Resources: LinkedIn increasingly important for jobhunters

06 February 2014

A generation ago, job ads were the way to find jobs. Then it was online advertising boards. Today, many vacancies never even make it to market, filled instead through professional network referrals and online headhunting. According to Peter Antonius, Managing Director of the Australian office of RGP, the importance of a ‘professional’ network is becoming increasingly important for people looking for a new job.


“The market dynamic has changed. Due to the current economic climate, where people are finding it harder to find opportunities, job seekers are realising that a professional network is critical to success”. The global business platform LinkedIn plays a central role. “The advantage with LinkedIn is that you may be able to find out who the company might be linked to in your network, and that informal referral goes a long way in terms of recruitment. A candidate can go from possibly number 90 in the pile to potentially number one”.

LinkedIn increasingly important for jobhunters

Yet the Resources consultant warns that simply adding as many people as you can on LinkedIn is not the answer. “We have to remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook” says Antonius. “You have to, in a professional and courteous way, build a professional network of people with whom you have some commonality and a good rapport – people who may be of mutual benefit at some point”. He adds: “Join communities and groups on LinkedIn that are in your field. Keep an eye out for networking events that might be good to attend”.

Search for opportunities

As a result of the poor economy, Antonius emphasizes that a proactive approach is key: “In this market, in particular, you have to take matters into your own hands. You can’t rely on the recruiters and you can’t rely on werving en selectiekantoren, because there is just not enough opportunity out there. You have to be more proactive than ever”.

His advice to job seekers is to take a two-pronged approach. “One approach is a bit more direct, where you are going straight to the organisation or leveraging off that organisation to attend events. And then it’s through your network – use them to help you get information and contacts in that organisation or connect with people they may know who could help”.



Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.