How To Get Ahead When You’re Being Headhunted

So you’re being headhunted? Lucky you. You hold all the cards, but you need to play them carefully to maximise your success. If you’re fortunate enough to be so much at the top of your game that companies are beating a path to your door, then you’ll want to make the most of your winning hand. However, being headhunted isn’t always straightforward. So be a good boy (or girl) scout and know how to be prepared to deal with head hunters. Here’s what you need to know.

Be Available

Playing hard to get doesn’t really work in the headhunting world. No matter how good you are, if you’re turning potential head hunters away, the chances are they won’t come back. Make sure your assistant/secretaries put through these calls through to you straight away, and if you’re busy be sure to make sure you get back to them as soon as you can. However, do be sure to check their credentials. Unfortunately, not all calls are what they might seem. So always establish if your caller is a genuine corporate head hunter by asking for their name, business and website so you can check them out online. If they phone at an awkward moment, in front of your boss or during a meeting for example, remain vague and tell them you will call them back.

Establish their Needs

Before running to get your coat and telling your secretary to find your replacement, establish the nature of their business. In some cases, they may only want you as an industry source for suitable candidates. If this is the case, be as helpful as possible which will stand you in good stead for any job searches in the future. On the other hand, if they’re offering you a shot at an opportunity, then get as many details as you can. If you’ve no interest in the role, then tell them why. They may still pursue you as a candidate, but as long as you have been frank, you can’t be guilty of wasting their time. You never know if you may need them in the future, or what other opportunities they might consider you for.

Follow Through

If you are interested, follow up with an email detailing your reflections on the role, along with your CV. Remember that you could be one of a few to be offered a chance to apply for a role, so don’t behave as if it’s in the bag already. Merely express your hypothetical interest, and remain relatively formal and polite.

Don’t Be Flattered

Many head hunters play on the fact that those they have sought out will be flattered enough to allow their ego to override their judgement. This gives the head hunter the opportunity to make you accept a position that seems better than it is. recommends biding your time before making a final decision, and to thoroughly research and think about all the factors that go into job decisions first.

Wendy Lin is a writer and private business consultant. She enjoys travelling with her family and painting watercolour art in her free time.