After yesterday's fine guest post from TheHRD on what jobseekers can expect from employers in 2011 I am delighted to present the recruitment consultant's view.

With the rise of blogs, Twitter, Linkedin etc I assume that recruitment consultants will be less reliant on CVs and more interested on what a job seeker has been doing (by looking at their online profiles etc) and building up relationships using these networks.

But that's my assumption. So, I asked recruitment consultant and blogger Mervyn Dinnen to write a guest post on what he believes jobseekers can expect from recruitment consultants. As with yesterday's post, there are some great takeaways here. Many thanks to Mervyn for this great post and also to TheHRD.

Worth saying also that had it not been for Twitter, their blogs and connectingHR this little project would not have happened.

What can jobseekers expect from receruitment consultants in 2011?
I suspect that this year will prove to be a challenging year for the recruitment industry, with recruitment consultants in particular feeling pressure from both clients and candidates.

On the client side, with more companies looking to reduce their spend on 3rd party recruiters through a mix of direct sourcing and tough rate negotiations, consultants will find themselves working on roles with very tight specs and timescales. They will need to find candidates that the client cannot find themselves, and quickly.

As for the candidates, well they now have more channels through which they can connect, and more on which they can become be visible, yet the challenge to appear on a recruiter’s radar may become even greater. The need for a flexible approach and for the job hunting process to become a 24/7 quest will be strong.

So what should the 2011 jobseeker expect from a recruiter?

Market knowledge
The best recruiters will be the ones who know their market, can bring knowledge, context and insight to the search. They are likely to have a more consultative relationship with their clients which will give them opportunities to challenge the client’s perception of what the role really requires. This will be important as the majority of candidates are likely to be ‘square pegs’ trying to fit into a very specific, job description centric ‘round holes’, and will need the recruiter’s insight to get in front of hiring companies.

These recruiters are likely to be trying to build a network of good contacts, not just filling jobs.

No end to the CV yet!*
Whilst social media gives candidates a great opportunity to show off many of their skills and creative instincts, and to create a digital footprint visible on a wide range of platforms, not many people are looking yet! The physical CV is still the door opener for most companies and recruiters.

Whilst there has been much online debate recently about the future of the traditional CV, the reality is that the vast majority of application processes and applicant tracking systems rely on the CV.

Getting noticed
The last point presents the jobseeker with two issues – how to create a CV that can appeal across disciplines and sectors, and how to get their online presence noticed?

The first one will be something that you will need to do in collaboration with a competent recruiter. If they have the market knowledge, and a good understanding of what the client wants, then they should be able to help you write a CV that will contain the most relevant achievements. If they try to pigeon hole you by sector or skillset then the likelihood is that they will only be submitting your CV rather than presenting you with a view to recommending you for interview.

The online presence is something that will ultimately get you noticed by a potential hirer. As yet very few recruitment consultants are actively sourcing through social networks other than LinkedIn, so this would be the platform that a lot of your updates should be channelled through, and which should contain your full profile and recommendations.  You should also be dealing with a recruiter who recognises the relevance of your online portfolio and will use this as way of selling you in to a company.

If there’s one thing that annoys and upsets candidates more than anything else it’s the lack of feedback. Not knowing where you are in the process, or why you aren’t suitable, or when you will hear back after your interview.

In 2011 you should be expecting better, quicker and more informative feedback. The immediacy, transparency and advocacy that social media platforms can bring mean that hiring companies and recruiters alike are becoming more mindful of the ‘experience’ and are well aware of how a bad candidate experience can affect their perception in the market place, both as an employer and as a brand.

Finally, I believe that 2011 will be a year of who you know as companies supplement direct sourcing with a strong referral approach. Networking, engaging and conversing through social platforms, and leveraging those relationships, will give you a good chance of getting in front of the right people.


*Mervyn is currently looking for a new role and is taking a purely social approach to this ie not using a CV – read about that here (and good luck with that, Mervyn).

Mervyn blogs at T Recs.