Getting the most from a Headhunter

Published: 24 February 2015

The market is unabashedly on the rise; companies are hiring, talent is moving, and competition is increasing.  If you are seeking your next challenge amidst all of this, then getting the best out of each of your ‘channels’ to market is critical. Knowing a cadre of well positioned, well informed Headhunters can add much to your job search activity.

The world of the Headhunter is often considered to be shrouded in mystique and is daunting for some. Others have a dimmer view of Headhunters, arguing they add little value, and while I would argue they’ve simply met the wrong Headhunter, they are entitled to their view. In simple terms ours is a world wrapped in discretion - nothing more - for both clients and candidates alike. So if you are seeking a new career challenge, these few hints might help you get more from your tame Headhunter:

1.  Candour: It’s a two way commitment. We need to be able to get a real bead on your ambition, skills, experiences, and personality.  Try not to take feedback personally – it is in both of our best interests that we help you consistently show the ‘best’ version of you at interview.

2.  Clarity: We will push you to outline your accomplishments in measurable terms. Expect good detail on the hiring firm, the role and your ‘fit’ with this in return. If you don’t get it, do challenge.

3.  Be bold: If you aren’t interested tell us, and tell us why. Share insights about your aspirations and we will ensure the next call presents a suitably challenging opportunity.

4.  Timing: Good Headhunters are in the simple business of knowing good people. All we really want is to be able to put the right role in front of you at the right time. Right for the client, right for you; today, tomorrow, next month, next year… Long term relationships look beyond an immediate transaction, don’t be discouraged, get to know us, we want to know you!

5.  Trust: As we all know trust is earned. A decent Headhunter has two key priority audiences, firstly the client who retained us, and secondly each carefully selected candidate. If we do anything that isn’t in the best interests of both, it’s a bad outcome for us all.

At Berwick Partners we are firmly of the belief that it is the age of the specialist. Specialists work hard to understand the nuances of their chosen market and hence should give you more than access to prime jobs - advice, guidance, trusted counsel and perspective. But smart Headhunters know when they can help, and when to direct you to another. And that’s where specialists work well together respecting each other’s expertise. We’re here to help, and we look forward to working with you.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner and Head of the IT & Technology Leadership and Energy Practices for Berwick Partners.

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