Once you’ve made the decision to search for a new job, finding the perfect one can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. How much less stressful might it be if you could bypass the job hunting stage and jump straight into an interview for your perfect position? It is possible to do precisely that by getting headhunted. But how does one do that? This article takes a look at what headhunting means in recruitment and how to get a headhunter to notice you.
What is Headhunting?
Headhunters, in the traditional sense, are an elite breed of Recruitment Consultants, who specifically seek out scarce candidates with unique skill sets. They usually work on executive searches requiring highly qualified candidates for high-level roles within senior management. Such sought after individuals often acquire nicknames such as hens-teeth or rocking horse poo.
The recruiting process headhunters follow is very different from the approach Recruitment Consultants take to filling positions. Headhunters don’t wait for candidates to apply for their jobs. Instead, they seek out people who are often already in employment and have no intention of leaving their existing jobs. More often than not, headhunters will have a select few targets, usually at the pinnacle of their career.
It is their job, therefore, to make the candidates they have headhunted feel extra special. Furthermore, their targets must believe that what the headhunter is offering is the opportunity of a lifetime.
As there is so much risk in executive headhunting, headhunting firms usually charge a retainer. Retained business is where the client instructing the headhunter pays a large percentage of their fee upfront. This way, even if they don’t make a successful placement, they will still be paid for some of the hard work they have done.
Difference Between Traditional Recruitment Consultants and Headhunters
The Recruitment Consultants most candidates speak to are not Headhunters by any means. For a start, they usually work on a contingency basis rather than retained. More generally, the candidates they seek are not as specialist or at such a high level.
However, skills shortages within the jobs market mean that Recruitment Consultants have to adopt headhunting techniques. Primarily, instead of waiting to receive applications for their jobs, they instead, have to seek out their ideal candidates.
Of course, this is fantastic news for job hunters! For them, this means that they no longer have to waste so much time conducting their job search.
That is, of course, providing they send out the right signals advertising their willingness to be headhunted. Learning how to do this can take all the hard work out of job-hunting instead, allowing recruiters to do the hard work for you.
Three Easy Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Noticed by a Headhunter
1 – Update Your Skills and Experience
There are several tools which recruiters use to help them search for passive candidates. For example, updating your CV on job boards enables recruiters to search for your skills. You don’t even have to apply for a role they are advertising. Providing your skills match one of the jobs they are recruiting for, your details will be available for headhunting purposes.
2 – Update Your LinkedIn Profile and Preferences
If your LinkedIn profile doesn’t show your picture, that’s the very first thing you should remedy. Recruitment Consultants and Hiring Managers like to see that the candidates they are dealing with are real people. Consequently, your profile is 40% more likely to receive a click if you have a picture.
Also, you should make sure that any valuable information on your CV appears on your LinkedIn profile. First and foremost, your most recent qualifications should feature highly.
Asking your colleagues for endorsements also reinforces the confidence others have in your skills.
Did you know that you can also change your LinkedIn profile preferences to make your profile visible or invisible to recruiters and hiring managers? Just in case you didn’t, here’s how you do it.
On a desktop or laptop
- Visit the LinkedIn website
- Take a look at the menu bar at the top of the screen and locate the ‘Me’ dropdown
- Under ‘ACCOUNT’ click on ‘Settings & Privacy’
- From the left-hand menu, click on ‘Job Seeking Preferences’
On a mobile device
- Open the LinkedIn mobile app
- Tap on the icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen
- Under your name tap ‘Settings’
- Tap ‘Privacy’
Either of these methods will take you to a list of options which you can tailor to determine how visible you are to recruiters and how much of your information they can see from your profile. You can even tell them how far you’re willing to commute for work from your current location, without disclosing where you live.
Providing you make yourself visible to them, any recruiter who is headhunting for someone with your skills and qualifications will be able to find you.
3 – Social Networking
If you’ve never done any networking, the prospect can seem much scarier than the reality. Networking often conjures up an image of pushy salespeople in suits thrusting their cards in other people’s faces. However, the truth is very different and much more relaxed and enjoyable affair.
There are numerous, much more enjoyable ways to broaden your social network. Of course, attending real-life events is one way of getting your name out there. However, since the lockdown, there has been a considerable upsurge in online networking events. These are much easier to join and far less daunting for newcomers.
Additionally, joining online discussions, liking, sharing and commenting on other people’s social media posts are all effective networking methods. Anything you can do to enable others to connect your name with your area of expertise improves your chances of making connections.
Now Let the Recruiters do the Work!
Of course, even if you do all of the above, there is no guarantee you will receive a call from a headhunter. Although if you have experience in a specific industry where skills are scarce, following the above advice should significantly increase your chances.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now have a better idea of how to improve your prospects of being headhunted. However, it is also wise to have a backup plan. Researching the best recruiting agency in your sector is an ideal next step to take from here.
It is also worth noting that if a recruiter you are working with is aware that you have a desirable LinkedIn profile, they will be more motivated to find you a new role quickly.
If you found this post useful, or you know someone who’s looking for a new opportunity, please share this post on social media. Anyone else who also finds it worthwhile will be bound to thank you for it!