Many young executives question the role of the headhunter in today’s job market. Having never been headhunted, they are unaware of the importance that a headhunter can have in their career progression. Middle and senior managers are accustomed to receiving these types of calls because throughout their careers, they have been approached and know that a headhunter is very useful when it comes to seeking new responsibilities.
In the area of social media and job posting sites, young professionals looking for a job or looking for a new challenge do not have the reflex to contact a headhunter. And this is quite normal since they usually find a position quickly.
On the other hand, by gaining experience and diversifying their management skills, they become a sought-after category for headhunters who carry out very specific mandates for clients (SMEs, large companies, etc.).
It will therefore be up to the headhunter to establish this first communication. He or she will have identified you either through his or her network of contacts, or via social media, or in a directory of specific professionals. It is from the mandate that has been entrusted to him or her that the headhunter will determine the ideal profile and consequently, his or her research will perhaps lead them to you.
Confidentiality is crucial
The headhunter works in discretion and confidentiality so speak without fear. The headhunter will briefly tell you about the mandate, but most of all, he or she will want to get to know you. Who are you as a professional? What are your motivations and ambitions? Are you happy in your position, are you listening to the market? The franker you are, the more you will help him/her to help you! No one benefits from wasting time. If your conversation leads him or her to conclude that you have what he or she is looking for and call you for an interview. This will give you the opportunity to heighten your knowledge of the mandate but also to confirm if this is the kind of challenge you are interested in.
His/her services were called upon to identify the best candidates to fill the position, to present a short list of executives who combine know-how and interpersonal skills according to the state of the market.
It’s all about networking
If, on the other hand, he or she considers that you do not have the profile he or she is looking for, he or she will want to call on your network to help identify potential candidates. It is a good idea to end the conversation by suggesting a few members of your network who could meet the headhunter’s needs. The power of networking is infinite and one of these days, it is sure to be a member of your network who will recommend you. Sometimes people are afraid to refer someone because they don’t want to offend them by giving their name to a headhunter, but rest assured, it is almost always considered very rewarding to have been recommended.
The headhunter is aware of the state of the job market.
Another thing to keep in mind is that no one knows the state of the labour market better than a headhunter. He or she receives classified information from senior executives, he or she is on the lookout for company sales/acquisitions, he or she has a wealth of data on most companies that could require executive search services. Also, don’t hesitate to call your headhunter back if you are considering making a job change. He or she will probably be able to confirm if you are doing the right thing or if you need to question the high turnover rate in management.
Ethics and professional conduct go hand in hand
The headhunting profession is overseen by a professional order: The Chartered Human Resources Advisors Ordre (CRHA). The Code of Conduct for External Recruiters brings together the foundations that govern headhunters. One does not improvise oneself as a headhunter: one becomes one by carrying out mandates.
And remember that a headhunter has the memory of an elephant, so he or she will remember you if you return his or her call!
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