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May/10

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How to manage head-hunters

Sometimes the phones rings, and someone you never heard is calling, wanting to speak about a job opportunity. You have no idea how the get your name and number, but here they are on the phone talking to you. A well groomed network of head-hunters can be a real life saver in a job search, so here are some tips how to deal with them.

Spell out your profile / needs

Before you speak to a head-hunter, think about you want to get out of the interaction. What is the quick profile of jobs you are interested in:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Job role / seniority
  • Minimum salary
  • etc.

You will be asked these questions,  so better to have thought about them before hand.

Be friendly

Always be polite and courteous, never rude and short. Often head-hunters will call at a bad time – tell them that politely and ask to talk later that day or week. They will almost always take you up on that.

Be cautious

Keep your hand close to your chest – don’t reveal too much. Seem happy but not ecstatic to talk to them. Its a little bit like dating – if you seem desperate they view of you will be diminished, if you play too hard to get you might seem like too much effort and they will give up on you – strike the right balance.  Don’t say anything about how eager or not you are about finding a new job / leaving your current outfit – just always say that you are happy where you are but also always open for the right opportunity.

Don’t say anything negative about your firm, job

Never say something negative about your firm, boss, job etc – just as in interviews, spending too much time on negative issues will make you appear like a whiner or discontent who would also not fit in at a new firm

Keep a current resume handy

Always keep a current resume handy – if that perfect opportunity comes by you want to be able to send over your resume within 24 hours and not have to wait to until you crank out a emergency – and probably non-ideal – version of your resume.

Help out friends

Often head-hunters will call with job options that aren’t a good fit or don’t come at the right time. Listen to the head-hunter, be honest but polite in turning him or her down, but then think of friends, colleagues etc who might be interested in the position. Then tell the head-hunter if or not to use your name when contacting the people you recommended – depends on your relationships with them. This helps your friends, but also show the head-hunter that you are helpful and will make sure that you keep a special place in his rolodex.

Keep the network fresh

Keep a file tracking the names of head-hunters you know so that you have a good list when you need them. Keep in contact with that list of head-hunters – send them updated resumes when you get promoted, move around etc, and aim to speak to them at least once a year.  When you speak ask them to send you good openings if they fit your profile – and react to emails, vmails to them don’t ignore them or they will delete your file.

Image by Oskay

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2 Comments for How to manage head-hunters

MarkSpizer | May 2, 2010 at 6:14 am

great post as usual!

school grants | May 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

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