Being headhunted can be a pivotal moment in your career. By making yourself visible to recruiters, you can find positions that allow you to take that next step up the career ladder. If you are on the lookout for the next step up, getting the attention of a recruiter could be vital.
Executive search processes are used to find talent to fill senior positions within companies. They are also used when unique and in demand skills are required to meet business needs.
If you’re new to dealing with recruiters, our guide will demystify the headhunting process. We’ll also give those all important tips on putting yourself on the radar and making connections in the recruitment world.
A headhunter is a company or individual that provides employment recruiting services on behalf of the employer. Headhunters are hired by firms to find talent and to locate individuals who meet specific job requirements.
A headhunter is someone who specialises in recruiting suitable candidates for roles. They look out for candidates outside of the agency applicants.
This means they may try to recruit employees not actively looking for a new role. When you are headhunted, the recruiter has seen your potential and may have a good match for you.
Headhunting vs Executive Search
Headhunting is sometimes referred to as an executive search. Headhunters are hired by companies looking for new staff. They are used when a particular skill set is required and will approach employees in employment already.
When you are headhunted, you are approached by the company’s headhunter. They will often call you, either at work or using your mobile, to discuss a potential interview. Linkedin is also commonly used for initial approaches.
The initial interview will take place with the headhunter who will then refer you to the company if appropriate.
Companies use headhunters so that they whittle the candidates down to the most qualified individuals. Employers will then interview the ones selected and make the final decision.
How to Get Headhunted
Now, although you do not need to be actively seeking a new job to be headhunted, you do need to show on headhunters’ radars. There are subtle ways you can do this without your boss becoming suspicious of your intentions.
Follow our 5 steps below to make your presence known to potential headhunters.
1. Be Visible
There are ways to make yourself visible to headhunters using the internet. Commonly on sites such as Linkedin.
You can also make sure your CV is available to view online. Keep it up to date with any new skills, qualifications, and experiences you gain. Be sure it has all your correct contact information too. Headhunters will search websites for candidates’ CVs so make this as easy as possible to find.
Do be careful about what you put online, however. If recruiters can find your information, so can your current employer.
It is possible to show your visibility offline too. Headhunters will attend training events, seminars and other big events so always be ready to impress.
When you attend networking events, take along some business cards, and hand them out as much as possible.
You need to stand out from other professionals in the same industry.
You can do this by making sure your online profile speaks for itself. Update it regularly with anything relevant to your role. Have a nosey at some other profiles and try to make yours that little bit more noticeable.
When you attend networking events or seminars, make yourself noticed. Be confident, mingle with people, and talk when offered the chance to.
When it comes to signing yourself into these events, be sure to include your full name and number. This makes it easier for any headhunter to make future contact with you.
You don’t need to sit tight and hope a headhunter discovers you.
You can approach them. Should you be wanting to dip your toe into the recruitment pool then don’t be afraid to initiate the contact.
Headhunters are easy enough to find online and you can forward your CV to them. They will have a contact number, social media presence and email address so you have plenty of options available.
Making contact doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a job offer but it does get you into the system. Once they have your details, they can contact you at any time with a suitable job position.
Even if you aren’t ready to take on a new role. remain approachable.
When a headhunter calls you, be open and professional with them. First impressions count for a great deal. This is the headhunter’s first opportunity to speak with you, be sure they see the best of you.
Headhunters will often call your place of work which isn’t always ideal, depending on the work environment. Don’t be afraid to take their details and call them back at a time to suit you. Try not to fob them off and then not call them back – this certainly won’t leave a great first impression.
Even if you aren’t actively seeking a new job at that moment in time, it is still a useful conversation to have. Ask the headhunter to keep your details on record and to get in touch in the future. It’s always useful to keep yourself on their radar.
Never be afraid to shine and show your skills off.
You don’t need to do this in a boastful manner either. Show integrity and grace while still making sure any headhunter wants you on their radar.
List all those skills you have and every piece of experience you have under your belt. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a biggie too, so make sure any training you undertake is also available to see.
Telling Your Employer You’ve Been Headhunted
The next hurdle is knowing when to tell your employer you have been headhunted.
Timing is everything here. It is very exciting to be headhunted, especially should you be keen to take on a new job. However, there is a danger of being a little premature in telling your boss so it is important to judge this well. On the flip side though, you don’t want them to find out before you have told them.
You need to put yourself first in this situation and do what is best for you. Don’t want to create awkwardness too early on. You also need to be sure of what you plan to do. There is little point in letting your current employer know if you are unsure of your next steps.
However, even if you decide not to leave, you might want to try and negotiate your contract. You can do this by making it clear to your employer that you have been headhunted.
If you do decide to take the new job if offered, then you would hand in your notice as per your contract.
How to Deal with Employer Counter Offers
Once you tell your employer you have been headhunted, it can be used to your advantage.
Should you be happy in your current position, you can use this as a negotiation tool for your current contract. You may wish to negotiate a wage increase, different hours, or other perks. Your boss will either think about and agree or they will reject your negotiations.
Either way, it should make it clearer to you which path to take.
Be Prepared for Gardening Leave
Such negotiations may not always go the way you hoped and it is important to be aware of this.
Once your employer knows you have been headhunted they may not want to negotiate anything with you. This can seem harsh but businesses will do what is best for them, not you. Following a negative response like this, you may decide to jump ship.
Once this happens and you initiate the process of handing in your notice, your employer may place you on gardening leave. This is the case if you work in a competitive industry and the business needs to protect its reputation.
Gardening leave prevents you from starting a new job until the notice period ends. You do not perform any duties during gardening leave and you must stay away from the workplace. You remain tied to your employer under your contract during this time. This strategy protects confidential information and stops employees from doing any damage to the company name.