Strategies for Building Relationships with Executive Headhunters UK
Executive headhunters are often very discrete, control their presence and operate largely in the background (sometimes almost anonymous). They often do not want to alert attention to assignments they may be managing (competition) nor put candidates in an awkward situation when trying to secure talented individuals for top-level positions. Most executives look towards being headhunted, but there are some important ways to help build relationships with top headhunting firms and maximise any future opportunities.
Headhunter Relationship Building Skills
Visit Headhunters: Once initial contact has been established and interest generated, make an appointment to visit the consultant. Expect to prepare like an executive interview and be asked some challenging (searching) questions. This is a crucial opportunity to sell credentials, make sure headhunters understand what you are looking for and start building a worthwhile relationship. Ensure credibility, confidence, assuredness and professionalism so the consultant believes in you.
Act on Advice: Headhunters have recruited for numerous positions so they are able to set expectations and offer a wealth of advice. Listen to what they have to say and act on guidance (i.e. if they say reconfigure your CV – do it; likewise, if they suggest wearing a different suit, change it!).
Be Proactive: Relationship building works both ways, so keep headhunters informed on a regular (weekly) basis. Attend interviews, give feedback on interview performance and be prepared to receive feedback gained from employers following interviews. Acting on feedback can give an important competitive advantage and learning points for future interviews.
Stay Focused: Manage expectations, remain proactive and be realistic as it can be a long drawn-out process to secure opportunities due to several interview stages and the number of assignments managed throughout the year. Executive headhunter activity will vary throughout the year depending on seasonality and periods of peak recruitment activity.
Executive Headhunter Relationships: Conclusion
Once ‘through the door’ it is essential to build a trusted relationship as this can lead to future opportunities, not just for the here and now. Candidates must be convincing, credible and display outstanding qualities to be considered top-talent. Take a long-term view, keep headhunters informed of situations (availability / employment status) and learn from any advice given. Often advice can be critical to help improve chances of getting top roles, but importantly worthwhile advice can sometimes be free once the relationship has been built. One final point, is do not waste their time, remain proactive and be prepared to respond quickly to opportunities. Some useful tips on relationship building skills for executives (external article).
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