Career Management

For many individuals the prospect of being approached by a headhunter could be a terrifying one. For a start, the experience is an unannounced one – more often than not the headhunter will call a potential candidate out of the blue. Due to this, the timing may not be perfect – oftentimes the headhunter will contact the individual to discuss new employment opportunities whilst they are physically in their current place of work. Because this prospect is so daunting individuals should arm themselves with the correct knowledge on how to deal with this situation just in case a headhunter does indeed one day reach out to them.

Why has the headhunter phoned?

For individuals who have no experience in dealing with headhunters it would be easy to assume that the headhunter has phoned solely for the purpose of making a solid job offer. This, however, is not the case. Rather than making any such concrete proposals the headhunter is instead attempting to “feel out” a number of potential candidates at the same time. This means that the headhunter will contact several individuals who they believe may have the potential to fill the role he has on offer.

From here the headhunter will gauge, via a telephone chat more often than not, whether the individual would be hypothetically interested in the position were it to be offered to them. As not everyone would be interested, or are more than content in their current place of work, a headhunter will narrow down his long list to a shorter one comprising solely of candidates that would potentially accept the job if it were to be offered to them.

Interacting with the recruiter

Even though, as mentioned before, when a headhunter calls he is not offering a job or even conducting a formal interview it is probably a good idea to act as if they are. As with a job interview this means maintain a level of formality as well as being as polite and courteous as possible.

In doing this the individual is able to separate himself from other potential candidates, all of whom are more than likely from a similar background with similar levels of experience, and it is small touches such as these that will ultimately give an individual the edge over their competition.

To screen your headhunter, check out Interview Questions for Recruiters.

The first call

Headhunters seldom announce when they are due to make their first call – it usually arrives from out of the blue and, because of this, can induce panic in those not expecting it who are ill prepared to deal with the call. Panic can be induced by individuals overly concerning themselves with where the headhunter got their details from.

Usually the answer is something innocuous along the lines of the contact details being forwarded by a work colleague or acquaintance. Failling this it is entirely possible that the headhunter could have found the details online in a directory or an o social media site such as LinkedIn. Once this has been ascertained it is easier for the individual to relax and discuss the matter at hand.

More on headhunter questions at Why Do Recruitment Consultants Ask Such Crazy Questions?

Talk later if need be

Another aspect of the headhunting process that can make individuals uncomfortable relates to the location they are in when receiving the recruiters call. Usually this is in their current work environment and the idea of discussing future work opportunities whilst in their area of employ can be difficult for some. The best ways to sidestep these issues is to simply ask the headhunter if it would be possible to swap contact details and speak at a more convenient time and location.

On top of alleviating any awkwardness the conversation may have suffered from it also gives the individual the opportunity to go home and research the headhunters’ company and also the opportunity which is to be discussed. Rather than be uncomfortable, the individual can now speak from a convenient place and can also prepare examples from their CV which may impress the headhunter.

Headhunters still not ringing? Check out 10 Secrets to Getting Yourself Headhunted.

Author: Kieron Casey is a BA (Hons) Journalism who blogs regularly on topics related to business and careers. Amongst the many subjects he writes about include international headhunters, headhunters Germany and headhunters Netherlands.

Image: Shutterstock

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