Earlier this week, my friend Sarah Dudney, a recruiter with the financial services search company, Lockwood Gibb and Assoc., spoke at Women in Banking and Finance in Edinburgh. I was struck and frustrated by what happens when she calls female potential candidates. She speaks to 100’s of people each week but when she approaches women about new jobs, they have a very different reaction to the men she calls. When she tells them about a new job opportunity, women will rule themselves out, while men will rule themselves in. Within the first few seconds of their conversation women will tell her why they aren’t qualified, or ready for that ‘big’ promotion, or it just wouldn’t work out. Men, on the other hand, will look for reasons the job may be appealing and talk themselves up during the initial conversation – even when they don’t have all the required skills. As a woman who wants to be seeing more women in senior roles, Sarah understandably finds this maddening. Me too!
In the first instance, when a recruiter calls, it’s a compliment – they have heard of you and want to know more. Even if you don’t think you are interested in a new job, for goodness sakes, hear them out! It is good for the ego if nothing else, but more importantly, it can be a confidence boost and give us a much needed wider perspective on how we are viewed and valued by the external world! I have worked with plenty of clients who are happily in jobs they would have never applied for, save for someone else; a recruiter or boss, who saw more potential in them than they initially saw in themselves. They are grateful for those conversations that got them thinking “What if….?” If the job isn’t right for you – be smart enough to say no thanks, make recommendations for others but most importantly say what you are looking for and that it’s not a case of ‘never’ but just ‘not now’. Recruiters need to know they can come back to you and get a favourable response– when the right opportunity appears. Read more about career planning here.