When the mighty hunter unwittingly becomes the prey, the laws of nature are upturned and yet balance is simultaneously restored. The status quo would involve the hunter (you) chasing down the prey (a job), however in this case the hunter is now being head-hunted – a far more favourable state of affairs.
Let me be clear in saying that reaching ‘hunter-hunted’ status is synonymous with rising the ranks and/or making a splash in your respective field – in essence, a recruiter will come looking for you when you have skills-in-demand or when your professional reputation precedes you. On a personal note, my best job offers started rolling in about 2 years into my entrepreneurial journey; Murphy’s Law, I guess. If you aspire to be head-hunted by a credible recruiter, or have wondered why the right roles aren’t coming your way; do consider my advice below.
Develop upfront relationships with recruiters – Building a solid relationship with a recruiter you trust can come in handy down the road. You may be interested to know that most people are willing to move if the right opportunity presents itself; and as such are registered with recruitment agencies.
Your individual relationship with someone within your agency of choice and staying top-of-mind with an executive search consultant (head-hunter) will mean being in-the-know and creating the first right of refusal for yourself. The best senior candidates we work with go so far as to recommend viable alternatives – stars keep the company of stars; such leads usually result in a win-win scenario: you help a contact secure a great job and further solidify the relationship with your recruiter.
Be easy to contact – whether you’re on the market or not, you need to ensure you are easily traceable. A recruiter’s time is limited, so list your personal email and number on your LinkedIn profile (we rarely write to work email addresses) to make the process as pain-free as possible. It goes without saying, that you should respond irrespective of whether you are interested or not! (See point 1 above).
Never Say No until you ask, ‘why not?’ – Before a practical decision can be made (about anything for that matter) you need all the facts in your hand – in this case, ask your recruiter questions about the organisation, role and reason for the opening. View a role profile and give the opportunity considerable thought before declining. I’ll let you in on a recruiters’ secret: when we repeatedly reach out about different roles and get turned down without ‘probable cause’ we focus our attention elsewhere. Fussiness isn’t the issue here; clear feedback on your ‘why not’ is what is lacking.
Share your accomplishments – To be headhunted you will not only need to have skills, attributes and talents in demand but be able to portray a seamless personal brand built on firm foundations of professional achievement. Attract the right attention by sharing your accomplishments and key career milestones. There is no shame in having your hard work pay off; if anything, the frenzy drives more head-hunters your way.
Don’t play hard-to-get – Nobody likes games or having their time wasted; ensure you are always upfront with your recruiter – particularly about whether you have already pursued the same role in an alternative way – most importantly, if this is a role you really want, say so! A recruiter is far more likely to gun for you knowing you truly want the role; rather than attending an interview to affirm that you’ve “still got it.”