Strategies for Engaging with Executive Headhunters UK

Successful job hunting strategies often rely on engaging with executive headhunters and benefiting from well-established headhunter networks, employer contacts and industry knowledge. It is an expectation that executives will come into contact with headhunters at some point during the recruitment process. We have often found that executives do not appreciate the importance of headhunters, how best to engage with them or find best ways to manage relationships. Overall, executive headhunters are a valuable resource and can add considerable value to any executive job search, providing there is a clear approach towards engaging with headhunting firms.

Preparing to Engage Executive Headhunters

CV (Marketing Document): Merely updating a CV is not sufficient. Developing a clear strategy, getting it professionally re-written, standing out from the competition and making an impression are often key elements. Headhunters use the CV to gain a candidate overview, an idea of where best to place candidates relative to opportunities and present a good match when using employer contacts. Furthermore, the headhunter must have faith in a credible marketing document to push for securing interview opportunities. A poorly executed CV will not grab the desired attention from executive headhunters and associated employer networks. Think carefully about whether the resume will stand up to scrutiny and highlight achievements throughout.

LinkedIn Networks: Ensure an effective online presence which is optimised for targeted search results using LinkedIn. Optimising the LinkedIn profiles gives an opportunity for headhunders to proactively search candidates and make contact. Poorly executed LinkedIn profiles will not be found or make the right kind of impression executive headhunters expect. Headhunters will look at who candidates are linked to as much as the content provided on the profile. Building extensive contacts and networks increases chances of being found by headhunters searching online.

Clear Vision: Being very clear about career motivations, aspirations and long-term direction helps with answering questions posed by executive headhunters. Having a clear sense of direction, strong impetus and knowing what you are all about makes candidates more credible, confident and convincing when engaging with headhunters. This demonstrates confidence, assuredness and clear thinking that headhunters look for (any uncertainties or weak answers can put off headhunters).

Personal Branding: Controlling interactions with others, demonstrating professionalism and engaging well with others (i.e. communication skills) helps to gain commitment from headhunters as this shows good personal skills to increase chances of success at executive interviews. This includes developing an ‘elevator pitch’ outlining core credentials and knowing what you want to achieve.

Impeccable Standards: Everything must be spot on in terms of the CV (critical marketing document), LinkedIn, personal branding, career vision and the ability to confidently answer questions about oneself. Everything must come together at this point in terms of preparation as the bases for establishing headhunter contact and ‘getting through the door’.

Engaging with Executive Headhunters: Conclusion

The idea of this article was to give useful advice on preparing in advance for headhunter engagements as the basis for establishing (building) worthwhile relationships. Executive headhunters have high expectations and very limited time, so a lack of preparation and foresight can lead to individuals falling short or being rejected. Solid planning and preparation can therefore make a big difference for making headhunter engagements, give important credibility and help grab their attention. Be assertive, realistic about expectations and engaging at all times. See an external article covering wider executive job search and personal branding strategies.

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  3. Understanding the Executive Headhunter Search and Selection Process
  4. Interim Executive Appointments or Interim Management Opportunities
  5. Understanding the Changing Nature of Executive Headhunter Firms
  6. Strategies for Engaging with Executive Headhunting Companies
  7. Strategies for Building Relationships with Executive Headhunters
  8. Preparation Tips for Meeting Executive Headhunter Contacts
  9. Tips for Building Stronger Relationships with Headhunting Firms

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