How to get noticed by headhunters

Written by
Changeboard Team

11 Jan 2013

11 Jan 2013 • by Changeboard Team

High demand areas

Particular areas of high demand include:

  • Bilingual Arabic and English skills
  • A track record in a FTSE/Fortune 500 business, combined with local experience
  • Education sector exposure – organisations are willing to facilitate international relocations in this area.

So, if you’re looking for an HR opportunity, here’s how to stand out from the crowd.

Develop your reputation as an expert

Most search consultants will be seeking individuals with specific skills and experience. If you’re acknowledged as being an expert or specialist, you have a greater chance of being identified.

Gain exposure

Be proactive about participating in dialogue within your field/industry. Speaking at industry events or conferences, having articles published or being quoted in relevant articles will all increase your visibility.

Share your success

The more successful you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be approached by a search firm. People who stand out as experts in their field are easier to find. However, viewing yourself as successful is not quite enough; what matters is what others think of you. Are there enough people out there who will recommend you and suggest your name if they’re asked their opinion?

Network, network, network!

Networking effectively among your peer group and across your industry is a powerful way to increase your chances of being noticed. Build mutually beneficial relationships with talented and well-connected colleagues and reach out to other people who you know are figureheads within your field.

The most successful networkers invest in their professional relationships consistently and over the long-term. This is far more genuine and more likely to reward you than the insincere networking that people often end up trying when they need a job.

Get on social media

The increasing importance of social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, and search engines has meant some elements of the executive search process have changed. While the traditional ‘black book’ approach remains valid, most researchers will also use a plethora of online tools as part of their ‘long-list’ building process. As a result, it is advisable to build yourself a compelling social media profile.

Ensure  that any of your articles, industry comments and/or PR is visible online. Over-exposure is not advisable but some visible presence online will lead to executive search specialists finding you more often.

Become a client

Build a relationship with an executive search firm by using them to recruit for you. The strongest professional relationships are often those that are truly beneficial to both parties. If you’ve discovered a search firm relevant for your own career development, contact them when you’re hiring. If you’re known to that firm they may well contact you again on a future search.

Conflicts of interest and ‘off limits’ protocols are taken very seriously by professional search firms and this does limit some of the effectiveness of this approach. Nevertheless, if you’re keen to invest in long term-relationships, this approach is often successful.

Develop recruitment relationships

Genuine executive search campaigns are intended to find the best possible professionals for a specific role and then persuade them to consider the role, even if they’re already employed. 

Most executive search professionals are specialists, so if you’re highly relevant to their expertise, they’re likely to be happy to talk to you and or meet you. 

Take a long-term approach to building strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with colleagues and key recruiters. Try to be visible and ensure that your key skills and achievements are in the public domain.