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How to be head-hunted

by Nick Hindhaugh

Nick Hindhaugh: Executive Headhunter

The market has changed significantly over the last five years. The ‘you seek me’ mindset (or to use an older term, ‘headhunting’) is a new norm where highly skilled executive, professionals are regularly being approached by search consultants rather than proactively seeking out opportunities.

With the search trend becoming more prominent at all levels of recruitment, Nick Hindhaugh, Managing Director at Six Degrees, discusses his top tips to maximise your chances of being approached and landing a big role…

Get online.

The evolution of the digital landscape has changed the way recruitment operates. To have your name placed in the hands of someone looking to fill a big role, your online presence is a key ingredient.

Without wanting to spell out the obvious, your LinkedIn profile is definitely the place to start – search consultants and research teams spend much time scouring LinkedIn for the latest talent, so make sure you are accessible online with maximum visibility and have the most up-to-date information on your profile.

Be seen.             

You want to be seen, known and heard in your industry, not just by those with opportunities, although that is the end goal. To be known, you first need to be connected within your broader industry. That is, with colleagues, industry associations, professional bodies, friends, family, clients, acquaintances and the connections which these people provide you.

A great place to start doing this is by attending conferences, forums, seminars and professional events where you know there will be key industry figures present. Find a function that is sponsored by a recruitment firm and make sure your name, title and company are on the attendance list. Being visible to key people increases your chances of a follow-up or online connection.

Say yes to a coffee.

You may not be looking for a job and you might be very happy in your current job. But don’t turn down a coffee with a recruiter.

Recruiters like to keep a healthy and current network of talented individuals at all times, so although it might not be the right time now, you may find they come to you with an opportunity at the perfect moment! Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know. At the very least, you will gather useful information about how you’re positioned within your market and commercial information about your industry that could help you in your current role.

Don’t be modest.

Don’t be afraid to tell people your professional achievements – these ultimately indicate what value you may provide to a company looking for someone of your calibre.

Like I said earlier, one of the most effective ways to do this is through your LinkedIn profile. This is your modern day CV – the more people who can see this information the better. A hiring manager will see your paper CV but it is probably the last thing a head-hunter will see in their efforts to find you.

Get a mentor.

A mentor is someone who will take a vested interest in your career progression and personal development. The idea of a mentor is to have someone that will help guide you through your career with long-term commitment, as opposed to a manager or network connection who may only be valuable for a short space of time.

A mentor is someone you admire and respect and may be in a position you want to be in. This person will give you advice, support and inspiration to achieve what you want to achieve, but will also try to create opportunities for you where they can. Most importantly, they will build your connections as they will typically be well-connected themselves.

Ask for advice.

What is just as important as building a network and forming connections is to actually engage with the people in your network. Don’t be afraid to ask your networks for information, advice or favours as these people may well provide you with a lot of value.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The idea of networking is to collaborate with others to seek and offer value. The more you engage with people, the more you might find you’re able to add value to others as well, something that will certainly increase your chances of being approached in the future.

Most importantly, be open, honest and receptive to others. With an up-to-date online presence, attendance at industry events and your proactive engagement with people in your networks, you never know what opportunities might be sitting in the hands of others waiting to be snapped up!