What is the best way to get noticed and be headhunted? Consider these 10 techniques.
1. Be Successful
It might sound obvious but the more successful you are, the more likely you’ll be approached by a search firm. People who stand out for top work and positive attributes are easier to find. Unfortunately, seeing yourself as successful isn’t enough – what other people think of you counts for more, including your colleagues, former co-workers, competitors and industry contacts. Are there enough people out there who will recommend you and suggest your name if they’re asked for referrals to a top candidate? This is the reputation and pull you need if you’re serious about getting noticed.
2. Be An Expert
Although the cultural fit between an individual and a potential employer will be a crucial element of the recruitment decision, most search consultants look for individuals with specific skills and experience – this is especially true in the IT industry. If you're widely acknowledged as an expert or specialist, you have greater chance of getting noticed.
3. Make Yourself Visible
One of the most effective ways of getting noticed and being identified as a talent is to join in active dialogue in your field or industry. Speaking at industry events or conferences, publishing articles or being quoted in the press will boost your visibility.
4. Network Consistently
While loads of people talk about networking, few professionals actually do it. Networking effectively among your peer group and across your industry is a powerful way to increase your chances of getting noticed. Make an effort to stay in touch with talented and well-connected colleagues, and reach out to other people who are real figureheads in your marketplace.
5. Invest For The Long Term
The most successful networkers invest in their professional relationships consistently and over the long term. This type of behaviour is far more genuine and more likely to reward you than the “suddenly enthusiastic” networking people often end up trying when they need a job.
6. Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You
Genuine executive search campaigns are intended to find the best-possible talent for a specific role and then persuade the most appropriate people to consider the role. Whether or not an individual is actively seeking to change jobs is irrelevant. The norm is for the consultant or researcher to call you, and this partly explains why you might not find it easy to get in touch with them. Most executive search professionals are specialists, so if you are highly relevant to their expertise, they’re likely to talk to you and meet you. If you aren’t of direct relevance to them, or they just aren’t handling a suitable mandate, you may find that they politely explain that meeting you could be tricky with the amount of work they have on.
7. Executive Search and Recruitment Are Different
Recruitment consultants – the people who helped you earlier in your career – tend to work on a relatively high volume of roles and rely on a database of candidates, advertising, networking and LinkedIn tactics to “fill jobs”. This type of recruiter is easier to contact and engage with, as they may be trying to build a large and varied talent pool and they will be happy for you to sit on their database until they have something suitable. Executive search specialists are harder to get in touch with and more specialised in their approach. They’re looking for quality over quantity, and they typically research the market and get in touch with candidates, rather than being approached by candidates directly. Getting noticed by these search specialists should be your mission.
8. Use A Search Firm Yourself
One of the easiest ways of developing a relationship with an executive search firm is to use them to recruit for you. The strongest professional relationships are often those that are truly beneficial to both parties. If you’ve discovered a search firm relevant to your career development, contact them when you’re hiring. They will certainly take your call! If you’re already known to that firm, they may contact you again on a future search of their own. Conflicts of interest and “off limits” protocols are taken very seriously by professional search firms, and this does limit some of the effectiveness of this approach, but this concept is often successful if you’re keen to invest in long-term relationships.
9. Are You A Client Or Candidate?
For most people, the answer to this question is both, but not always at the same time. Executive search consultants frequently end up placing people that they have met as clients and also work for clients they first met as candidates. It’s worth remembering that a talented recruiter may be able to help you in your career, as well as helping you find talent for your organisation. In the past, if you didn’t take calls from a recruiter in case they were looking for business, they might not take your call when you’re looking for a job. Getting noticed at the right time is all about laying foundations and connecting with the right people graciously and in advance, when you don’t have a fire to fight, rather than waiting until you desperately need that senior placement.
10. Use LinkedIn And Social Networking
LinkedIn, other social networking sites and search engines have changed some elements of the executive search process. While the traditional “black book” approach is still valid, most researchers will also use a plethora of online tools as part of their long-list building process. As a result, you’ll need to build yourself a compelling LinkedIn profile if you’re serious about getting noticed.
For assistance with your IT job search, please contact us today to speak to one of our specialist consultants.