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How To Attract Headhunters

By Stanley Albrighton, Marble Hill Partners

April 25 2013 - The success of a career is directly related to advancement within a certain industry sector. Frequently, this may require switching companies as a means to secure future mobility and advancement. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to become noticed by professional headhunters that are proactively searching for that "perfect" candidate. While this may seem obvious, the task itself is easier said than done for those who are unaware how to gain this necessary visibility. Nonetheless, there are a handful of approaches that can prove instrumental in attracting these headhunters in an industry dominated by competition and increased specialisation. Let us briefly examine a few of the best methods to secure this necessary exposure.

Begin the Process While Still Holding a Present Position

This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but a great way to help expedite the process is to build relationships with executive search firms while you are still employed. The power here is that by connecting with such firms, you may be contacted to give an opinion of a former connection. This is an excellent way to build a working relationship with such a firm and when entering into an executive employment search yourself, your name will be more easily recognised.

Use the Power of the Internet

This is perhaps one of the best ways to increase global exposure in a particular field. Websites such as LinkedIn offer you the ability to create a "virtual resume" as well as to gain valuable endorsements that are highly prized by headhunters. Blog posts and articles are another way to develop a name in the industry as well as a means to encounter potentially powerful contacts while networking with other members. Also, let us not forget that your success will be determined by the amount of targeted exposure you receive. Terms such as "motivated", "team player" or "natural leader" tend to get overused and actually may dilute your true talents. It is important to realise that should everyone else use these same terms, there is little chance of becoming noticed in such a large candidate pool. Instead, choose relevant words that can be backed up with examples; factual evidence will catch the attention of a headhunter much more than a few generalised phrases.

Ask for Recommendations

The industry saying "It is as much who you know as what you know" has never been more resonant in today's world. Although a resume and an online profile may speak volumes of any purported talents, viable recommendations from industry peers are excellent tools to delineate you from others who may have the same skill sets but less connections. This is particularly true if you have the ability to stand out as an expert in a certain field. Although static knowledge is important, third-party endorsements can drastically increase exposure while lending a higher level of credibility to your talents.

Talent Breeds Attraction

Headhunters are not simply searching for someone who is discontent with a job and looking for a career change. Rather, they are interested in individuals that excel at their current job and are seeking a different pace or upward mobility. By becoming proficient at your current role, you will more likely attract attention from outside sources. In fact, there have been many instances where an executive was approached by an outside headhunting firm because of this noteworthy performance alone.

Attend Industry Events and Regional Meetings

Although the internet comprises an important facet for executive recruitment, very little can compare to a firm handshake and a personal greeting. Attending industry conferences and other such trade fairs can foster a wide variety of connections due to the fact that we are all much more likely to remember a face and a smile than a resume or a LinkedIn page. Competency expressed in person is invaluable to headhunters.

So, we can now see that attracting headhunters revolves around the synergy of being both proactive and reactive. Headhunters are dynamic and motivated individuals that are looking for the same in the candidates which they contact. This approach may take some time and effort, but the rewards in being given the chance to apply for a lucrative job opportunity are unparalleled.

Stanley Albrighton has worked in the interim managers industry for a number of years and understands the difficulty in handling executive employees for organisations. He currently works for Marble Hill Partners, who help to search for executive candidates.

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