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  • Want To Be “Headhunted”? Here’s How!

    Part 2 of the post series “Brand Yourself to be Headhunted”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: In last week’s blog we examined what a “headhunter” does, as well as what he or she does NOT do. To briefly recap, a “headhunter’s” primary mission is to find the TOP-performing talent for a hiring company. These TOP performers will currently be successfully performing in a job similar to, if not identical to, the position(s) a company is trying to fill. This week’s blog examines how YOU can get on a “headhunter’s” “radar.”

    In last week’s blog I dispelled a number of myths about “headhunters,” i.e., we are NOT “employment agencies,” we are NOT “career counselors” and we are NOT in business of “finding people jobs.” Moreover, I emphasized that virtually ALL “headhunters” concentrate their recruiting efforts in a very specific market niche, e.g., chemical sales, advertising, IT, finance, etc. In other words, a candidate first HAS to be in our market niche before we will even potentially be interested in them.

    Help in hiring the top 20%

    Since a company pays a “headhunter” a fee between 25% and 33% of the candidate’s first year’s base salary, they aren’t going to pay us a fee for someone they feel they could easily find themselves nor will they pay us a fee for someone who can’t do the job. Yes, the company may hire someone with transferable skills who is “trainable,” but they will not pay a “headhunter” a fee for that person. A lot of people get frustrated with us when we tell them “we can’t help you,” but the candidate is not our client. The company is our client and the only reason a company will pay us a fee is for us to bring them someone who is not only exactly right for the job but who is a top performer. Another way to look at it is this: We are paid to help a company hire someone who is in the top 20% and protect them from those in the bottom 80%.

    Now with that having been said, “Want to be ‘headhunted?’ Here’s how!

    • Be findable
    • Be desirable
    • Be contactable
    • Be selectable

    Be findable

    photoAs discussed in a previous blog, the adage of, “It is not what you know but who you know” has been replaced with, “It is not what you know or who you know, but rather, who knows you and can you be found?”

    If you want to be found, you need to develop and control you information in four primary locations:

    • LinkedIn
    • ZoomInfo
    • Jigsaw
    • Google – Your Resume and Google Profiles

    LinkedIn – most likely if you are reading this blog, you are already on LinkedIn. We are not going to discuss the details of LinkedIn in this blog other than I invite you to Link In with me:

    Doing so will expand your second degree network by over 11,500 and by over 2 million in your third degree. Obviously this increases your probability of being found.

    ZoomInfo – The blog of May 14, 2011, “The SECOND Most Used Website by Recruiters and Companies,” reviewed ZoomInfo and what you need to do to input, manage and control your information there.

    Jigsaw – This week, I would like to briefly mention one of the remaining top databases used by recruiters, Jigsaw (www.jigsaw.com). As with ZoomInfo, you can input your information into Jigsaw. We use Jigsaw daily to find top people. Are you THERE?

    Google (your resume) – The fourth primary area we go to in order to find top people is Google. Google’s algorithm is such that PowerPoint presentations are readily indexed and often rise to the top in searches. Thus, if you put your resume into a PowerPoint and upload it to the internet via SlideShare, you increase your probability of being found.

    Google Profiles – Control your internet presence via Google Profiles (http://profiles.google.com). Not only will we look for you but oftentimes, a “headhunter” will come across your name from a referral or during other research. Nearly always, if he or she has any interest in you, the first thing he or she will do is put you into Google to see, very quickly, if anything relevant—or NEGATIVE!—comes up. Google Profiles helps you manage your online presence.

    Be desirable

    Now that you have been found, are you desirable? In other words, have you branded yourself as someone who is in the top 20%?

    • You must BRAND yourself as SOMEONE WHO GETS RESULTS.
    • You must BRAND yourself as SOMEONE with the QUALITIES that will SATISFY A SPECIFIC NEED of an employer.
    • Employers don’t hire “generic” employees. They hire people who have clearly BRANDED themselves as SOMEONE WHO CAN MAKE AN EVER-INCREASING CONTRIBUTION to their organization.

    (See the blog of May 21, 2011, “STOP Applying for Jobs and START Competing for Them”)

    Be contactable

    photoEmployer loyalty to employees has long since been gone. However, it is still amazing to me how many professionals hang on to this myth and one of the ways it is evident is by how difficult some people make it to be contacted.

    For example, they have checked the box, “Not open to receiving introductions or InMail” on LinkedIn. Or, they have changed their email address or cell phone number and haven’t updated it. Or, professionals don’t check their email or voice mail on a routine basis.

    Remember, there are some career opportunities that ONLY HEADHUNTERS will have. These are the GEMS. These are truly the once-lifetime-opportunities that will pass you by if I can’t get in touch with you. For example, this year alone, I have filled 4 positions with a Fortune 500 company that our firm had an exclusive on and, in parallel, the position was never posted – anywhere. The candidate who won the position was “findable, desirable and contactable.” As a side note, they went from an $85K per year base salary to a $100K per year base salary and got to move to a geography that they felt was more desirable than where they were. They weren’t “unhappy” at all when we contacted them. However, they are now “happier.”

    Calls from good “headhunters” have the power to change your life.

    Be selectable

    When a “headhunter” calls, it IS an interview. The odds that the “headhunter” will have your dream job in his/her hand are actually low. The real intent is to build a relationship with a “headhunter” that can last you a lifetime.

    • FIRST, YOU must be someone the “headhunter” wants to add to their “inner circle,” i.e., be selected by them.
    • SECONDLY, you must also interview the “headhunter.” Is he/she someone you want to work with? Is he/she someone whose inner circle you want to be a part of?

    Next week: Part 3 – Becoming part of a “headhunters” inner circle


    Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.


    Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!  (http://portal.sliderocket.com/BFDSG/Find-Your-Dream-Job), an international bestselling job hunting book on Amazon.com, and Career Stalled? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZD-bqj4bE), his latest book in the "Headhunter" Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development & Management publications. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (www.hiretowin.com), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

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    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Career Development, Job Search, Networking, Personal Branding, Positioning
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    6 comments on “Want To Be “Headhunted”? Here’s How!
    1. avatar

      This is wonderful content Skip. It confirms what I believed to be true and additionally augments my present “battle plans.”

    2. avatar
      yinka Olaito says:

      Skip, I like the be desirable and findable factor. These are spot on> It has happened to a vfriend of mine, he was findable on time and he eventually lost the opportunity. Thanks for escalating this

    3. avatar
      Sunita says:

      Thank you for this article Skip. Its very informative.

    4. avatar
      PhotoHand says:

      “It’s 60% how you look, 35% what you sound like, and 5% what you say.”

    5. avatar

      Awesome article, very informative. I assumed correctly with some of the procedural processes of headhunters. With the rest, I’ve got alot of work to do to make myself more findable. Thanks for information.

    6. avatar
      John Peltier says:

      This is definitely a good overview, although I think a broadcast medium like Twitter is a bit more impactful than Zoominfo or Jigsaw. Otherwise, the principles in the article are spot-on. Thanks for writing!

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