Essential Preparation Tips for Meeting with Executive Headhunters
Successful dealings with executive headhunters essentially rely on two main elements, namely effective preparation and building strong (credible) relationships. Preparation relies on putting the foundations in place for success, standing out from the competition and working on personal branding elements to market (present) credentials effectively. Without effective preparation, candidates may undersell themselves or not sound convincing enough when being considered against potential opportunities. It is those very fine margins that can make the difference.
Effective Preparation for Headhunters
- Marketable CV (what the recruiter relies on most to push candidates forward)
- Refining CV to make an impression and creating a high quality marketing document
- LinkedIn / Online Presence (making an impression; linking with other executives)
- Clear Career Vision (knowing future career direction and aspirations; clear goals)
- Strong Personal Branding (create an aura of professionalism; emotional intelligence)
- Exemplary Standards to make an impression (stand out from the crowd; excellence)
Having an effective marketing document (CV): Without an outstanding CV, headhunters may decide not to put forward candidates until they have made some adjustments, given the headhunter relies on this as the primary marketing tool to push candidates towards opportunities.
Refining CV Elements: The resume must be well-presented, up-to-date and clearly show leadership credentials, track record of achievements (including exceptional achievements), clear examples, longstanding experience, core skills, industry expertise, education, training and professional development. These areas add value and must be aligned to key drivers and core competencies to underpin target roles and give a good ‘strategic fit’ for opportunities.
LinkedIn Presence: LinkedIn is a favourite tool for headhunters as they can seek out potential candidates and make initial contact regarding opportunities. It goes without saying that executives need to have an impressive online presence and be linking to likeminded people at a similar level.
Career Vision: Knowing what you want, long-term aspirations and having compelling motivations are important, so refine these as part of a wider career plan. Be prepared to confidently answer questions on this and stand out from others. It is surprising how many candidates do not pay attention to these elements and so give weak answers, which does not create a good impression.
Personal Branding: This is how people interact with others, present themselves and make an impression. Ensure positive behaviours (mannerisms), clear communication, energy / enthusiasm and controlled body language to give an aura of professionalism. This is often referred to as emotional intelligence.
Exemplary Standards: Recruiting top-talent for executive leadership positions requires very high expectations and going the extra mile to stand out from the competition. Offer something unique, get across exceptional achievements and ‘raise the bar’ in relation to other candidates.
Preparing to Meet Executive Headhunters: Conclusion
Research, preparation and refining ways of marketing oneself helps ‘raise the bar’ in relation to other candidates. Fine margins separate candidates, so pay great attention on personal branding elements and finding ways to differentiate from the competition. Preparation also helps in pressured situations, especially when having to convince headhunters that they have the right person to put forward for opportunities. Weak preparation often shows, so it can mean elimination from the process and undermine any potential relationship going forward. See general article on successful tips for improving meeting effectiveness.
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