The Recruiter’s ‘Portfolio’

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been searching for a new project and what I have encountered, rather surprisingly, is a lot of the norms that we as a recruitment industry, still seem to be holding onto dogmatically. The one recurring question is ‘can you send me a copy of your CV?’.

My expectation would have been at least to ask me for a link to my LinkedIn profile; my hope is that I might be asked if I have a website or online portfolio, examples of campaigns I have successfully delivered, a request about blogs or any other information that would, in my opinion, actually present a holistic picture of the me as an individual and talent acquisition an recruitment professional. Across the board, the CV request was predominant.

I appreciate there is a counter-argument here which is ‘why don’t you just add links to your CV?’ – I’ve tested that and the click-through rates are low. From that test sample, my conclusion is that Hiring Managers / Agencies are still looking at the CV and making their decision based on the chronological script of my prior experience.

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This is going to sound like a sales pitch, however…

Whenever I recruit, I aim to build a picture of the individual through a combination of their LinkedIn profile, social media, blog posts and combine those notes and use them in the introductory conversation with them to really get a sense of them as a professional and person. With this knowledge, you can really start to explore their thoughts on culture, environment, working patterns and their mindset in the face of challenges and change. In short, you end up offering the Hiring Manager a ‘portfolio‘ of the person as opposed to a CV and each part of the process acts as an additional level of qualification beyond the standard ‘skills matching’ approach.

Flip the focus to recruiting for talent acquisition and recruitment professionals, would it be more interesting to your client to see examples of the following;

  • job specifications
  • social media content (i.e. posts, adverts)
  • recruitment assets (i.e. candidate, interviewee and on-boarding packs)
  • process workflows
  • interview formats
  • blog posts

How interesting to you and your client would this portfolio of information be at an introductory or pre-screening stage?

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Building your Portfolio

What are the challenges with starting to build your own recruitment portfolio?

The consideration of time is always the obvious starting point; the time to create a website of online host compared to writing your CV using a template is clear. Having said that, do you want to look back at your legacy in recruitment and have only a CV and some anecdotal stories and hiring numbers to refer to? – keep track of your journey and collate the information you have learned. Create your own ‘Recruitment Playbook’ – something you can use as you navigate your way through your career steps.

Another key consideration is, who owns the content you’ve created? – if you are a permanent employee (whether in-house or agency side), you’ll be subject to legal obligations regarding the content you have created. Having said that, referring to this content if it’s already in your, or the clients, social media feed isn’t a crime – blog about it even. Tell the story behind how and why you created it. This can be positive PR for the client’s brand.

What if I don’t have any of this content? – perhaps your in a role that hasn’t required you to write job specifications, create social media posts or implement new workflows. Then my suggestion to you is start!

The role of the Talent Acquisition (TA) and Recruitment (Rec) professional is evolving rapidly and you need to offer more than the ability to search, screen and present an applicant. As tools and products providing greater levels of automation change processes and the way tasks are completed, one of the greatest assets of a TA and Rec consultant is their ability to deliver creative solutions and the knowledge they already retain about the process of where to discover, attract and engage talent.

An invitation to fellow Professionals

If you want any suggestions as to where to start, I’m happy to have a chat. Just ping me a message. We can all benefit from sharing ideas! 


Are you currently looking for a new career opportunity?

Searching for a new career


Suggestions for your searching strategy

Asking a favour of friends

I recently conducted a short survey by inviting friends from Facebook to complete a questionnaire entitled ‘How do you look for a new career opportunity?’. The questionnaire was quite easy to create using Google Forms (*for anyone that might be thinking of doing something similar) and I separated the questionnaire into two specific parts; the first part has already been mentioned as it’s the title of this blog post (see above) and the second was entitled ‘The perfect experience’.

In an attempt to not overload the blog post, I have detailed the first part of the survey results below as a list of ‘Questions’ and ‘Suggested action’; let me know what you think…

How do you look for a new career opportunity?

Searching Question: When asked ‘How do you look for a new job typically?’ and where the individuals were given the chance to choose more than one option, the top options came out as 1). LinkedIn (64%) and 2.) Recruitment agencies (64%) and then 3). Referral from a former colleague (58%) and finally 4). Applying direct to companies (52%). It’s interesting to note that ‘Referral from a former colleagues’ (58%) was more popular than a ‘Referral from a current colleague’ (23.5%).

Suggested action: Individuals want interactivity; whether this is via an immersive platform or through the curation / brokering of a 3rd party (recruitment agent) and I think this is based on assumed trust. Additionally, a degree of separation from their current employer is preferable and direct contact with an employer (via LinkedIn or direct applications) is also important. Create a list of people and agencies where you have pre-existing relationships and contact them with the specific goal of talking about new career opportunities; it’s important to ask for what you want, don’t delay with introductory chat, as those individuals that are prepared to help/support you will respond (and those that won’t will probably delay or engage in polite chit-chat). Always remember to record those that help you for a follow-up afterwards; professional courtesy is key.

Timing Question: Another interesting result was illustrated when individuals were asked ‘How much time per day do you spend looking for new opportunities?’; an overwhelming majority (52.9%) stated that they spend 30-minutes per day looking for new opportunities and this appears to be on LinkedIn as 82.4% stated this was their primary platform compared to others in the market.

Suggested action: Time is precious! If you are searching for a new opportunity, it’s often in your own personal time; therefore, the ability to find, review and apply to new opportunities quickly is important (and perhaps why LinkedIn is preferred platform). Set yourself alerts and reminders on the apps/platforms you are using to keep to a strict schedule of applying and following-up on open applications. Ensure you have a singular view of all the applications you have ‘live/active’ if you are using multiple channels.

Challenges Question: Pain points in searching for a new opportunity can be different depending on your approach, so when the individuals were asked ‘Do any of the following things make job searching difficult?’ it was surprising to note that the two main ‘pain points’ were dominate. Firstly, more than 41% state that ‘Filling in an online application for each role’ was prohibitive, and secondly; over 35% stated that ‘Not being able to apply to the company directly’ was also restrictive to the process.

Suggested action: Again, I think we return to the idea of time efficiency when it comes to applying for new opportunities; however, closely behind these two front-runners was the issue of ‘Lack of information on a companies latest vacancies’ and ‘Taking time to update your CV’ indicating that the provision of information appears to be time-consuming for both parties in the two-sided market. Therefore, get prepared with an updated CV (if required) or update your LinkedIn profile for the ‘Apply via LinkedIn’ option.

Making It Easier Question: In contrast to the previous question, individuals were asked to select 3 options that ‘Would make your search for a new career opportunity easier’. There were 3 clear leading responses to this question — 1). Direct contact with an employer and/or hiring manager 2). A shorter timeline between application and response from employer/hiring manager 3). Being able to ask more questions about the role/opportunity before applying.

Suggested action: From mapping your contacts, you’ll be aware of the individuals you can contact at specific companies; if any of them are at companies on your ‘interest list’ then approach them directly and ask them and start a specific dialogue. This action will also facilitate being able to ask more questions about the opportunity, company, culture and environment; also, it will invariably reduce the timelines for feedback.

Source of Information Question: Individuals were asked ‘Who is the most trusted source of information when you’re applying for a new career opportunity?’; the conclusive result for this question was, the Hiring Manager (58.8%).

Suggested action: If you can contact the Hiring Manager or can be referred to her/him via a friend/contract, then absolutely do it! It’s the ultimate approach! If you do not have direct contact with the Hiring Manager, can you make contact with her/him through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or via corporate e-mail? For the latter, use Google Chrome and add the Hunter plug-in to find the e-mail address.

I will be posting another blog post towards the end of this week about ‘The perfect experience’; in the interim, I’d welcome your thoughts and feedback on this first part.