Water sustainability – where are the jobs?

It has begun. Government money is starting to flow into water sustainability here in Australia, and we are starting to see the emergence of real jobs in the area.

Because water has so many aspects, and any kind of water resource has a gazillion stakeholders, water sustainability is inherently a cross-disciplinary pursuit. You must cross-over the natural and engineered water-cycles and hence have a working knowledge of both hydrology/hydrogeology and civil/chemical engineering. You have to know behavioural science, economics and finance, advanced project management techniques, water science and urban planning.

I already have job opportunities for these people, so if you are one then get in touch!

Using Recruiters – Part 2

 The second part in my series on how job seekers can use third party recruiters more effectively

Getting a meeting

A good recruiter is aware that having a great resume is not necessarily an indicator of placeability. As long as your resume looks moderately okay, i.e. doesn’t make you look crazy or completely incompetent, a recruiter will generally meet you if he/she thinks you look like you might be ‘placeable’ . You can refer to my earlier post on placeability, but it is essentially a function of how attractive you are to their client employers, and how likely you are to accept an offer if you get one. You will be a lot more placeable to a recruiter who specialises in your area of expertise, so if you have sent an unsolicited resume, try and make sure you have sent it to someone who is knowledgable and respected as a recruiter in your area of expertise.

After you have sent in your resume, it will not hurt at all to follow up with a phone call…and then another phone call, and another if necessary. If you appear super-keen, that tells the recruiter that you are more likely to accept an offer if you get one, so your placeability increases. You shouldn’t give the impression that you are dealing with multiple recruitment firms – that makes you a much less attractive candidate to invest time in, as you may end up getting a job through someone else.

There are a couple of things to watch out for when meeting recruiters. Many larger recruitment firms have very strict KPIs (key performance indicators) which recruiters have to hit on a weekly basis. This is how large firms guarantee a certain level of performance per head of staff. A very common KPI is number of candidate meetings. If you get a call on a Thursday from a recruiter who is very keen to meet with you the next day, even though he doesn’t seem to have the perfect job in mind for you, it may be that you are just making up the numbers on his weekly candidate meeting KPI target.

Some firms have candidate ‘ownership’. A recruiter may just want to meet you so that they ‘own’ you, and get a portion of the fee if you happen to get placed. The problem with this is that it will make you a less attractive candidate for any job, because if that job is ‘owned’ by a different recruiter within the firm, he/she will have to share the fee with the recruiter who ‘owns’ you the candidate. The job-owning recruiter will prefer to place one of their own candidates.

Subscibe to the feed to get the rest of the using recruiters series to your feed reeder.

Hot career planning tip

If you are considering whether or not to take a job, and you are having trouble deciding if it is the right move for you, try this trick.

 Put a date on your resume 3 years in the future, and write the job into your resume. Look at your resume with the opportunity included and examine how you feel. Are you happy to be that person? Does the job seem to lead naturally into the next role?

This will help you make sure that you are accepting the job for strategic reasons, not opportunistic ones.

Negotiating Salary

I have seen the salary negotiation process from every possible angle, and if you are going through it now, congratulations on being offered a job!  A lot of my ideas on salary negotiation are derived from “Getting To Yes” a great book on negotiation by two Harvard academics, Roger Fisher and William Ury. Kind of a slog to get through at times, but a great book on negotiation generally.

1. Know your walk-away point
Your walk-away point is the salary level at which you would no longer accept the job. It is determined by the alternative available to you – what  you would do if you didn’t take this job. Employers will tend to assume that your current salary, or another standing job offer, will determine your walk away point, as this is your alternative to taking their job. If you are unemployed and have no other offers  then they will assume that your walk-away salary point is pretty low! (so don’t quit your job before getting your next one if money is important to you!!).

2. Have other offers
Point one leads to this point, which is that you will get a higher salary if you have multiple offers going at the same time. You absolutely can’t be seen to be playing one off against the other, but having other offers will raise your walk-away point. On no account should you lie about having other offers, unless you are a very good poker player – you don’t want anyone calling your bluff.

3. Be creative
You want to work for them, they want you to work for them, but you want more than they can put on the table – some employers have narrow salary bands for certain level roles and cannot go outside them. Try and find other forms of compensation – can they pay for further study, a car or telephone or home office? Could they offer a bonus or equity? Alternatively, would you accept a lower salary in return for greater flexibility ior alternative working conditions? There may be other forms of compensation other than guaranteed cash.

4.Use your recruiter
Recruiters really come in handy for salary negotiations, as you can get them to push for your interests without you yourself being perceived as greedy. However, you have to be aware of their situation and interests. They want you to accept an offer. If you are the only candidate they have to put forward for a role, they really want the deal to go through so they can get their fee, and they will try very hard to get a win-win outcome for both parties. However if they have multiple candidates put forward for the same role, they will not care whether it is you or the other candidate/s who gets the job – they still get the fee. So take the trouble to find out how strong your position is with the recruiter.

5. Don’t pay too much attention to salary tables

There are a lot of salary tables out there showing average salaries for certain roles in certain industries – don’t pay too much attention to them. Each case is decided on how much you want them and they want you.

6. But the market rules
In the end, if they are underpaying you, you will be able to get another job – your walk-away point will change, and you can ask for more money (or go somewhere else). If they are overpaying you, you’d better work out a way to increase your value, or you will be replaced by someone cheaper!