Useful Tips for Gaining Attention of Executive Headhunters UK
Executive headhunters proactively seek exceptional candidates by managing specific assignments on behalf of leading organisations and major corporations. Top headhunting firms often control their presence for dealing with talented individuals and are almost anonymous when seeking to place the right person in top roles. They are often very discrete in their approach so as not to lose out to the competition when managing specific (key) assignments. Some positions are unadvertised as it is about finding the best person to perform the role against a pre-defined person specification.
Expectations of ‘Being Headhunted’
Candidates often wait to be contacted with the expectation of ‘being headhunted’ or even offered positions by executive headhunters, but in reality this may not happen to often. However, there are some useful ways of increasing the likelihood gaining attention from headhunting firms through effective preparation and personal branding. Therefore, we have identified some useful strategies to help improve chances of ‘being headhunted’ and receiving contact about potential opportunities.
Strategies for Gaining Headhunter Contact
Being Realistic: The very expectation of being headhunted can mean it does not happen. Be realistic and think longer term rather than expect immediate results. It takes time to build a career, create networks and develop an industry presence through gaining specialist skills and relevant expertise.
Career Planning: Having a clear idea on career direction, objectives and ultimate goals is a good motivational factor. Knowing what you are all about, strengthens, weaknesses and capabilities makes it much easier to engage with executive headhunters when asked such questions.
Effective Preparation: It goes without saying that executives must prepare an excellent CV that stands out and differentiates them the competition. Executive headhunters pay great attention to CVs, so it is very important to make the right impression given they market candidates through the CV. Be prepared to make adjustments or get the CV overhauled if headhunters request this.
Online Presence: It is an expectation for executives to have an online presence, notably through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is being used evermore by headhunters as a cost-effective and reliable way of screening candidates. Make sure LinkedIn profiles are optimised for search results, updated and make a clear impression. Include a photo and build networks over time. Headhunters will look at who candidates are linked to as much as what is on the profile (i.e. experience; previous employers; education; skills, etc).
Networking Skills: A second part of networking is face-to-face contact in meetings or a presence during industry events. Be proactive with whoever you meet, have a business card to hand and be prepared to follow-up potential leads / opportunities. There is always the idea of not knowing who is going to be present at events, so be open and engaging at all times.
Personal Branding: This is all about professionalism, managing interactions with others and conveying a positive perception at all times. How people engage with others, confidence (not arrogance) and having a certain assuredness gives an aura of professionalism which helps break down barriers when looking to engage with people. Work on areas of weakness to improve effectiveness and confidence (often referred to as emotional intelligence).
Gained Attention from Headhunters: Conclusion
Gaining contact from executive headhunters is not an exact science, much of it depending on luck and being in the right place at the right time. However, there are ways of increasing chances of being headhunted by doing some initial preparation, strengthening personal branding and maximising networking opportunities through LinkedIn, meetings and events. Be realistic, prepare in advance and do not expect too much. With a bit of luck thrown in, chances are you will be headhunted!
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