If you haven’t been called by your ‘friendly local neighbourhood headhunter’, here are some actions you can take to get the inside scoop on the top jobs in the market.
Social Media. Are you there? If you’re not on Linkedin.com, then get on the bandwagon. Its a very professional site and a headhunters dream that will add value to your own personal contacts and allow you to be seen without looking like you are about to ‘jump ship’ from your employer. Facebook and Twitter are also obvious places to get your name out in the market and the attention of headhunters.
Google. Do a search of your first and last name on Google. Does it paint a picture that you want to be known for? Do you even come up on the first page of search results? If not, your digital footprint (although it may be helping you with privacy) is getting you no closer to the plethora of hidden jobs. Bear in mind that headhunters will Google you at some stage in the process.
Blog. Many of the strongest candidates in the market author a blog. It’s an excellent way to stay current in the social media space and a chance to prove your industry expertise and opinions. It also helps to create the impression of you as a ‘taste maker’ in the industry.
Get quoted. Volunteer to be a press point of contact. Meet editors and journalists whenever you can so they can turn to you when they need a quote for an article. When you commit to helping out with penning a story, do it now. Prove that you are reliable and can be trusted to meet deadlines. Good headhunters should be reading multiple trade sites and if you are networking with the right ones, you will be published and subsequently headhunted.
Relationship building and reciprocation. The best candidates are the ones that also put the effort in to building a relationship with their headhunter. If you have chosen to work with a headhunter, cultivate the relationship. Open up your network until you are comfortable with your headhunter contacting people you recommend anonymously or using your name as a referral. Stay in touch quarterly to let them know you are about and ask if you can be of any help. Providing your headhunter with advice and news will put you at the top of their mind for when new roles open up.
Honesty is the best policy. Great headhunters will handle your personal information with the strictest confidentiality. Show the same respect. When working with a headhunter and going out to meet their client or your prospective employer, don’t do it to gain leverage for your current position (i.e. to get a raise) and don’t forget to mention you if you are near offer for another position. Give honest feedback fast. Your actions could have a negative effect on their relationship with their client. Be honest about how you feel and don’t leave the headhunter guessing. A great working relationship with a headhunter means they will continue to present you with the best opportunities first, even if you have declined in the past.
A final point to note is that great headhunters work with key hiring executives, including country CEOs, regional MDs and global CEOs, because they have earned their respect through results and reputation. They will listen to their headhunters opinion of a candidate, the good, the bad and the ugly.