Where The Money Is

There is a story about a bank robber – the conventional wisdom is that it is Willie Sutton, but I’ve found the following quote attributed to John Dillinger as well – who is asked why they rob banks.  The reply is “That’s where the money is.”

Regular readers of my blog know that, daily, I compile and post an aggregate of articles related to job searching, covering topics like Resumes, Cover Letters, Interviewing, and the use of Social Media and the need for Personal Branding.  Among many topics, I keep my eye out for articles aimed at recruiters, describing new tactics for finding “talent” – I use quotes around that term because I hate it, and wrote about it on my now-inactive old blog:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A capital walks into a bar, and… Wait, you’ve never heard of a capital walking around? OK. A talent walks into a …. You’ve not heard of a talent walking either? A resource? No? Of course not! People walk into bars.

And this is a terrible secret in today’s workforce. We have Human Resources discussing Talent Acquisition and reading articles about Human Capital retention; these terms obfuscate that there are people involved. On a visceral level the use of such dehumanizing euphemisms has an extremely corrosive effect on multiple facets of the relationship between company and employee.

But back to the main topic.  One of the categories in my article aggregate is “Understanding the Other Side of the Table”.  The idea being to tell job seekers what kinds of topics might be in the air of their potential employers, the better to anticipate what they might do.  If companies are looking for people in Social Media (e.g., LinkedIn, twitter, etc.) then that’s where people need to be.

The flip side, however, is also true.  If companies need people, why are they not looking where the people are?  Despite unemployment being, what, seven-something percent, with estimates that the workforce has seen an unprecedented number of people no longer in it – having given up trying to find a job – companies still screech “shortage!”.    Other articles deny it.  I am in the latter camp, and have been for years.  A recent article, Hiring Managers: Don’t Try to Find the Perfect Employee!, echoes myriad other posts in the last years, including  my own essays published at Ask The Headhunter and in the Boston Business Journal back in 2006. (Shameless self-promotion there…)

A recent article I found through LinkedIn: Here are the Boston tech companies in a hiring frenzy Apparently the need is so acute that enormous bounties are being paid for people.  I’ve noticed a qualitative uptick in the number of jobs I’m getting through various job search agents – good news – but they’re all through recruiters.  Recruiters aren’t cheap.  Companies, apparently, are willing to spend big bucks to find people.

I am a member of several networking groups.  Acton Networkers and WIND are two excellent groups, each with mailing lists of thousands.  NewEnglandNetworking is a yahoogroup (it’s purely virtual) with a huge membership as well.  Scanning other boards, there are whole compilations of networking groups, e.g., job-hunt.org’s state-by-state compilation.

Every time I attend a meeting, the chairs are filled with educated, accomplished, skilled, and experienced people.  Motivated, thoughtful, eager people.  This is the tip of the iceberg given the groups’ size.  I gave a talk at Acton Networkers a few weeks back about networking tactics.  There had to be at least 50 people there.  Project Managers, Sales & Marketing, Software, Engineers, Quality, Supply Chain… doubtless in each group there are people soup-to-nuts what companies need.

If bank robbers robbed banks because “that’s where the money is”, why are corporate recruiters not looking at networking groups?  Because that’s where the people are.

© 2013, David Hunt, PE

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