Good Headhunting

by 22 Apr 2021

Good Headhunting

Saving time and money while being able to rely on finding exactly the right employee to meet your needs may sound like a dream – and it is. But it is also a dream that can come true. In a time of many options, companies without their own talent recruiting teams are well advised to place the difficult task of headhunting in the hands of experienced experts. After all, no matter how large or small your company is, time is money.

On the safe side

Companies can benefit from a variety of advantages by relying on a headhunter. Recruiters have specific, professional expertise and a suitable network. They also use representative selection instruments such as appropriate analysis tools and cognitive tests to gain insights into a candidate’s personality. At the same time, headhunters are specialists when it comes to delving into a wide range of subject matters. To do so, they conduct in-depth meetings with various leaders and C-level candidates in order to find out which applicants possess the required knowledge and character traits for a certain role. For the client company, this approach minimises the risk of hiring an applicant who is ultimately not up to the task at hand.

Headhunters also have an advantage when companies are unable to find suitable applicants by advertising vacancies. After all, many a suitable candidate is not actively looking for a job but may very well be willing to switch employers if the right offer comes along. If necessary, a recruiter can lure appropriate applicants away from a competitor and discreetly fill a position if the current job holder is not supposed to know anything about the plans just yet.

The mark of a pro

But what are the traits of a good headhunter, and what sets a pro apart? First of all, a headhunter should offer a potential client a face-to-face meeting. If liaising in person is impossible for geographic reasons, a videoconference can provide an opportunity to get a first impression. A headhunter does not necessarily need to have a perfect psychological pedigree. Instead, a naturally gifted recruiter should be a born fighter with professional and practical experience – key traits that should stand out upon first meeting. Moreover, an expert needs to be able to answer questions with ease and without having to take too long to think of a response. A nose for sales and a knack for conducting convincing conversations play an essential role in the ability to find the right candidate for every position. Recruiters should ideally also possess intercultural skills, allowing them to know which candidate is a match for a company. Lastly, good references are always a plus.

Headhunters who have specialised in a particular sector naturally have in-depth industry knowledge – something that can indeed be advantageous. However, certain skills and expectations are the same across the board, which is why specialist expertise is not always required. For example, the responsibilities of a senior sales manager are often the same from one company to the next. As a result, a recruiter does not necessarily have to be a specialist in the electronics industry if a position in this line of business needs to be filled. What matters is the right chemistry between the client and the contractor. Because a distant and purely technical relationship is not usually productive, a headhunter should be in direct contact with the company’s senior management, the potential supervisors and HR staff. They should also be given an opportunity to get to know the corporate structures. A good working relationship is possible if there is a genuine personal connection.

When time truly is money

Time is of the essence when filling a position. Working with a headhunter is therefore particularly recommendable if a company does not have a dedicated department for recruiting talent. Ultimately, in-house HR staff and managers are often firmly committed to other duties. It is also important to bear in mind that certain tasks may fall by the wayside as long as a position remains unfilled. That costs money. Requiring internal interim managers to take on further duties in addition to their regular responsibilities also has an impact on a company’s efficiency. At the same time, corporate HR managers are often very knowledgeable with regard to implementing legal requirements or planning appropriate advanced training measures for staff. Since this expertise is not always comparable with the specific skill set of a headhunter, HR managers should take advantage of a recruiter’s pool of candidates if a company is unable to fill a position quickly. Here in particular, there is truth to the saying that time is money.

Headhunters are experts when it comes to finding the right candidate for special demands. Some positions are easy to fill, whereas others may require more searching. Factors such as the type of position to be filled and the time of year can have an influence on the search process. Moreover, equally suitable applicants must be found for companies based in big cities and for businesses headquartered in remote rural communities with poor infrastructure. As a rule of thumb, it therefore takes roughly 1.5 months to find the right candidate.

No matter where a company is based or what kind of expertise is required, a clearly defined job description is absolutely essential. However, it is not enough to describe a position merely as “senior sales manager”, to pick up on the example from before. Instead, a job description needs to outline the specific knowledge and skills that an applicant should have. Headhunters hold job interviews for senior positions every day, allowing them to find the perfect candidates for every need. If a position is hard to fill, then relying on a headhunter and their vast network is an absolute must!

Particular achievements or projects that you have helped to advance within the scope of a specific position or have headed up can also be mentioned as part of your profile.

As an extra bonus, you can state skills that set you apart and can be confirmed by your references, such as proficiency in specific graphics software or HR management. Remember: less is more. When confronted with 30, 40 or more references, headhunters start to ask themselves why a candidate needs so much affirmation and approval. A detailed CV is significantly more convincing in that respect.