I’ve been in the headhunting industry almost 10 years. During those years I’ve let many people down and particularly because of one reason – I didn’t show enough interest because I didn’t have time to talk with them about their future.
10 or 20 years ago it was important for headhunters to build their network and have conversations with almost every possible potential candidate. The big black notebook full of names was the most powerful tool for every headhunter. Those times have changed and thanks to the digitalization and rapid development, finding candidates is not a problem and is definitely not limited to our own networks. Actually, quite often we find ourselves in situation where the number of potential candidates is so huge that our expertise shows bigger role when trying to figure out who would be the perfect fit and how to attract them. Indeed, how to attract them is vital for every case, and also where there is a huge difference between headhunters and their success.
I’ve always found it relatively hard and actually I think it’s one of the toughest parts of our job – how to handle those everyday ”I would like to call you or I would like to meet you and talk about my future” type of requests. It makes it even harder when people start with ”Hey, I got your information from our common friend…”. But no matter what the connection, normally the process goes like this – I kindly thank them and I guide them to our webpage to leave their information so that we can be in touch if we have something that may fit them. And of course, we are going to be in touch if we have something interesting; why wouldn’t we? Also, we’ve just renewed our database in Finland, and in a couple of weeks are integrating that with InHunt World’s webpage. When all the information is there, it’s super easy for us to find interesting candidates using the search and project management tools.
Sometimes I’m in a position where I need to explain why I don’t have time to meet every single interesting candidate. There are actually many reasons for that, and most of them are really just common sense. Below I list four:
- If we were to meet every interesting candidate, we would go out of business really fast. We wouldn’t have time to meet any clients or actually work and hunt people for our current customers. Actually, we wouldn’t have any cases because we wouldn’t have time to meet our customers and sell our services. Those “Let’s get to know each other and have a cup of coffee” type of meetings are nice but really don’t support our business.
- When a good and interesting candidate becomes active, there’s actually a window of 1 – 3 months when this candidate is available. There are several studies which support this fact and the best candidates (those ones we would actually be interested in) will go off the market and find a new job in no time.
- Regardless of the great amount of positions we are working on simultaneously, there’s little change that we have actually something ongoing which would fit perfectly to that candidate’s profile. And if we do, you can be sure that the meeting is going to be taken. But if we don’t have anything, there’s no need to sit down and waste actually our and also this candidate’s time. However, I do understand that it’s always interesting to meet a headhunter 😉
- Finding candidates is not the problem anymore. Thanks to digitalization, the information is out there and for us headhunters, there are so many great specific tools and channels that can be used with that information. Actually, we often find ourselves in a situation where the problem is contrary to this – here are so many great candidates ”on paper,” so the most difficult part is how to find the most suitable ones, and get them attracted and interested about the position and company we have to offer at that time.
I partly wrote this article because I just experienced this kind of situation again where this other person insisted on having a meeting with me, even though I had tried to ask him nicely to send his data and information to us. The problem was that he had got my information from a professor from the same Business School I did my Masters at a couple of years back. Well, he didn’t understand my gentle suggestion to just leave the data, so I was forced to write those reasons I just wrote above. Afterwards, he thanked me and understood.
Teemu is a Director of InHunt World and has been working in recruitment and headhunting industry since 2009. Teemu is from Finland and came to Spain in 2014 to set up and open new headhunting offices in Madrid and later in Barcelona. Since last year Teemu has been focusing to design, create and run the new InHunt World International Headhunting Network which already covers nearly 20 countries.