The recruitment market has completely changed in the last 15 years. It is amazing to see the innovation that is being used to grab the attention of quality talent. However what is even more amazing, is in the shift of attitude towards those who are hiring and the job seekers themselves. “Out" are the active job seekers and "in" are the passive “consumers”, waiting to be approached by both employers and recruiters alike.

15 years ago it was all about advertising. Pick up a newspaper and the classifieds sections were full with recruitment adverts, all about grabbing a job seeker’s attention to respond to your advert. We would spend a great deal of time writing eye catching headlines and interesting content in our adverts. It even got blunter, we would invest in gorilla advertising with leaflets being handed out, signs out on the street and we even considered sending out people into the streets adorned with our logo. We wanted to get the best possible talent and this was one way of doing it.

Wind the clock forward 15 years and things are more sophisticated with modern technology. However quality talent and clients are moving away from the masses. Job seekers are fed up with the noise of social media, being approached for totally unsuitable jobs by sometimes unprofessional recruiters who don’t seem to care about client confidentiality. Likewise, clients don’t want to fish in the same pool as other competitors. If you are a candidate applying for a job, it is likely that your CV will get overlooked with the volumes of other applicants that social media noise generates. When was the last time you got any specific feedback for an application you made? LinkedIn is a wonderful tool, but every employer and recruitment agency is using it. If you find job seekers on LinkedIn you can be pretty sure other recruiters and employers have done so also.

Nowadays the savvy employers and recruiters are not interested in attention, instead we are focused on the “intentions” of potential job seekers. That’s right, we are focused on finding job seekers who haven’t even started to look for jobs i.e passive candidates. Wise potential recruits are seeing this shift now and are now acting like consumers, waiting to be approached so that they can cherry pick where they go. Most prefer to keep a watching brief on the market and strike when they see the right opportunity for them. Clients are coming to us firstly, because they want candidates who aren’t making any active applications, secondly because they don’t want volumes of unsuitable applications and lastly because we have the experience in finding candidates that i) match their requirements; and ii) are the best possible candidates on the market. Many of our clients do not even post their vacancies on their websites. Take a look at our Blue Pencil website … we don’t post our active roles for a reason, the reason being that we already engaging with our consumers and with we are not, we will find you!

So how, as a consumer, can you be approached for the right opportunity. Here are some of our tips.

1. Network
Yes be visible and network at events where potential companies that you would like to work for are present. Target seminars that recruitment consultants might be sponsoring. Make yourself known. Recruitment is going back to old fashioned business virtues and it’s amazing what you can find out by speaking to people directly rather than using whatsapp messaging, LinkedIn e-mails etc! The best way to network is actually to be the main speaker at an event, which is great for personal brand endorsement and will give you access to everyone in the room.

2. Use your personal networks and seek referrals from friends
Make it known to your trusted close friends that you are considering new options. If they get approached ask them to refer you. You might not be right for the specific opportunity your contact referred you about – but it puts you in a position of strength as you will be viewed as a passive job seeker.

3. LinkedIn and Social Media
Update your LinkedIn profile. Remember employers and recruiters use “key words” to search for potential job seekers. Make sure your profile contains key words that relate to jobs you may want. If you want to be searchable keep your profile open, but keep it professional and interesting. Publish interesting articles and journals you have written which will catch the eye. Remember whatever you put online is in the public domain. Many employers will check LinkedIn and the like, even though they know it’s wrong.

4. Say yes and keep an open mind
Always keep a weather eye on the market and keep an open mind to opportunities when approached. Even if you are not interested you’ll gather useful information about salaries and information in your industry. That person will then be more likely to approach and remember you, should your dream opportunity come up.

5. Keep confidentiality at a premium
It’s easy to get flattered when approached about a role. You can forget to ask questions because of the attention. However this is the time to ask. Ask for specifics about the role and the opportunity. Do not send your CV blindly. If you do send your CV, make sure you have all the details about the role and make it 100% clear that your CV only goes for the specific role you are applying for. Remember you don’t have to move jobs, you are in a secure role already.

6. Always have a CV to hand and keep updated
Always have a CV to hand and updated. When approached about a role and knowing the job spec, make sure your CV is updated for the role you are applying for. Your CV is your passport to an interview.

7. Act in good faith
Stay professional. Be honest with your current salary and expectations from the outset. Stick with person you are speaking to about the specific role. You’ll do yourself no favours if you suddenly up a salary demand at the last minute when an offer is on the table as it will look manipulative to the employer and this is a big turn off.

If you would like any tips on how to ensure you take advantage of shifts in the new recruitment market please do e-mail