Gary is an average jobseeker; currently in employment, working in an insurance company in Manchester, aged 33, wife, 2 kids etc etc.  He’s not looked for a job for 4 years, and has stayed longer than he’d planned with his present employer, rather than risk a move during the recession.

So like 87% of jobseekers online, he starts with Google.  Search results show 3 Priority ads at the top, and sponsored links down the side.  The “natural search” results show Reed (with a map),, 1Job, and Workcircle.  Totaljobs and Monster don’t appear until page 6.  He knows a little about job sites, having found his current job via Jobsite, and has seen plenty of adverts.  Which one is best though?  Does any one site have better jobs than the others, or even more jobs?  Does it follow that a site that is popular with candidates is also popular with advertisers?  Logically, Gary knows that no none website will have all the available jobs in his sector, and no individual site can claim to have “The Best Jobs”, whatever they are.  43% of online job-seekers only register with one job board, but if Gary wants to find the most suitable job before it is filled, he simply cannot afford to be loyal to one site.

To an extent, the same applies to recruitment agencies.  There may well be some agencies or recruiters that are better to deal with, but how can he tell?  Isn’t it also true that a crap agency may well be recruiting for his ideal job?  Here though, he can be more discriminating.  He will assume that better employers, with the most sought after jobs, will employ professional recruiters, and that these agencies will be work to higher standards.  For example, an agency that has the confidence to name their clients, is one that’s not in fear of losing the business.  Moreover, the recruiters with these firms will have a far better knowledge of the marketplace than he possibly can.  They’ll also know vacancies that are just about to go live, as a result of placing other candidates every week.  These recruiters are the very people to deal with, if he can just identify the best ones.  OK, so let’s have a look at their websites; surely they’ll show who their best recruiters are in his sector.  No?  Why wouldn’t they do that?

Vacancy Led Market

The unfortunate truth is that recruiters, like employers, don’t really want to encourage speculative applications right now, as they have more than enough already.  If you’re not applying for a specific vacancy, you are very unlikely to prompt any response, beyond an automated email.

So what should Gary do?  Register with several major job boards, a couple of niche job sites, and a leading job search engine (like – not in the expectation of being found, but to take advantage of daily job alerts.  Next, he should identify potential employers he’d be interested in.  A quick search online will reveal which recruitment firms they deal with, and possibly specific recruiters too.  No3, he should use this same list of employers to follow their employees on Twitter, connect to them on Linkedin, and join their Facebook fan page.  I’d also recommend connecting to former employees of target firms via Linkedin too.  Approaching these people can result valuable inside information being revealed.

So long as Gary keeps moving through these networks, and makes the right contacts, Gary wants a job will become Gary gets a job.


Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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