Are You a “Sophisticated” Job Seeker?


I stumbled across an article written by J.T. O’Donnell titled, “Meet the ‘Sophisticated Job Seeker’ Who’s Disrupting Recruiting.” I loved the article because most of what she said about “sophisticated” job seekers resonated with me and what I am teaching students and job seekers around the world through my online course.

In the article, here’s what J.T said about “sophisticated” job seekers: Often referred to as “passive candidates,” these individuals are currently employed and don’t visit job boards. Instead, they mimic the behavior of sophisticated consumers and approach their search for their next employer with extreme focus. The way they see it, they don’t want to work for you, they want to work with you. They believe they’re a business-of-one who has the right to find the right partner (a.k.a. ideal employer).

What she said is similar to some of the topics in my online course – Job Search Blueprint. I believe that as a job seeker, you need to smart and creative, or maybe “sophisticated” too with your job search strategy, and you also need to be serious in implementing your strategy.

Furthermore, J.T. said that the sophisticated job seekers leverage some smart search tactics, as follows:

1. They Create Interview Bucket Lists. I quite agree with her on this. In some of the chapters in my online course, I teach my students how to have a focused strategy (not necessarily over limiting their job opportunities but channelling their energy to some particular niche, industries and sectors), how to be active on social media, how to connect with and follow companies they find interesting on social media, and how to monitor activities regarding those companies.

Back in the days when I was seriously searching for a good job, I rejected some job offers because I do not like the company’s culture. However, I just told the recruiter or hiring manager that I was not interested for some personal reasons and thanked them for notifying me. And there are four types of companies I do not find interesting:

  • Companies that don’t understand the value of project management
  • Companies that don’t leverage the Internet, social media and digital technologies
  • Companies who are not working hard to build their personal brand
  • And companies whose culture doesn’t fit me

2. They Do Research–Lots of Research. Yes, research is not only meant to be done by hiring managers and recruiters. A smart job seeker needs to do his/her homework and I teach my students the types of research they need to do.

I did some research myself when I was seeking for a job. I did research on the companies that offered me job offers back then and some were great companies. I’m still doing more research now so as to feed my students with current information regarding the labour market. Research is one of the critical things that every smart job seeker should do, and that’s one of key things that separate them from the desperate job seekers who are willing to accept any job.

3. They Find Someone on the Inside. Building relationships and getting recommendations work wonders. I believe in connecting with some persons on the inside of companies you’re interested in. One of the things I did back then was to follow some persons I discovered on social media who were in the mid or top management roles in some of the companies, industries or sectors I found interesting.

In my online course, I have few chapters that teach my students how to build a global network, how to build with good relationships with some persons on the inside of companies they find interesting, and how they can properly leverage on the power of networking. It’s a powerful tactic that can land any job seeker his/her dream job.

4. They Study the Recruiter’s Brand. Students and job seekers are not the only ones who need to build their personal brands. Recruiters and hiring managers need to build their personal brands, and companies need to build their business and employment brands, too. Once I get a job offer, the first thing I do is research on the recruiter or hiring manager that sent me the job offer, and then on the company. If I find both interesting, then I research on the job position and what is required of that position. If I find it interesting and challenging, then I research on myself to know if I’m up to the task.

I also tech my students how to build a unique and winning personal brand but it’s something that would still favour them whenever they want to transform from job seekers to independent career persons later in their life.

The four smart search tactics mentioned above by J.T. are part of what I teach my students because in this age of Great Recession, you need to be smart and “sophisticated” to land the good or better jobs. And like I always tell my students, there are jobs, there are good jobs, and there are better jobs. As students of my course, they should always target the better jobs.

If you’re a student or job seeker, you can click here to learn more or enrol for my online course, and learn how to create a good job search strategy. Once you enrol, you will join the league of SMART job seekers around the world.

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