What do Headhunters Look For – Advice for Owners & Managers

As a business owner, whether you love us or hate us, I’ll bet you’ve wondered: what is it that headhunters look for when they’re choosing what companies they want to recruit for.

Headhunters have something you don’t have. They have inside information from the job market. They have a pool of talented people they have built up personal and professional relationships with.

They have information about jobs that will never be advertised on the job market. They have the people that can take your business to the next level. Headhunters are very aware of what they are doing, and the impact this can have on your business.

Headhunters in Discussion

So, what do headhunters look for?

I’ve been asked that question many times during my career. The answer is not as easy as you may think. Our goal is to find someone who has demonstrated the skills, competencies, values and behaviours to make them a right fit for you, our client. While talent and reliability is extremely attractive to us, our client’s priorities come first.

As a business owner, you must be very good at what you do. I’ve seen great people, otherwise very good at what they do, fail at their business because of the people they chose to employ, and because of how well or poorly they managed those people after they were hired.

Every business is faced with a make-or-break phase sooner or later. If you’re not growing you’re going under. Businesses have to grow to sustain themselves in the marketplace. All owner-operators will face a point in time where they have to let go of their business and put it in the hands of one or a number of people.

The majority of owner-operators make bad hiring decisions or counterproductive leadership choices, sometimes both, and always more than once. Without a doubt bad hiring decisions are the single biggest cause of business failures I’ve seen in 25 years of being an independent recruiter. See for yourself and check out our bad hire calculator.

Instead of being concerned with what headhunters look for, you’re better off understanding how we operate.

Headhunters are generalists.
Recruiting is partially art and partially science. We consider candidates for clients because we think that person ‘can’ do the job for you — that is the mechanics of recruiting. The art is how we evaluate your candidate’s motivation, attitude and presentation.

Part science and part art.
Recruitment is part science and part art. If we have invited a candidate to meet with us, we did so because we thought they could do the job we’re recruiting for. The technical part is pretty simple really.

The uncovery and discovery process to identify motivation, attitude and presentation are “the art.” Once candidates make it to the interview with us, we focus on these three. If they impress us, we’ll be confident enough to present them to you, our client.

Headhunters are also assessing you.
Good headhunters are able to make quick and accurate decisions on candidates. This is their art form after all. But don’t get me wrong. We’re agents looking after three parties in every project we take on. So just because we make quick decisions, don’t expect us to tell you immediately.

A customer-client relationship takes time to develop. It requires that trust and respect be demonstrated through consistent follow-through of each party’s commitment – do you do what you say you’re going to do? Are you a client worthy of our placing our hard-earned inventory with?

Anyone tells you this business is easy they’re either drunk, on drugs or just plain stupid.
Our inventory is people and relationships. That’s what we take to the marketplace every day. Just as we have to evaluate every candidate, we also have to assess you as an employer because when we put someone forward we are placing our valuable inventory into your hands and vice versa when we share our relationship with you with our candidates. We are vouching for you and for our candidates. Making mistakes in our business can take a heavy toll on people’s lives and our clients’ businesses.

Our track record is everything.
Keep this in mind when you deal with us. Our track record, our most recent success story, is what we take to the bank. In today’s world of social media and instant communication, it is even more important. We’ve spent years building up our relationships with talented and trustworthy professionals. We’ve got an eye for talent and reliability (both values are just as important as each other).

What do headhunters look for…

We are evaluating you as a potential client and potential employer of our talented and trustworthy people. Are you worthy?

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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google