How to Amaze a Headhunter – Leaving a Lasting First Impression

When you’re on the hunt for a new position, your profile on social career networks is extremely important, just like your resume – the first personal impression that you convey to a headhunter is essential. For a first impression, there’s no second chance. Today, we spoke with Gregor Lenkitsch of Lenkitsch Recruiting, who can offer our readers some insight into the working methods of headhunters.

How to Amaze a Headhunter

Today, you can learn how you can present yourself as an attractive candidate – and which questions and conversation habits you should leave behind. Then, you’ll know how to amaze a headhunter, and he’ll remember you fondly. Even when an interview for one position doesn’t work out – maybe the next vacancy on his desk will be the right one for you!

1) Which questions should a candidate ask a headhunter?

Primarily, any that interest you. What’s important to find out is what the candidate really wants. For the first step, it’s not really about concrete positions, but more about the candidate himself. Then we can talk about relevant job profiles and discuss whether the necessary areas of expertise really pertain to his ambitions. The benefit to applying through a headhunter is that the candidate can ask questions that might not come up during a “normal” job interview. My goal is that my candidates treat me like a sparring partner. I see it as a success when the company and the candidates are both satisfied.

2) What do you pay special attention to? How important are style and grooming for candidates?

Of course, one takes the appearance of a candidate very seriously – it starts with the application, then the first telephone call, then the interview. At the end, these superficial factors may make the difference. What kind of impression does it have on the application? How a candidate chooses a picture to present themselves? I’m always astounded when some candidates apply for leadership positions with unsightly documents.

Candidates who don’t know how to present themselves will usually not be considered, as they would also be representing their company.
Technical knowledge, education and training, and product experience are naturally essential, as they help us to match the expectations of the clients. But the end decision about a job placement is the result of lots of little factors. Since a personal impression is so important, I always try to arrange a personal meeting between both parties as soon as possible.

3) What are some of the most important skills for today’s candidates?

The classic virtues of yesterday are still relevant today. But again, it’s very important to make sure that the candidate is relevant to the special requirements of the position. But honesty, openness and a confident manner have never hurt anyone.

4) What kind of behavior is inappropriate for candidates during their first meeting with a headhunter?

When the conversation is immediately about money, I always feel a certain amount of distrust. But otherwise, it’s mostly things like tardiness or an unkempt appearance that stick out as negative factors.

5) Which part of a candidate’s resume to you pay the most attention to?

This is always different from case to case. Which factors are relevant to this position, and what does the candidate bring to the table? It comes from both sides, as much from the applicant as the vacant position, it’s always a package deal.

6) What was the biggest faux pas from a candidate that you’ve ever experienced?

A candidate didn’t show up to a scheduled appointment with the client, he had decided to take another position and saw no need to notify me. Based on our previous interactions, I never anticipated this kind of behavior. Two months later, he applied for another position with me. With this kind of behavior, I can really only wonder.

7) How can a candidate keep in touch with a headhunter over a long period of time?

That’s difficult to say – but mostly, we stay in touch with the good guys. Even when a candidate didn’t get the job, there’s always the opportunity to successfully continue the relationship. The great advantage of an application with a headhunter is access to his network in that industry. When a candidate has left a great impression, and is qualified, I might call other clients to bring this candidate in for other positions.

Candidates develop over time, their goals change. No one knows how and when our paths will cross again. But how they stay in contact changes from case to case.

8) How can candidates proactively approach a headhunter?

Candidates can take the initiative to apply, even with a headhunter. This can be successfully done over a telephone call, or in the classic style, with a regular application.

9) What was your most unusual mandate*?

Staffing German doctors in the Arab world was certainly an unusual and exciting experience. From my time working with an international business and education consultancy, I learned about the factor of sensibility towards specific cultural differences in different lands. As a recruiter, you have to become familiar with the cultural characteristics of the target country, and be able to show your competence in dealing with foreign cultures. The work of a headhunter is diverse, and often involves much more than just the placing of candidates.
*mandate – the industry term for a client’s vacant position

10) How can candidates recognize the best headhunters – based on their expertise in an industry, or even the size of the firm?

I would always base this on a personal impression. As a candidate, do I feel taken seriously, supported? Your career is very personal, so there’s nothing wrong with contacting several recruiters. Ask them what kind of perspective they can offer you as a candidate, and compare them.

Experteer Magazine would like to thank Mr. Gregor Lenkitsch for his interesting insights, and we hope that you can leave the perfect impression on headhunters in the future. Then you’ll secure your next senior position for sure!

About Gregor Lenkitsch:

Lenkitsch-Recruiting_GregorLenkitsch_2015After studying politics and economics, Gregor Lenktisch spent many years as a consultant for an international business and education firm, before he became a Senior Recruiter for a recruiting firm that specialized in placing German doctors and medical experts. In 2010, with a few partners, he founded his own recruiting office, which caters to the German and European market. Besides his experience in leadership consultancy and educational counseling for individual career development, Mr. Lenkitsch has a special recruiting focus on the placement of leading doctors and healthcare professionals.

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