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Is headhunting a core competency for the niche recruiter?

Is headhunting a core competency for the niche recruiter?

Headhunting has not been exclusive to the echelons of Executive Search and Selection for many years – it is a vital skill which makes the difference between being an average biller or a very high biller whatever professional sector they specialise in.

As a contingency recruiter placing permanent or contract talent, it is extremely important to gain a competitive edge, by doing the job your client is actually paying for finding the best talent out there. Gone are the days of simply pressing a button on a database to find 10 suitable candidates to choose from. Your clients are not paying you to find them the same candidates that they can find for themselves by looking on the job boards or talking to their internal recruitment team. They are paying for your & lsquo;consultancy’ expertise and specialist advice and expect you to find them a top notch individual, who is not necessarily actively on the job market.

Irene McManus, one of the expert head hunt trainers from the APSCo Professional development team says, “One of the biggest challenges I find when I am training headhunting, is that recruiters tell me that they don’t like picking up the phone to do a headhunt call - as they feel as though they are annoying people. On the contrary, when I headhunt I see myself as an & lsquo;opportunity maker’. When I contact a potential candidate to discuss the excellent opportunity that I have, I am in a great position - the individual is highly likely to be completely unaware of this hidden opportunity. So very often, the potential candidate is appreciative that I have brought it to their attention – whether they are interested or not. Picking up the phone with confidence and belief that you are bringing valuable information about your market sector and a great opportunity, will enable recruiters to sell your client’s opportunity (or name gather) effectively and professionally - but they must be prepared – nothing loses your company credibility faster than poor headhunt calls where consultants are unable to answer simple questions about the role they are presenting.”

Irene shares a few techniques from our recruiter core competency headhunting course RCC Headhunting

“The starting point is & lsquo;mapping your market’ and there are a few simple tips and techniques that recruiters need to do this successfully. They should ask your client where, ideally, they would like to recruit their next talent from (which companies, large or small firms, competitors, suppliers, geographic regions) talk to colleagues - who are always a great source of expertise, research organisations which hire talent with similar skills, talk to candidates doing similar roles that they or a colleague has placed, review CV’s on where other candidates with the sought after skills have worked previously – they will gradually start to build up a picture of their market. They need to be thorough, as careful preparation at the start will increase their chances of success and maintain their personal reputation and your corporate brand.”

We all know that Social Media is one of the many essential tools required to do the job as a headhunter – the big difference is how you use it. Are your consultants personally getting a bad reputation on Linkedin by annoying people with too many messages, emails and constantly advertising jobs or are they being more sophisticated in how they utilise this great technology? Don’t underestimate the wider context of social media – their & lsquo;personal branding’ can be lost or won in how professional they are in their approach to headhunting and of course this has a direct impact on the standing of your organisation. Especially for those working in a niche, vertical market, you cannot afford to have your reputation spoilt through a sloppy headhunt call or by getting a bad name on Linkedin.

Irene’s top tip – “Make LinkedIn work for you - it’s a fantastic tool if used by headhunters in the right way.”

If you want to your consultants to learn more about what the & lsquo;right way’ looks like, then book them onto our next course where they will learn a wide range of new techniques that will put you streets ahead of your competition. Internal recruiters are doing it – can you afford not to?


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