Don’t be flattered be suspicious!
The way people find a new job has changed a lot in recent years – even in the more conservative professions like tax.
The impact of social media, and in particular business networking sites such as LinkedIn, means that it is very easy for both in-house HR staff, and external recruiters, to identify and contact, large numbers of seemingly relevant potential candidates.
I am sure that all tax professionals will be used to getting lots of direct approaches about the latest "amazing opportunity". I am CTA and ACA qualified, and I even get these myself – 30 seconds research would tell anyone I haven't done any tax work for over 15 years! If some resourcers show such little attention to detail, it's not surprising that many of our contacts report getting routinely approached regarding completely irrelevant roles (e.g. private client consultants receiving details for TP manager roles!).
Tax specialists can now feel that they don't need to actively look for a new job as the job will come to them. In many cases that may prove to be true – but will it be the right job for you? Will it be the best job you could get, one that will steer your career in the direction that is right for you? If you are going to move, how do you know you couldn't earn more elsewhere?
In recent months some of our candidates are telling us that they are being contacted out of the blue by tax partners, who they haven't met, trying to get them to join their team. Now who wouldn't be flattered by that – especially if the call is from say a partner in a big 4 firm who has "heard good things about you"! Parking the hint of desperation in this tactic, there is one obvious downside to being on the receiving end of this call – it's an out and out sales call. You'll only be told about the benefits of working for the firm concerned, not the downsides and certainly not the possible benefits of working for a competitor or staying in your current role. I don't imagine many callers saying "please join us we are desperate to get some new people in as half of our team have recently left!", yet it is just this sort of background information that a knowledgeable recruitment agent will provide alongside other market information.
The internet has made a transactional approach to life much easier. Who now books their summer holiday sitting across the desk from a travel agent or collects a heap of glossy pamphlets from an estate agent when searching for their flat or house? Agents might seem to be a thing of the past but a good experienced recruitment agent who really knows the market and operates in an ethical manner can help you make sure your career move is the right one for you not just right for the firm who have reached out to you.
You should think of them as someone who will: -
be able to tell you about opportunities right across the market not just with one organisation
want to work with you over the long term and build a relationship,
provide you with balanced advice over the course of your career,
act as a sounding board for your own thoughts,
help ensure your package keeps up with the market rate,
keep you informed when relevant roles come up (without pushing you into something that's not right for you)
Social media and online networking sites are a wonderful thing and for those who want to sit tight and see what jobs come their way - good luck! If you would prefer not to leave things to chance (or to rely exclusively on the sales pitch of someone with a vested interest in your taking their job). I recommend you find yourself an agent who you can relate to and trust.
Founding Director – Longman Tax Recruitment