How to Answer a Headhunter’s Call: 3 Things You Should Know

We talked about why you always need to take calls from Headhunters for the sake of your management career. We have also shared with you the key taboos while on a call with a headhunter.

For many executives, talking with headhunters is not the most common business call they are used to. Days at work are full of business planning meetings or the discussion on the next big channel. Usually the car journey back to home in the evening is laced with conversations and disasters that have hit home while you were away at work.

At this point, it is easy to lose track and basically be boorish when the headhunter calls. How to answer a headhunter call should be preceded by a few questions you should quickly find answers to. It helps to maintain decorum and ensure all is smooth.

It is fair to assume that if you get the headhunter call at work or on the way to work, do not freak out. Headhunters are also working in offices and during the same timings usually. Besides, it’s also their best chance of reaching out to you! This may not be perfect timing, but hey prepare, for your opportunity cometh!

Ask yourself: Why did you get the headhunter call?

There could be very many reasons why you are the person being called for the potential job and the recipient of a Headhunter call.

  • Your resume or online profile fully fits a potential job opportunity that the headhunter has in mind.
  • Your profile indicates in some fashion that you may be interested in a job opportunity in the near term
  • Someone from your network recommended your name to a headhunter
  • The headhunter is trying to build a ‘candidate pool’ for the future. This means, perhaps this is just a call to understand you and not really to offer a new job immediately for a rejection or acceptance.

The key is to remain open minded and get the inputs from the headhunter on why you have been selected for a conversation and what is the main reason for you receiving the headhunter call. You need to maintain your  calm and not get irritated. Ask the right questions and save yourself from the regret of an opportunity that you later think you could have had.

Ask yourself: Is this a legitimate headhunter call?

Unfortunately in today’s world, some headhunter calls may turn out to be a spam. Even some emails fall into that category. To ensure all is legit with a headhunter call, get a few details. Get the details of the headhunter or the company they are working with. This includes real names, email address as well as company address and business phone numbers.

It’s absolutely within your right to assert for confidentiality and discretion, because you are still working with another firm and do not want your information to be passed on to the whole world without your explicit knowledge. You can not be fully invested in the process till you get a feeling of confidence from the headhunter. If it feels weird, it probably is.

Ask yourself: What is the right tonality to adopt for headhunter calls?

When in doubt, err on the side of formal. Most important maintain a sense of courteousness and be polite. You can also ask the headhunter to call later and take the call in more conducive environments and times. You do not want to come across as someone disinterested or too casual.

Even if the headhunter call is just to make a first contact with you and not really  about offering a job or a formal interview, it is clear that the headhunter does put you under scrutiny.

Communication is key and usually one of the ‘needs’ of a senior management position. There’s no reason why the headhunter would not check this about you! Besides, remember that you are not the only candidate the headhunter calls. It is important to remain ahead of your competition and stand out.

Good luck on your next headhunter call! We are all rooting for you to get the next management position.



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