Looking for a new job can be time-consuming, particularly if you’re balancing your search with a current role. Being headhunted, or executive searched, is certainly an attractive prospect but how do you put yourself in the best position to be discovered? From sharpening your social media presence to being interview-ready, we offer some top tips on how to get headhunted.
Decide on your goals
Your strategy and tactics should be based on an honest examination of your goals. Why do you want to be headhunted? Is it an ego-driven exercise and if so, what does that tell you about what’s lacking in your current role, or your life in general? What do you want to change about your job and what kind of business or opportunity could help you do that? Do you have particular companies in mind and, if so, why is being headhunted the preferred option over reaching out or applying to vacancies directly? Good recruiters will probably explore these questions with you so being clear on your goals and objectives will make everybody’s lives easier.
Put yourself out there
Effective and appropriate self-promotion is the key to making yourself visible to headhunters. Have a think about where potential employers or headhunters might find you. Are there forums you could engage with or networking events and conferences to attend? Perhaps your ideal recruitment company sponsors events that could facilitate an introduction. When attending events, try not to be too single-minded in identifying useful people to chat with. Talk to as many people as possible - you never know who might be a great contact to have in the future.
If you’re already working and hoping to be targeted online, spare yourself an awkward conversation with your boss by adjusting the settings on your social media and job sites so that only recruiters can see that you’re available.
Keep your feet on the ground
Don’t let your ego get in the way of finding the right job for you. We all like to be flattered and it’s a huge compliment to be singled out as an exceptional person in your field. But make sure you’re asking all the right questions about the opportunity and that you aren’t hearing what you want to hear.
Have a strong and authentic online presence
Curating and managing a professional online presence is vital to present your best self to recruiters. Make sure your social media profiles are up to date, accurate and that the information is well prioritised to catch the attention straight away. If you haven’t already got them ask colleagues for testimonials and make sure your connections include a variety of recruitment companies. Unless you’re aiming for a non-traditional sector it’s not a good idea to use leisure-themed photos on your profile, even if they are at an awards ceremony. Far better to include a head and shoulders image that presents you as both approachable and professional.
If appropriate to your role or sector, consider writing a blog or posting articles on LinkedIn to show an in-depth understanding of your market and its challenges. Make the content authoritative and inclusive and address your communities problems and questions. To keep your posts visible encourage comments by tagging some of your contacts.
A word of warning - make sure you adjust the privacy settings on your personal social media accounts so potential recruiters won’t see any inappropriate personal activity. If that seems too risky consider using a pseudonym on platforms like Facebook, at least while you’re in the market for a new role.
Demonstrate the contribution you have made to your industry
In addition to the aforementioned blog, you should make every effort to show how accomplished and respected you are in your industry. If you’ve spoken at conferences, share clips on social media, mentioning peers who were also speaking to mitigate any perceptions of humble-bragging. You could also approach industry websites with ideas for articles they might like to publish. This will help your name gain traction on search engines and social media as well as raising your profile more generally. Make sure the publisher links the author credit to your social media page and ask them to tag you when they promote the article.
Work with the right recruiters
Recruitment is a highly competitive sector so, unfortunately, not every headhunter or recruitment consultant has your best interests at heart. While it’s important to put yourself out there and be open to new opportunities you need to qualify your contacts to make sure they are reputable and they aren’t simply looking to force you into a role that isn’t right for you, just to get their fee.
Good recruiters want to understand your goals and expectations right from the start. They will ask about the desired salary and package, the locations you are open to and what you hope to achieve from the move. Naturally, they will also want to hear about your own key selling points so they can present to their clients accurately. The recruiter doesn’t need to be an expert in your sector but they should have a general understanding of the market and how your role fits in. They should also give ample information about their client including workplace culture, the team you’ll be working with and how the company or role might develop in the future.
If you feel you are being rushed or coerced into anything take a step back, talk with friends, check the recruiter’s credentials and only re-connect if you are sure they’re on the level.
You never know how swiftly your mission might become a reality so make sure you are in the position to interview at short notice. Update your CV, polish those profiles, workshop some interview questions, read up on current industry developments and research any clients you have your eye on. Even if they aren’t recruiting, you’ll gain valuable insights from researching the competition.
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