either have their client hat on and are expecting that response or their ability to get to you. And we have to sort of almost helping them through, that conversation a little bit. So to some kind of understand, which is why we'd love them to work with a coach because a coach is probably better to help them sort of reframe where they're at and what they're looking for. 

Renata: How do you deal with Adam?

Adam: It's interesting one. You know, if I look back at, some of my best clients have, been very active candidates in my portfolio, over the years. And you develop that relationship in and out. And I think, I don't even know what the average, the average amount of moves for persons throughout their career is, but I know that sort of Northwoods of 10 actually in the tenure.

Adam: And so they're sitting on both sides of defense at any one particular point in time. Interestingly, you know, there are certain candidates that only ever see you as a service provider at a point of need. And there are others that want to use you to help them manage their career. And equally there are clients that see you as the person who will never place them, but you, they will always use you.

Adam: Right. So as you move up to C-suite, there are some sort of more distinctions that get made, and navigating those distinctions are obviously, very situational. But you know, I think, good satisfaction of a point of need from a candidate at C-suite level that it converts into a client is one of the more satisfying things that we do, and helping people navigate that point of stress or strain, throughout their career is, one of the things that we do do for free. 

Renata: Yeah. One thing that I discuss with my more senior clients is this difference between your positional power and your reputation. And that the reputational power, it's powerful to have a reputation, something that you are kept top of mind for that you are reminded.

Renata: And, you know, sometimes, especially later in, one's career, they might want to not be pigeonholed, you know, for a specific role, they want to move to something else. So we have to transition that reputation and start rebuilding a different brand for them. But the positional power and the reputation are two different things.

Renata: And once, and I will never forget, it was a time when I , this is a completely different example, but that's the message. I used to work for Cedar and as part of my job, managing memberships nationally, I had to be in Sydney for a week, every month. And I used to live at the Shangrila. Right. So I felt like a princess every week they would treat me like a princess. I would get special meals and things delivered to my room because they, you know, loved it that I was there every week. Guess what happened when I was not at Cedar anymore? All of that disappeared. Never did I get any sort of special treatment at Shangrila ever again. No shade to the hotel. I still think it's a wonderful hotel, but I was not their client ,Cedar that was their client.

Renata: There's positional power and there is reputation, right? So you have to navigate those. And in that loss of status quo at times can be very troubling for professionals coming out of roles and all of a sudden feeling the lack of relevance and the lack of network, you know, and feeling like, you know, and that anxiety sinks in, and that's why they feel like they need another position very quickly.

Renata: And, you know, Jacinta, I know that you may have to do that as well with entering as X is you have to change your mindset so that you become an executive regardless of being employed or not. Yes, your leadership needs to be relevant up to date. You need to be showcasing it. It doesn't matter that you're not employed. And that's the mindset shift that's needed. 

Jacinta: I think that's happened. You know, there's the shift of how we've worked is more and more, the individual has to own their brand and their product. And, you know, Adam mentioned you move sort of various times if it's up to 10 or every year at the executive level, probably every two, three or four years, let's say conservatively, maybe, more.

Jacinta: And so you had to have built a reputation that, stands alone, outside a brand of a company, which used to be how used to stand behind a, a firm name, whether that was Coca-Cola X or mobile Deloitte, whatever it might have been. You were a partner there, whereas now you, you have to own that power to your word, Renata.

Jacinta: And, there'll be points where you align with a business because you know what you bring to the business and what they bring to you is equal, and that's what I think is probably different for a lot of executives as they front in. And they've been in a role potentially for a long time, they pop out and they say the way we works fundamentally changed since I last, you know, entered the market.

Jacinta: And I don't know the new rules of the game. 

Renata: We have a question coming up in the comment and I know Donna is, helping address it as well, but there is this feeling from professionals that because they don't get traction with recruiters, they may feel like it's the best thing for them is to apply directly with, employers.

Renata: Now, I, challenge that personally and with my clients. I say the best thing you can do for your career long term for the sustainability of your career, if you are interested in progression in advancement is to make great connections with two to four recruiters. , you know, in my 20 years in Australia, Knowing people in recruitment has been the best thing that ha happened to me.

Renata: You know, they were like my family and my support system many times. And I was sometimes their support system as well, because I felt like, oh, let's get Renata of that dark horse just to, you know, to spice up right. Shortly . I sometimes felt that I was doing them a favor and I'm like, okay, I'll just go through the motions here.

Renata: And I think that you know, I was the diverse candidate. let's call it for what it was, but I think that that was a qui pro quo there. That was good for me too. Right. I took advantage of those relationships. And here I am today, you know, working with, alongside some of them. But, you know, that sentiment, is out there, right?

Renata: That, feeling that they are being ghosted, that they're not, you know, getting, the, the response that they expect. How would you address that? 

Adam: I think there's probably two tiers to that question. I think the question that's come through in the comment section is, do you avoid recruitment agencies and apply to opportunities directly, by all means, and that's the open market, you know, if an organization's out advertising directly for an opportunity, you should apply for that.

Adam: If you feel like you're a fit. And I think the latter part of that is if you feel like you're a fit, you know, you have to understand that the recruitment agency and the in-house talent acquisition team are one and the. So they're looking for exactly the same things. They are working to exactly the same biases.

Adam: They are assessing CVS in bulk, you know, although that's not necessarily what we do. But they're assessing CVS in bulk. So if you are happy and you are confident to represent your skills and they're represents able to the opportunity they should facilitate an interview. And then the rest is up sort of up to you. Where the recruiter or where the search firm then comes into its own is the background on the organization, the actual culture that's outside of the values, the corporate legacy, the existence in the market, the opportunity that's being presented all the 360 around that that's never in an advertisement.

Adam: There's insights that a recruiter can really give you, that can be very helpful, in assessing whether or not that opportunity is correct for yourself. But you know, at, at the executive search level, we would assume that an organization has done a direct marketing approach or has put an opportunity out there if it's not confidential.

Adam: And then we would also assume that their network has been tapped completely. And it's at that stage that they'll probably use a service like ours. 

Jacinta: Yeah. Neither what I'd say there is, you know, if you're out looking for a role, your job is to find your next, opportunity your next per permanent position.

Jacinta: So you've gotta cover the market for that to happen. The search firms are one channel to market. They'll be working on and, and what search firms are typically given the, hard to fill roles that, or the confidential roles or whatever, but in any business, quite a few of the roles will go straight to market because in their minds, the internal team can best serve that.

Jacinta: And so you should absolutely be looking on seek, you know, have you know, a passive job. Criteria out there, if you're in the market looking for a job, because even if you don't get your job from there, I think it's really valuable market information. And if you put in your criteria, let's say you're a CFO and you're $200,000 and you're, you know, want Melbourne, then you will be informed even if you don't get your job from there. So if you get that sent to you once a day or once a week, if at the end of the week, there was a hundred jobs out. You're okay. There's a fair bit happening in the market, you know? So , you're aware of what's going on. If there's no jobs, then you're like, okay, things are pretty tight.

Jacinta: So, again, absolutely go to direct to the company, go do everything you can possibly tap. We tech network, to be looking for a role, your network is huge and there are absolutely roles that don't ever get advertised. So, you know, for those watching tonight, you, you're probably watching cuz you're in the market and you're looking for a job, do everything you can to get that job.

Jacinta: We are one of the channels and, we're here hoping to sort of, you know, give some insights on what's the best way to chat to us when using us is the best way to get the role. 

Adam: And the positive piece there as well is, you know, to put a massively positive spin on job seeking is that 100% of job seekers that are actively seeking a job, get a job.

Adam: So it's just a matter of time. And it's just a matter of, the channels of that's going to come through. 

Renata: And, the sort of thing that I also like to explain to people is that the more windows you have open, the more opportunities will fly by. If you decide to close one, usually many of my clients say I can't network.

Renata: I will not network . So I'm like, okay, if that, window is completely shut and you refuse, you're an introvert, you find it really, really hard. You have to know how to beat the algorithm. You have to know how to, you know, even at C level, make sure that you are ATS compliant, that your resumes are converting to phone screenings.

Renata: And then they're converting , from screenings to interviews and you need to be ready to navigate the recruitment and selection process in a more, procedural way. And if you go from, let's say, not applying through recruiters and applying directly with organizations. You have to be agile to adapt to a wide range of practices.

Renata: Recruiters are way more established and standardized in, in how they work. There's a, you know, you can almost expect the steps to come. You know, you know how you're going. What's expected when you're applying for private companies, you know, publicly listed also usually have, you know, large HR teams. You're very sophisticated, lots of policies and, and yada, yada, but sometimes you, you have no idea.

Renata: So for example, I have clients this week applying for roles in different parts of the world one in Sydney, one in the east coast of the U.S., one on the west coast, the one in Sydney threw a recruit. Very standard. You know this, the, candidates package comes, the recruiter will call, will brief you, you will come into an interview knowing , what you do, the one in the east coast of U.S. it's a startup. She has no idea what's gonna happen. Like, you know, when we do interview preparations, we're like, okay, there's a whole bunch of scenarios here. You know, like maybe this is going to be just a chat. Maybe they're going to ask you behavior course questions. Maybe they're not going to ask you.

Renata: So you never really know. And when you're working like that, you have to be more agile. So working with a recruiter, if you establish that connection with them, the benefit of that over time is knowing what to expect in the process, right? 

Jacinta: Ren, if I can add to that, you know, a lot of people would say to us, you know, I, haven't accessed my networks well, or I'm not good at networking, or I don't feel comfortable.

Jacinta: I push back on that a little bit because there's no one that cares more about you getting your next job than you and, networking gets a bit of a bad wrap. It's not all standing around at a train station, throwing out resumes to people who you don't know, it's people. So feel the level you are comfortable with to network.

Jacinta: And you know, if you've worked somewhere and you've got past colleagues reaching out to them and you know, catching up with them, shouldn't feel too Wicky and that's network. And so, you know, you actually have to own some responsibility there, and so I do push back a little on that. You know, I don't like networking or I don't like promoting myself.

Jacinta: You actually have to embrace a bit of it to get your next job. You have to be able to tell people what you do. if you don't believe it, there's no one else gonna believe it. If you don't believe what you do. And you're not a bit passionate about. Why nurse would someone employ you? 

Renata: Two months after we started working together Jacinta, I basically gave up and I'm . Happy to say he did get a job through through going through the process.

Adam: It's a really common problem. Like the network particularly as candidates become more senior and they become further from their training ground. It's a network effect called network degradation, actually. and you, you think about how well networked you were when you're a junior at Deloitte or you were a junior here, or you were starting out there.

Adam: It's social. It's fantastic. and it's great. And you're very close to your network. You use that network, you leverage that network very hard in the first of 10 years of your career. Then to be getting to middle and senior management, when you start to feel like I'm with an organization, and this is gonna be the organization for the next 10 to 15 years, or not, you get comfortable, the network lacks it.

Adam: And so then when you come into the market or something sudden happens in the world, you find yourself looking for something, it becomes quite altruistic, when you're reaching out to people, asking for things. Right. So, you know, I, think I refer to, and I've used this analogy for many years. I refer to the career as a balance sheet, sorry to use a financial term, but yeah, the balance sheet is basically the value of you.

Adam: And the value of you needs to be invested in, and it needs to be investing for a long time. And it's. Really until the later stages in your career that you really understand where you didn't invest well and we have invested well, and I would suggest that people get into coaching and advisory and using that skill to set out their next three to five year plan and making sure they're tight on achieving that as early as possible in their career.

Adam: And network's a huge part of that. So there's networking both inside an organiz outside of an organization. Also networking actually, and networking with peers cause ultimately, and, and talking at executive surge level, you know, a lot of the C-suite go with people that are trusted through the network.

Adam:  That's where a lot of the successful people are that they're also the most well paid people. They're the most well remunerated, they carry the most equity, they're the most successful from a corporate perspective. They have the best balance sheet at the end of the day.

Adam: And it's those that don't maintain that investment from early stages in their career. They get lost through the middle of their career, come to the back end of their career, the last 10 to 15 and go, my gosh, I've only got 10 or 15 or maybe two more moves. I've I've got nowhere where I needed to be. And I'm now trying to make up ground, right?

Adam: It's a very difficult position. 

Renata: It's hard because usually at the time when you should be nurturing your relationships, is also the time when you are usually very, very busy with life. You're taking care of kids and, work is super busy, it's hard to find the time you just forget about it.

Renata: You forget about a lot of things in your forties, that you regret when you get to your fifties. And that's something that the coaching and the professional development and the career readiness, you know, that having that, discipline cause motivation alone, won't get you there. You can be motivated to change jobs and have a better career.

Renata: You will remember that Sunday night you will forget about it on Monday midday. Right? You have to have that discipline. We have another interesting reflection here, coming up in the comment box. I'm in the job market I'm finding that I am getting cut through with my recruitment network and am being shortlisted, but this is not converting to an interview with a client. Can you give me any advice as to why this is happening? You know, I'm sure this happens all the time.

Renata: Jacinta and Adam, I'd love to hear your views as to why the shortlist is not including someone like her. 

Adam: For so many different reasons. But realistically I think, If they're shortlisting you, should really have a very, very good fundamental understanding of what the opportunity is at that particular point in time.

Adam: So if a search firm or a recruitment firm is saying, Hey, look, here's an opportunity. And I think you'd be great for it. Like, it's probably not enough and they're gonna shortlist you or like, how do you ever know? Right. But I think, you know, if they're going through more sophisticated process, there should be at least a, set of assessment metrics that you can monitor and that you can shape your thinking and your responses around.

Adam: You should try to get a very clear understanding of where the clients aren't in the process. You should get a very clear understanding of where the search firm is being introduced. You should get a good understanding of whether the search firm is retained, and their legacy with that particular business, you should get a very good understanding of who the stakeholders are and what the process is gonna look like going forward and some timelines.

Adam: And if those things can't be answered, I would suggest that you're probably not getting shortlisted to start with.

Renata: Jac, would you have anything to add? Otherwise, I'm happy to add my, 

Jacinta: I would also add, you know, it's a competitive market. So, one of the, what we're seeing at the moment, we're reading a lot about sort of the great resignation and there's lots of people in the market yet at the same time, the opposite sort of side to that is you've got companies saying they can't find people. Now, both of those have truths that when you get to the executive level, at the executive level, you're at the top of the triangle and it doesn't flex as much the opportunity. So there's, there's still sort of only a certain amount of roles and it's a very competitive market to get there.

Jacinta: So there's a lot of people who can very genuinely, could be a good fit for the role. The client once they've got a strong field can almost narrow, further and further to their criteria what they want. So it could be that, you know, you're a good candidate for the role, but someone's better now.

Jacinta: You can't change what your experience is. And, and you can't compete with someone who has something over and above. That's really relevant or current to that, that situation and that company. So it's a long way to go around, but in a competitive market, if a client wants to tick 10 out of 10, they can usually find someone who's 10 out of 10, rather than nine out of 10.

Renata: Yeah. I'll give you some insight as well. Usually I find that, people have very small samples. You know, I know it's their lived experience that they haven't been shortlisted, but I find that the samples are too small for it to be really significant to be a problem that they're caring that they need to fix.

Renata: So, first we need to add perspective to this, right? You have to have a much bigger sample and do that continuous improvement. Okay. The first bottleneck you've achieved that, you know, you've converted your LinkedIn, your resume, your cover letter, you've converted to a phone screening. That's great. That don't change that.

Renata: Right ?And then what is it in that phone screening that conversation in the way that you're presenting yourself, that you may enhance improve, get better at, to maybe showcase a better way of transitioning your skills to a different sector or addressing an industry that may not be in your background.

Renata: Is very aligned with something you've done in the past. I mean, Adam, you touched on that when you answered the question, I think it's important to do that deep research that have that insight about the organization, as much as you can, if, it's publicly available. So when you're having that phone screening, you are letting the recruiter know that you understand what the role is.

Renata: You could hit the ground running and so on. Sometimes you are so deep inside yourself that you need somebody else like me or a mentor to come in and say, you know, I was with the client now and nowhere, nowhere in her cover letter where the words B to B and that's all she bloody does.

Renata: And I'm like, how come you didn't add that in your cover letter? Like, this is the sort of marketing you do. This is in the position description. This is a marketing you do, you're not talking about. So sometimes people it's what they do every day that they even forget about it.

Renata: You know, that they don't see the importance of raising it in a conversation in the pitch because they just assume they just assume people know that that's what they do. So enhancing that pitch and that transition. If I was a tennis coach, I would say, okay, you've qualified for the Australian open.

Renata: Now it's your first game, and you're not going through to the next round. What is it that we need to do with that game that can get you better? So we need to improve that part of the bottleneck and transition you. And then if you get to an interview and you're not getting to the second interview, that's a different story. But at every level you need to reinforce the belief that they had in you in the first place that made them contact you reinforce that at each stage, and it may require little techniques and different changes to the narrative. Jacinta said we have great people out there and you have to respect the opposition, right?

Renata: You have to respect the other candidates that could be somebody there that's better qualified for that role. And that's how it is. 

Jacinta: Yeah. Renata, to your point, when you're finding a job, it's very personal, you know, it's personal and it's, close to home and it's every sort of analogy that you can have. And so all of, you know, the rejections really close and you feel it, every time you sort of prepare for an, or look at an opportunity, you imagine yourself in the role and you invest in it, right. You invest in that, which is what you should do. You have to honor the process to a degree and finding a job takes time.

Jacinta: Everyone would love to shortcut it, everyone. And sometimes at the executive level, it can take six to 12 months to find the role. And each of us, when we get to that situation personally go, I hope I do it in a week. So you've actually got a really, that's that match fit, where we started this conversation. You've actually got a front into this ,the process is important. There's sometimes that you put enough applications out, you'll get a role to, at a point there's a role out there for people. And it's not that it shouldn't be personal, cause it absolutely is. And there's no way it cannot be.

Jacinta: But just knowing that, you know, if you didn't get that role. Don't necessarily have to change yourself. You might have been right, but this particular opportunity, there was someone better to respect the opposition who was right for that role. So have the tools to sort of gear back up again and get back out in the market.

Jacinta: And that's where, you know, the coach or the mentor or the, friends or whatever it might be your support network is so important when you're looking for a role, because the moment you're in there, you need your high energy. You need to be, a game on, you need to be confident. So that you don't miss that opportunity when you do have the chance to be there.

Renata: There's someone in the comment box saying that it's really annoying when you don't know who the recruiter is, the organization is. And that lack of transparency seems to be a waste of time for the candidate.

Renata: I've had that question over and over again. Every group coaching program that I do, it's one of the first questions that I get. And, Jeff Slate, has often come on the group coaching program to answer it from the slate group to answer questions such as this. And he says, look, sometimes the employer cannot let their, competition know that they're looking for candidates and that's why we don't disclose it until we make the short list or until much later in the process. So sometimes it may be very annoying for the candidates and I understand that I've been in that situation myself, but there is a reason behind it and they can't let, the competition that they're looking for a specific candidate or they're expanding or they're growing. It doesn't matter at what level you are. It could be at the very junior level or very senior level, this is common and it's part of business strategy.

Renata: But Adam, I'd love you to answer this question about the challenge that people have coming back to Australia. I used to have as well, and I was bringing back dozens of amazing Australians.

Renata: We had given them scholarships, funded by government so that they could go overseas and, do their PhDs or their MPAs MBAs. And then they would come back and never get jobs. And it was so annoying. Eventually we, made some arrangements with, you know, the likes of BCG to kind of springboard them back into the country.

Renata: But why is it so challenging to come back to your home country?

Adam: It's perception. That's all it really is. And just, I can speak for probably yourself and sounds like yourself. I've worked overseas for five years, and an industry where network is relevant and probably your only currency coming back into the ecosystem after being offshore for five, six years is difficult and it's daunting and it's not where it used to be.

Adam: But going back to our absolute original point around network, the network needs to be maintained whilst they're offshore. You need to be doing good efforts to keep connectivity. If you're in a technical role, you need to bridge those technical gaps, if there are technical gaps that need to be bridged.

Adam: And I think, interim is a great way sometimes we're relevant and even to do things pro bono to try and bridge that gap and actually just get something relevant on the CV to get going again. Because I think that what ultimately ends up happening is as you re-enter, there is a bit of pain, but you end up getting where you need to get to.

Adam: That that that always happens. Right. So it's just about being lateral in your thinking and taking all of the avenues. Now that job seeker has to be far more enthusiastic, far more well networked, far more of accepting, potentially of taking other salaries far more accepting of guessing, or operating their technical skills just to get back into the care system.

Adam: So I think, there needs to be a period of adjustment to understand that those, things should be necessary and could be necessary to get that cut through, to get the career back on track into a local market. 

Renata: Jac, do you have anything else to add that?

Jacinta: I do a lot of work with advance and organizations that, you know, look to, try and soft land, expats back in and it's both sides have a valid argument here.

Jacinta: You've got an expat. Who's usually been on some sort of fast track and, you know, is doing the scopes bigger and all sorts of stuff, just cause of the size of our market is often hard. And, a hundred percent, 110% of expats, I talk to find it hard and it, in their minds, it shouldn't be hard because it's their home country.

Jacinta: And it's actually just as hard to re as it is to pick up and go somewhere else. But your mindset's in a different place. So if you were to go pick up and move to New York, that's hard, right? You've gotta re establish yourself and everyone thinks coming home should be easy. So there's a perception of that, the expat coming home.

Jacinta: And then there's the sort of the local marketplace that doesn't have a point of reference for some of that experience. It's not their fault that they don't, but they, they just don't. So you've got, you know, I used to look after the whole of Asia and I had a P and L of X, and Australia was one of the companies that was in my P and L.

Jacinta: And so now you're coming back to almost take. You already had a job that was more senior. How do you bring that in? The expats have to be careful, you know, there's, there's sometimes a slight arrogance, which doesn't land well. You know, of, of all these big things I've done and they're very true. It's not that they're not true, but it's, you don't have to downplay them, but you are choosing to be back in the marketplace.

Jacinta: So you've gotta walk this really fine line. And you know, each of us have done it, you know, it's, it's not easy. And it takes just as long, to, to land that role as it would someone else coming, you know, who's already in the market. So again, they're gotta compare themselves to the same person in the market and it's gonna take as long.

Jacinta: And I think everyone would like it to be quicker. Wouldn't we. , 

Renata: I'm a third generation expat, would you believe it? It's just the most bizarre thing. , My grandparents lived in Washington DC for 13 years that my grandfather worked there. So when we went into the Silicon valley, when I was young, I remember mom saying things like, let's not make the same mistakes.

Renata: My parents did and we kind of adopted a different mindset of how they would operate in that environment. We weren't there for as long, but still, I remember mom making really clear she wanted to make things a little bit different because hindsight can really help. Right. So you, think about things that you can do better.

Renata: So when we moved to Australia, I decided, okay, let's not do these mistakes. Mm-hmm the reentry back to the country for both my grandfather and my dad were very traumatic. And I think that lived experience from seeing, well, how they coped or didn't cope. Makes me really want very, very, very passionate in helping people come back to their home country.

Renata: And I know how hard it is, but I'd love for us in these next 10 minutes to go back into talking about what you as, executive search partners looking for best talent, \ what you would like talent to know about the things that they can do before they come and see you for a chat, or should they even come to see you for a chat?That was the thing we used to do 10 years ago. Is it still the case in 2022? If you're looking for a job and you're a senior exec 

Adam: I think if you're senior exec, I think the courtesy at the table is to be referred by somebody if you're not known to the search person. And I think that's where the cut through would happen. The cold outreach is dependent on your DNA as a recruiter, right? So if you've been accepting of those in the past, you'll continue to be accepting of those in the future.

Adam: And so that's more of a, in a haystack to be honest. But the referred candidate that knows someone who knows you is a great way. And again, that stands to network and trying to get a good understanding of, on how to use the executive search firm, you know, to their best effects. But look, I'm comfortable with it.

Adam: However, in executive search, the clients retain you and hence fourth, your time. So the response in recruitment world used to be 24 hours, 48 hours was acceptable, in executive search that can somewhat be elongated to time availability. And I think it's, not an arrogance, but a little bit around, just availability and, restraint on time.

Adam: More than anything else. But I do think that a good combination of direct approach and referred approach still works. Yeah. 

Renata: What about you Jacinta, what would you say to people that are looking for work in 2022?

Jacinta: Yeah, it's the parts of our business are executive search and I would sort of agree with Adam for the most part, the executive search side are solving the problems that they've got on the table, the open roles they've got.

Jacinta: So they're working to those and are working through the conversation. So they probably will take a few less cold calls because, search is, and working through their, their short list is what they've gotta spend their time doing. Adam's point in the interim space our goal is to know our candidates ahead of time.

Jacinta: So, we would spend, a lot of time. Talking to clients who are genuinely interested in interim. So that's different than people who just in the market trying to fill into a permanent job and hope that we're a quick fix. And so ours is a slightly different take, in, how do you actually reach out to us?

Jacinta: The best way for us is an email where you've actually include your resume because that does so many things to us. One, we, if we do talk to you, we can understand your background and we're not fumbling around. And we've all got every executive search firm you interact with will have a very sophisticated system that sits behind them.

Jacinta: So if you are interacting with them, you know, the latest resume is vital because it it'll upload, you know, on their resume. You'll be top of mind, you'll have had a hit that you were spoken to recently. So there's a whole lot in our process that if you can help us follow the process, you actually help.

Jacinta: So if we then say, send me an email rather than call me, that's actually gets you a long way. I do know there's a question there that I might jump into if I can. Yeah. I can see that. How do, how do you answer the question if you've been out of the market for a while maybe Adam will have a different view because I look at the interim space and I value people's experience and people who are available immediately, that's a plus for me, but you own your narrative.

Jacinta: So, you know, and in this market, it's, people are thinking differently about how they work. So if you've had some, a month off, you don't have to justify your month off, you know, at the executive surgeon, it takes time to find a job. And so you actually, the more you over justify that, the more questions I've got.

Jacinta: whereas if you sort of own your experience, you know, have a narrative of where you've been, why you're there have cut through on what you can now bring to the table. That's focus on that. Don't focus on the story of, or the narrative of why you're left or, you know, you have to have that, but what I've been doing for the last couple of months, people can say, I've had a holiday.

Jacinta: I'm like, you know, so you should, but you don't have to tell me that to justify why you're available in the market. Now spend the same amount of time worrying about what product am I, what, you know, when should you consider me, this is what I'm grateful. This is the types of companies that should be, begging for me to join them.

Jacinta: And this is why that's where your time's best spent when you're looking for a role. 

Renata: Adam, you mentioned before, that you can tell the difference between a client that has done coaching and the client that hasn't what is important. For you, what is it that resonates with you when a client comes prepared?

Adam: I think, 

Renata: It's what Jacinta just said, but I'd like to hear from you as well. Yeah. 

Adam: It, it, it's just a clear, crisp, concise message on what's next for them. And what makes sense in their mind, as long as it's achievable, as long as those two things are together, you can't be a CTO and say, I just wanna pivot into people, officer roles can't do that.

Adam: Right. So, well you can, but you're not going to, unfortunately, my client probably won't pay for that, if that makes sense. So they're not gonna pay me, I'm the wrong person. So as long as you are roughly within the swim lanes, it's just about being clear and consistent around what the next opportunity looks like.

Adam: And, you know, people's minds and their brains and in executive search and high level equipment works in boxes. Do you know what I mean? You sit there and go this series, this skillset, these challenges, this applicability has that can do that. That's how that works. It's actually quite fundamental.

Adam: It's actually relatively simple, but it gets so lost. And I think where the executive lets themselves down is that they can sometimes have a pretty much, well do everything cause I've done everything that's not helpful. The other thing that lets you down is that, I've done this for my whole life.

Adam: I don't wanna do that anymore. That's interesting. And that's challenging and that's very, very hard to navigate on a one-on-one basis. 

Renata: A few clients like that,

Renata: for being brilliant at something and all of a sudden they're in their mid fifties and they're like, I don't wanna do that anymore. 

Adam: yeah. But, and even at that stage of their career , it's gonna be one more executive relevance, gonna be a fractional career. And then that fractional, career's gonna look like two things.

Adam: It's going to look like some interim consulting throughout my network, or to do some specific projects, I'm gonna offset that with a non-executive career. And actually I want to have that in notfor profit. And then I also wanna have an advisory career where I support startups, for example.

Adam: Right. so it is just about a very, very clearly defined thing. So the things that we actually hear in that conversation is, you know, somebody wants to have one more exit or has wants to have a exit. They want this to be their final move. Then they want to go into board. Then they also wanna be open to advisory.

Adam: That's what I hear. Do you know what I mean? And naively, you know, that's, that's actually what resonates from discussion, right? And when you're having many of these discussions in the space of a year, two years, five years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, forties, you know, , they're the pieces that we are looking for that real clear, crisp definition, is how we can be helpful.

Adam: I think it's how you get the best out of your search networks and particularly out all people that can lubricate the job, the job price, the job seeking process, 

Renata: Any final words, Jac? 

Jacinta: On that I would, Adam made the point there.

Jacinta: A lot of people try and be all things to all men, a generalist at this stage. And there's something very refreshing about owning the frame or the swim lane or of which you sit and to you sometimes it's really obvious Renata you said your candidate hadn't put B2B because she thinks, well, everyone knows I do B2B actually frame and know where you are going to be valued.

Jacinta: And it doesn't help anyone to say, call me for anything because no one will ever call you for anything. It's too big. So you've actually gotta start to put some, not limiting boundaries, but a frame around what you do. If you're a CFO, you're a CFO, right. To Adam's point it's, you know, could you do people, could you do it?

Jacinta: You could, but no one's gonna pay you for that. Because there'll be others better place to do that who are in those disciplines. So own your DNA own what you've done. And at the executive level, I get a lot of general statements. I'm good at leading a team. I'm good at strategy. To me, they're tickets to the game.

Jacinta: I've never, ever heard a person tell me they're not good at that ever. So if all of a sudden everyone's good at strategy, or everyone's good at leading a team or everyone's good at stakeholder. Well, what else? Yeah. So it's not that they're not important traits and they're not important parts of your kit bag but they've almost become a little generic.

Jacinta: and I get, you know, and that's where you work with a coach to go the layer below that. I love it when people are nailed it, the cut through when it happens is like music to our ears. Yeah. Because the rest is a bit blah, blah, blah, blah. And we we've heard it a lot. Yeah. So it actually doesn't take much to be exceptional.

Jacinta: Yeah. So work with your coach or who, you know, work on yourself to, to get that cut through and you will be miles ahead of the pack. 

Renata: Yeah. Well, thank you both so much for coming on board and having this chat. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and hope that Adam, you can join us for future episodes in the future, cuz it's your first time.

Renata: You're a newbie. 

Adam: Thank you. I absolute pleasure. 

Jacinta: Okay, bye. For both of you. Thanks everyone. 

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