EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Since we have many new members each year AND many members who may be active again from time to time, I thought it might be a good idea if I wrote about our “qualified members only” approach to responding to job leads and why it works for you.

First, let’s understand that posted jobs are only a small portion of the total job market. Most estimates place job leads from search firms and corporations at about 15% of all jobs that are filled. The rest of the jobs are filled by networking.

Given the state of the economy right now, my sense is that search firms who are still operating and finding assignments are easily overwhelmed by the volume of responses they get when they post jobs on any of the public boards, so they often don’t. At least they don’t for the kinds of jobs our members would find of interest.

There is always a cost benefit analysis, with the larger cost being someone’s time. If posting on The FENG yields too many responses, even our newsletter will no longer be used by the search community. I’m not suggesting that this is why our newsletter is shorter these days. By and large our members tend to behave themselves. It’s just that before “law and order” breaks down I thought it would be smart to go over a few guidelines.

In case you haven’t noticed, ALL job leads in our newsletter are published under someone’s name. What this means is that a person just like you has stuck his or her neck out and made a promise to a search professional that our august body is a “product” you can trust. Post with us and you will get a controlled response. This is assuming that the recruiter involved is smart enough to provide a city location and a salary range. (The warranty on my promise is invalidated if they indicate the Midwest. They may as well say continental US. It is also invalidated if they say the client is willing to pay market. I have no clue what a market salary is, and I’m sure you don’t either.)

Given a perfect world, if they indicate the location and the relevant salary range, it is my expectation that you will ONLY respond if you fit within the salary range, and if the job indicates local candidates only, that you live within commuting distance or are willing to move at your own expense. (It would also be nice if you indicated why moving there made sense.)

On the salary front, 20% is about the maximum you can expect any firm to go over the top of their stated range. If you expect to make twice what they are offering, you are wasting everyone’s time.

Now comes the hard part. Are you really a fit? This part is easy. If you wouldn’t hire you, DON’T apply. Be honest with yourself. If you were Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, and the job in question is for a Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, you probably aren’t going to be considered. If the job calls for industry experience, and you can’t draw an analogy as to why banking and manufacturing are the same thing, do everyone a favor and DON’T apply.

It is essential that you be totally honest with yourself. There are at all times so many folks looking for work that it really isn’t hard to find individuals who are a perfect fit on paper. Salary range, job titles held, location, and industry experience all contribute to a more than sufficient “smell test” that you can apply to your own candidacy. Just because you have been out of work a long time doesn’t mean your skill sets have gotten broader.

Our getting first bite of the apple when it comes to posted jobs is the goose that lays golden eggs. Here is a target that you can shoot at with a rifle or a shotgun. (I’ll leave you to think about THAT analogy.)

The goal we have as an organization is that ONE of our members should get any job posted in the newsletter. We have made every effort over the years to build our reputation.

Don’t blow it for us.

Believe me I want you to be working almost as badly as you want to be working. Responding on jobs where you are no kind of a fit creates a forest for the trees problem for the firms that still trust us. You will not only be ruining it for others, but over the long term for yourself as well.

In a sense, our goose and your goose will be cooked. And, it won’t be a great meal.

Regards, Matt

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