6 Best Practices on How to Establish Great Contact with Headhunters

If you have received a call from a headhunter or were invited to an interview, then you initially expect many questions from the Headhunters. But who says that you can not ask them questions? As a senior professional, what are the best practices to keep in mind while trying to develop a great contact with headhunters?

Contact with headhunters

What can you do to show more interest and grab the best opportunities? These are questions that are today being answered by Christian Gimbel, from Euro Search Consultants. So, get all your career tips, now!

1. What questions should a candidate ask a headhunter?

Gimbel- Fundamentally, there’s a difference between the first and second meeting or conversation. In the first and second contact with a headhunter, the following questions are expected.

First contact with headhunters:

  • Name and company for which the headhunter is working
  • Data (address, phone number or email address) for further contact
  • A brief description of the position itself
  • Location information regarding the position

Second conversation or contact with headhunters:

  • Details of the position can be asked. These include details like:
    • Company (size, revenue, industry focus, current economic situation, etc.)
    • Information on the department with the position (leadership span, control, hierarchies)
    • Current processes
    • Reporting lines
    • Was there was a predecessor or is this a new role?
    • How is the training phase designed?
    • What are the key expected challenges in the role?
  • What are the requirements listed by the client:
    • Professional skills
    • Soft-skills

2. What’s the worst way for a candidate to behave on a phone call?

Gimbel: This is usually on the first contact with headhunters, and a few responses come to mind…

  • “Where did you get my phone number?”
  • Condescending behavior
  • Only interested in a question on salary
  • Feign interest in a wrong position
  • When the conversation is not taken with necessary seriousness- a telephone conversation of first contact with headhunters is always an opportunity and should not be made on a lark- rather it helps to arrange for a more suitable time to connect and get in contact with headhunters with a cool head.

3. How can candidates remain in touch with headhunters?

Gimbel: There are a few things to remember when your are in contact with headhunters

  • If you are looking for a new challenge
  • If changes have occurred in your professional career
  • Phone, mail or similar. It is important to note that: do not be too pushy and better get in contact with headhunters at expected time periods to be noticed.
  • Last but not the least: Social Media!

4.What sort of candidates do headhunters maintain long term relationships with?

Gimbel: There are no fixed rules, but a few things are critical about the candidate. He/She must be:

  • A potential match (even if in the future)
  • Basically people that the headhunters have atleast had a contact or conversations with
  • People with whom it is possible to maintain and friendly and open approach and conversations

5.What is an accepted way to proactively create contact with headhunters?

Gimbel: here are my top three points of proactively approach a headhunter from a candidate’s perspective:

  • Principally, this can happen through all available channels
  • Reputable recruitment agencies provide their advisers on the web in detail along with all contact details to allow a direct contact with candidates
  • A recommendation here is that: many recruitment companies also write vacancies at major job boards such as the Experteer, Monster, StepStone or others. This allows the candidate to identify positions that are potentially available in their sectors

6. How can a candidate identify the best headhunters- should they go by industry expertise or the size of the headhunting business?

Gimbel: Here is how I think about this topic:

  • The sheer size of a company is no guarantee that you are in contact with headhunters who can be defined as ‘good’ – finally recruiters are just people with individual practices, experiences and idiosyncrasies
  • In the German market Recruiters and headhunters operate in various formats – from large global players to boutiques and even individual headhunters focusing on a very specific market
  • I would say rely on common sense and ask specific questions – when in the first contact with headhunters you end up feeling uncomfortable, perhaps then you should act in a more reserved manner
  • In principle, the expertise in a particular industry or a particular field of activity is a reliable indicator of a good headhunter – the strong a headhunter or executive recruiter is, the more they know about their focus industry or area, and the sooner they can understand and assess the needs of clients. Things like whether I am the right candidate for the position or not is easily determined by a good headhunter. This does not create any misconceptions about the new challenge and saves time that can be invested for useful interviews.

We would like to thank Christian Gimbel for his insights on the topic of establishing contact with headhunters, and hope these tips can take you further in your job search!

About Christian Gimbel und Eurosearch Consultants:

Christian GimbelAs an expert in information processing and knowledge management with a degree in Informationswirt (FH)- focused on Business Informatics, Christian Gimbel started at Deininger Business Consulting GmbH in 2006 . He was first employed as a research analyst in the field of direct candidate search & identification. Since 2008 he worked as a project manager, and then as Head of Project Management for the subsidiary Euro Search Consultants GmbH. With his team of 15 recruiters he is dedicated to successfully tapping the “passive candidate market” with the help of modern e-recruiting methods. He works regularly in the development of recruitment processes with a focus on permanent optimization of project management in recruitment. He says, structured processes, supported by teamwork, excellence and commitment are the guarantee for successful project management.

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