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Board Level job applications: the ubiquitous Black Hole?
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Board Level job applications: the ubiquitous Black Hole?

Automation is here to stay and will grow at a phenomenal rate as we surge to the increasing use of Robotics, AI and the Internet of Things combined with Big Data.

Every industry is being disrupted for good and for bad and we are all grappling with the day to day demands of working offline and online, from banking and shopping to learning a language or making a job application.

But is it all better i.e. an improvement on what we had before?

In many cases yes. More efficient. Open 24 x 7 . We are being offered a wider choice of products and services than we have ever had before .

As a head hunter and recruiter for more than 30 years, and as much as I support technological evolution, I think that senior recruitment maybe an exception. It's a personal business.

As accomplished human beings on the job market we need discussion and interaction as well as engagement and feedback. We need to look someone in the eye, make a  case for our suitability for that particular role.  At minimum , if at least 60% qualified, to have a discussion by phone. We need to understand the reasons for rejection so that we can both address them and learn.

Without any of this, it's an extremely frustrating and soul destroying exercise.

Head hunters like all businesses are being disrupted and there are many online job sites and listings that make various claims about successes that are difficult to substantiate and I see relatively few testimonials of success that they’re really effective on any significant scale.

With yet another non- response your inner voice is saying..

"Are others getting responses on line? Are they getting acknowledgment? Are they being given reasons for non- response or rejection? I’m certainly not.  I make an application and that’s it. I hear nothing back. I spent hours on that application and nothing.

Or," I did get a call back because I requested one , from a junior in- house recruiting executive and they had no idea about whether I was qualified or not , so didn’t put me forward. "

This is what I’m hearing time and time again through my business network.

It’s just a Black Hole.

In fact, the traditional recruiters and headhunters used to fill this role of intermediary between candidates and in - house recruiters and clients and some still do so very effectively. But many of the larger head hunters could be considered Black holes. They contact you, You send a CV, follow up and then nothing.

They are in data overload but nonetheless, will you go back to that outfit when you’re hiring a CFO?

Probably not.

So most outgoing, emotionally intelligent , senior individuals get disillusioned with the above approaches and take responsibility for their own career development and personal brands by                 “ reaching out” to their network. This can be very effective initially , but then you need to cast your net wider.


Caroline Hayward is Founder and CEO of The Chairman’s Network.

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