As a headhunt search company we are in business to help clients find the high calibre people they need to be successful.
We find people by identifying and then headhunting target individuals who we believe have the right skills and attributes that we are looking for. That’s great – but when a headhunter rings you, what is it really like?
As a rule of thumb, we will firstly call the individual and identify that it is in fact them speaking (and not their manager who’s answered their line); then we will make them aware that we are a headhunting organisation and that we would like to have a conversation with them about an career opportunity. We’ll ask “is it a convenient time to talk?”
7 out of 10 times it is not a good time, so we will agree an alternative time for us to call the individual back at a more convenient time. This happens as the majority of people work in an office or work environment with colleagues around, so it is invariably not sensible or professional to have an open conversation about a career move within earshot of colleagues.
Once we are able to have an open conversation, we will then outline what we are looking for, what the career opportunity is and whether there is any mileage in talking about the role in more detail.
Our advice to anyone that is headhunted is listen to the opportunity, then make a yes/no/maybe (need more info) decision. Be clear and decisive in your decision-making and the headhunter will appreciate it.
Like any business relationship, being upfront and honest pays dividends. Any good headhunter will operate in your specialist niche markets and will have an encyclopedic knowledge of your industry and a huge network of contacts (usually your colleagues / managers) so it is wise to give a headhunter a positive opinion and keep them onside.
One real issue that we do encounter working with more “passive” candidates is a tendency to arrange then cancel interviews with clients. Even if you are not “actively” looking for a job, should you decide to go and talk to a company then our advice is to 100% commit to the meeting and treat it as any other job interview.
Approaching things with a half-hearted attitude means both parties lose out. Countless times we’ve known candidates go and meet companies with less than 100% commitment & found out that the job is a great fit; yet the client company isn’t interested as the interview “didn’t go that well as the candidate wasn’t overly interested”. You can’t turn this situation around.
Everyone has “emergencies” that cause meetings to be cancelled – but don’t make a habit of it as headhunters & clients remember let-downs and it can harm your reputation in your market.
Headhunters are massively influential people and you never know when you really do need those relationships.