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Why planning and communication are still key to a successful job hunt

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

If you're contemplating your next career move or actively looking for a new role, you may be feeling buoyed up by the current jobs market. These are exciting times for jobseekers, with more roles to choose from and more opportunities to work on your own terms, than we've seen in years. But – and it is a big but – things are rarely that simple and you will still need to think carefully about how you approach your job search and deal with prospective employers to give you the best chance of success.

As a jobseeker, you've almost certainly heard how difficult it is for some employers to fill their vacancies. You may also have read that there are fewer people applying for jobs at a time when many employers are going for growth and wanting to recruit.

This is an excellent time to be looking for a new role and you would be forgiven for thinking you could take your pick – and on some occasions you can! There are some exceptional candidates out there who are fortunate enough to attract multiple job offers but for most people, the reality is somewhat different.

The jobs market is nuanced and so much depends on the sector you're in, the level you're at and where you are located.

Don’t be complacent

It is important not to be complacent or half-hearted about recruitment. How you approach your job search, the effort you put into applying for roles and how you handle yourself during interviews, still matter. In fact these things matter a lot.

Employers may be eager to fill their roles but not at any cost. The clients that we work with in Oxfordshire and London are increasingly willing to be flexible to accommodate candidates' needs, but they are still discerning and in many cases, have high expectations. Understandably, they don't want to be messed around!

First and foremost, think carefully about what you want from your next role

Take time to consider the reasons why you want to leave your current employer or look for a new opportunity. This may help you to chrystalise what you do and don't want from your next role, your next team, your next employer.

It may be useful to draw up a list to help you evaluate your personal and professional priorities in the context of a new job.  The professional aspects may include the job itself, what you would like to be doing on a day-to-day basis, how you like to be managed, the sort of environment you prefer to work in, the type of people you enjoy spending time with, the type of company you want to work for, and any training or promotional opportunities that are important to you. Overall, it's worth trying to identify what you need to make you feel happy, motivated and fulfilled at work so that you (or your recruitment agent) can unearth the right job opportunities for you.

In parallel, you will also want to consider your personal circumstances. What salary are you looking for? Are there any particular benefits you value highly? Are you willing to commute – and if so, how far? Would you prefer to work from home and if so, how often? Would you like to work full or part-time? How would you like any new job to fit with other commitments and responsibilities? Which aspects are dealbreakers and which ones would you be willing to compromise on?

All of this may sound like pretty obvious stuff but it's amazing how many people embark on a job search without having thought everything through.

It is not uncommon for job candidates to withdraw their applications half-way through the process because they have suddenly decided they don't want to commute into an office two days a week – or to turn down a job offer because the salary isn’t high enough. In the vast majority of cases, these situations could have been avoided and time could have been much better spent focusing on opportunities that were better suited to their circumstances.

Open and honest communication is key

When it comes to recruitment, nothing beats regular, open and honest communication with your recruitment consultant (if you're working with one) as well as any prospective employers that you come into contact with.

The more transparent you are about your circumstances and what you are looking for, the better your recruitment consultant will be able to help you. Equally, the quicker you respond and the more open you are about your activities – for example which jobs you are applying for direct and which other agencies you've signed up to – the less duplication there will be and the faster your job search is likely to progress.

Your dream job is out there!

This is undeniably a great time to be looking for a new role. If you do your research and carefully consider your next move from all angles, and approach your search with integrity and commitment, you will be highly regarded and your dream job should be yours for the taking!

Other blogs you may find useful

  • Oxfordshire Recruitment Market Overview (Oct-Dec 2021): This is largely aimed at employers but you may find it interesting to gain an insight into the local jobs market and the challenges that some employers are facing.
  • How to choose between job offers: It is not uncommon for exceptional job applicants to attract more than one job offer which is exciting, but also confusing and sometimes a little daunting. If you find yourself in this enviable position, this blog may prove useful.
  • Four reasons to avoid counter-offers from your existing employer: While it may be flattering and very tempting to accept a counter-offer from your current employer, it is important to remember the reasons why you wanted to leave in the first place. This blog will help you to think things through.

About the Author

Kate Allen is the founder and Managing Director of Oxfordshire and London-based recruitment agency Allen Associates and can be contacted at

Read Kate's bio and meet the rest of the team, here.

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