In the spring of 2016, I was involved as a final candidate in a headhunting process that did not lead me to a contract of employment. However, the headhunter responsible for the search contacted me later suggesting that if I could consider a career as a headhunter myself. At first, I was hesitant, but when I considered my previous roles during my career, the idea began started to feel as the right move. The role as a headhunter contained so many same similarities and legalities of which I had previously been involved in and in charge of. Furthermore, I got a really good impression about the person who handled the process, so I ended up being headhunted by a headhunter as headhunter. Looking now back, this has been a great experience for me, both professionally and personally.

What I have learned and experienced along the way? Headhunters are, above all, the customers representatives when they are discussing with the candidates, so each and every time you either meet or interview a candidate you need to keep in mind what kind of picture you are giving as a representative not only of my own company, but also the hiring  company. In fact, besides the client, I also consider the candidates as my customers to whom I also want to provide good service, because without good candidates it is difficult to practice this profession. As a result, I decided from day one start gathering information of what the candidate during the recruitment process really appreciate or, in fact how to differentiate positively. These five features rose above others:

  • regular contact with the candidate
  • use the phone instead of e-mail
  • a conversational, non-questionable interview
  • understanding of the profile of the requested task and assessing its suitability for the candidate
  • giving feedback and monitoring

I ask and define things together with the client that are meaningful in regards of the candidates profile and personality. During the candidates interview I tend to put extra effort in these things that usually makes a difference between candidates. A good listener and observer can pick up these tiny signals and by focusing on these he or she will differ positively from the others. One of our aim is to get the candidate to see their strengths that matters and to emphasize them. Things that may be relevant to the assignment, but are obvious to you, may be missing from a CV or an application. My personal opinion about a good CV covers following:

  • a clear and chronologically structured CV with a good quality picture
  • PDF format
  • a pure title is not enough; describe the role and your area of ​​your responsibility
  • tell your achievements; use numbers, growth rates, etc.
  • “less is more”

If the recruiting company allows I always want to participate in final interviews with the candidate. In these occasions, my role is mainly to act as a facilitator and to ensure that the conversation remains on the right track. Sometimes the client asks me for my opinion. In these cases, I remind the client of the original brief when profile definition was done in the beginning of the project and of the success factors that are relevant to the assignment. I also tell my opinion if asked and sometimes I may even challenge the client. In my opinion, the candidate can also prepare him-/ herself in advance in many ways before the interview.

  • emphasize your strengths relevant to the assignment
  • be curious and present, remember body language as well as listening
  • think of your questions on beforehand and ask questions that are relevant to the role and expectations
  • use concrete examples of your achievements (percentages, growth, etc.)
  • do your homework regarding the company, organisation, market and competition

I believe that by considering these simple things make you much more desirable and better prepared.

The author is the CEO of InHunt World – Global Headhunting Network.

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