What Not to Do When a Headhunter Calls

It’s mid-week and a stressful one at that like any other. Somehow everything is not going as smoothly as you would like. The coffee is on strike like the subways and even then there’s this email from your boss, the day seems messed up already by 8 clock in the morning …

What not to do when a headhunter calls

And then there’s this call: “Hello, do you have a moment for me? Can you speak freely?” Who would have thought, that on the other line there is a headhunter and he calls in to save your day.

Well, at least he has a very high probability that a leading management position is in store for you … Do not miss it, even if you are just not in mood to show off your best side. What not to do when a headhunter calls is something we will discuss today, so that you do not simply let this opportunity slip away.

Headhunters characterize the current recruiting industry more than ever. Meanwhile, it has also become common to switch a job even if one was actually quite happy but in effect looking for new challenges. Many professionals are finding meaning in their jobs and without challenges, new goals or adventure, a lot is left to be achieved.

So well, stay calm, and listen to what the headhunter has to say and if you just can’t talk, then you find an alternative date, where you can talk. Until then, read the following 3 mistakes that you should commit by no means when in contact with a headhunter …

1. I am sorry dear headhunter but I am sooo busy

You do know that you can potentially increase your market value by the headhunter interaction? Headhunters work on seeking candidates for top positions and basically help you get up the career ladder.

Coming off as a busybody is not doing you a favor as a lot of headhunters work with their networks and focus on building long term relationships with clients as well as candidates. By appearing like a snooty busybody, what you are really telling the Headhunter is that you have no interest in the job or future jobs. If this is the case, it’s ok to clarify that you are currently satisfied with your job and want no changes, however, it is rude not to even listen to what he / she has to say.

By being polite and calm, you will perhaps emphasize that this position is not for you, but the headhunter will keep you in good memory. And that can’t be so wrong, because you do not know when something can change in your current situation …

2. Why are you calling me, you do see I already have a job!

Welcome to the real world, dear Senior Manager. Headhunters with the clientele of large and successful companies are looking for the employed and experienced. “Headhunters do not usually work with candidates who are unemployed,” says the author Terri Lee Ryan, who also works as a career coach.

Next she says: “Companies do not pay so much money to headhunters to find candidates who are not fully employed. There are some good people on the sidelines but companies still want to see candidates who are successful in their job and are at the top of their careers. That’s why I always tell employees that you will never notice if you do not already have a new job”. So, think through again for a moment, before you cancel the headhunter.

3. Why are you calling me at my workplace?

Each Headhunter is clear that the workplace is one of the most probable but also one of the most inappropriate places to reach you. However, to start the conversation in an abrupt. “why are you calling me”, would be a fatal error. A good headhunter will ask you if it fits you right and if not, whether he can call you back to another time.

Get this information from the headhunter and specify your preferred communication channel (say e-mail). Rearrange a time, where you can talk in peace, and on your home phone. Stay discreet and polite, the Headhunter also wants to make it work and does not want to place you in an uncomfortable situation. You lose nothing by remaining open to discussion. This also allows you to see how the market is viewing your profile, if none else.

Hopefully you will refrain from making these critical errors in your next conversation with a headhunter. Staying open to options is the first step to finding success in any chosen career path. We wish you luck!



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