I often receive enquiries from frustrated specialist and management candidates who during the last few months have lost their jobs within the Norwegian Oil & Gas Industry. I sincerely appreciate these enquiries and at the end of the day I would rather receive too many than too few. Who knows, sometime in the future any of these candidates could be relevant to my clients…
I do however understand that this is a time of great frustration for those now losing their jobs. I do notice though that a lot of this frustration is directed towards us as Head-hunters who during the last few years have contacted these candidates on a regular basis, offering them jobs on behalf of our clients. Now however, we are not interested in these same people anymore. We don’t have any positons for them! Thanks but no thanks.
There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with Head-hunters having such an attitude. At the end of the day, we work on behalf of our clients and we need to stick to exactly that. Having said that, one could argue that such an attitude is somewhat naïve. Although we as Head-hunters, the same as everyone else, do our job to make money, perhaps there are some of us that also care about giving a good service and going the extra mile? For that reason, I have as a Head-hunter decided not to say; ‘thanks but no thanks’. I choose to say; ‘thank you very much, yes please.’
In September I received a call from a frustrated but very nice lady from Stavanger. She had recently lost her job as a Project Manager for a large Oil and Gas Service Company and as a result she was looking for new challenges. She had spent several weeks looking for a position that matched her profile but without any success. There was nothing out there unfortunately.
She also experienced that the Head-hunters who had been so busy calling her over the last few years now suddenly didn’t want to speak with her. An informal chat or a meeting over a coffee was out of the question. Strange she thought, considering how keen they were to speak with her only a few months ago??? I was on her list of Head-hunters too, and I decided to speak with her. Not because I am super kind or think I can save everyone who has lost their job recently, but I thought I would give it a shot. She was very nice, so irrespective of the outcome of our talk, at least I would have had a nice time.
We met for a coffee that quickly turned into two, three and then four cups at Forus in Stavanger. Thankfully, most of my customers have not been effected by the down turn in the oil industry in Norway and as a result I had a genuine hope of being able to find her a position. There was however one big problem: her experience was 100% from the topside part of the industry while most of my customers were either Subsea, Well Services or G&G Companies. Bugger. Guess this is where our relationship stops? Of course not.
During the fourth cup of coffee we agreed on a list of eight companies that I would make contact with. The candidate provided me with an excellent written CV, tailored as much as she could towards the targeted audience and also arranged for me to have conversations with her referees (4 in total and they were fantastic!). It was almost like there wasn’t much for me to do at all! (Thanks, you know who you are).
As soon as the references had been done there was only one thing for me to do; call the 8 companies. It was great talking to them all and I informed them about the candidate’s experience, why she was looking for a new job and not least how good her references were. The initial feedback was very good indeed and we all agreed that an experienced Project Manager did not necessarily need to have an in-depth knowledge of their product in order to do an excellent job. The most important thing was the she was good with people and could run a project blindfolded.
Out of the 8 companies contacted, none of them had any relevant positions advertised. Irrespective of this, 6 of them decided they wanted to invite her in for an informal chat over a cup of coffee. Why? Well for one, they thought in an opportunistic manner. Secondly, these people are in good management or HR position today due to the fact they can see the potential in people. Brilliant! The frustration and fear she had previously portrayed had now moved over into excitement, hope and promise. During the next 5 days, the candidate had meetings with the 6 companies that were highly informative.
Having informal meetings over a cup of coffee certainly does not always lead to something, particularly considering these companies did not have any suitable positions for the candidate at present. Well, that’s how many of us may think but that doesn’t mean this is always the case. The candidate understood this and so too did the companies.
The following week she was asked to attend a second round interview with two of the companies. As soon as she had sat down on the sofa with a nice cup of coffee after the last interview she received a call – a call from me to say, “They both want to make you an offer.”
You may be able to guess what happened next? Yes, you are right. She started a position two weeks ago and is enjoying it very much so far. She now has the opportunity to further develop within a new area of the industry while her new employer will be able to draw upon her experience which previously they did not have within their company. A ‘win-win’ situation for all.
It was incredibly pleasing to have had the opportunity to work with this candidate, and as always, my clients too. I am positive that this candidate now holds all of the 8 companies in high regard and that she will speak highly of them to friends, family and associates. Branding such as this is something we simply don’t get for free these days.
Best of all: To those of you who are now looking for work, I can only say: Good luck and things will sort themselves out for you. Don’t be scared of trying new methods, don’t be scared to use your creative side and most importantly: Do not give up. At the same time I do hope that my recruitment colleagues here in Norway also see the opportunities in candidates such as in this true story. Please open your doors to them. Hopefully you also see that it is time that Head-hunters give something back to all those candidates we have called and ‘hassled’ over the last 5 years or so? If not, then perhaps you see this as an opportunity to make money. If this isn’t good enough then don’t worry: I would be more than happy for these candidates to contact me and my company instead. I am pretty sure my clients will too.
Once again, thank you very much for having trusted me with your CV and career (you know who you are) and all the best in your new venture.What is particular pleasing with this situation and what makes it my favourite placement in 2014 so far is the fact that this women had lost her job due to the cost savings within the oil and gas industry, but managed to get back into work within a short space of time. This shows that there is an opportunity for everyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. It also shows that frustration and fear must be left behind and that you need to focus on creativity and hope while remaining 100% positive. In doing so, you will be absolutely fine.