04 March, 2011

"What Are Headhunters Looking For?"

I'm often asked what headhunters are looking for.

Headhunters are looking for their next check. Headhunters are mercenaries. Headhunters don't represent the candidate, they represent the employer.

Yes, I know, when you ask what headhunters want you mean what do they want in a candidate.

See first answer. A headhunter is looking for his next check so he presents candidates that he thinks can lead to that next check. If the headhunter believes his client will only hire someone with a Ph.D. then he's looking for a Ph. D. If the headhunter knows his client is ageist and homophobic and racist he won't bring that client a gay, black, 60-year-old no matter how well-qualified that person may be. Why? Because the headhunter is looking for his next check.

"How do I get the attention of headhunters?" people sometimes ask me.

First, refer to my previous post about why headhunters prefer "passive" candidates and why you shouldn't send your resume to headhunters unsolicited and unbidden.

Second, be good at your job. Headhunters network til they find what they need. That means that if somebody mentions your name to a headhunter, you just got on his radar and he will call you if he can find contact info. Make sure headhunters can find your contact info in case people are mentioning your name. if you look at my previous post about passive candidates and how I found Bob Maynard and collected a handsome payment for bringing him to my client, then you will understand how headhunters find candidates. Headhunters network until they find what they need. After a half dozen people  told me Bob Maynard was the oxygen king of the Florida panhandle, I knew he was what I needed. That's very typical of how to get on a headhunter's radar. Be good at your job like Bob Maynard then make sure people who are looking for you can find you.

Is there contact info on your Linkedin profile? Are you sure? Only about 3 or 4% of the Linkedin profiles I see have any contact info on them so go look at your profile and ask yourself if you can be reached.

But don't wait for a headhunter to hear your name. Get your friends and colleagues and former co-workers and former bosses and every professional contact you've ever had to say your name to employers. Getting a great new job through a headhunter is good. Bob Maynard has thanked me two or three times for not giving up on him and for persisting until he agreed to meet my client. BUt don't wait for a headhunter. Read my posts about "professional co-signers" and start getting your professional contacts to say your name to people who can hire you. Do it now. Don't waste another day sending resumes to strangers. Yes, there's a chance you may get a job that way but play the high percentage game, not the low percentage game.

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