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What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?

 
#1 What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 09:26

TheRecruiter

I appreciate it's always difficult to take calls from headhunters or recruiters whilst on site. I was hoping to get Consultant's thoughts on what makes you intrigued by a headhunter's initial patter and do you only want to hear about specific jobs or are you happy to just have an initial fact-find?

Thanks

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#2 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 12:21

Bob to TheRecruiter (#1)

I want to hear that the recruitment agent actually knows who I am and hasn't just found me on 'LinkedIn'.

As a second best option, I want to hear that the recruitment agent at least knows what firm and industry I work in.

And I want to hear that he has a specific job opportunity (or mybe a couple) that he thinks I might be suitable for: present the job opportunity if there is one. I want to hear the name of the company where the opportunity is (no need to be cryptic about 'leading financial services organisation' or other such rubbish). Then if I'm not interested, I can end it right there.

I don't want to hear:

- We have lots of open positions we are trying to fill, what are you interested in?

- How much do you get paid?

- Can you give me a list of all the people you know so I can cold call them?

Bob

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#3 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 12:26

Mr Cool to TheRecruiter (#1)

Well done for taking the time to ask the question. I hope you get some good quality responses and the thread doesn’t descend in “waste-of-space-recruiters” bilious rants.

Personally there are a few easy ways to win my attention.

1) Hi, my name is XXX and I’m calling you about a specific opportunity

2) I got your name from XXX who recommended you, or I got your name from LinkedIn where its clear you’ve worked in the relevant area.

3) They ask if it’s a good time to talk and if not they arrange to call back at a specific time.

4) They call back when agreed – wahay! Its a proper headhunter!

5) They describe the role and it is a good match (or at least I can see why they think it might be)

6) We immediately ensure that the money is appropriate in ball park terms. No point in wasting time on something that pays 30K to little.

7) If I’m interested they disclose the client, we swap job descriptions and cv’s etc.

A general chat is of very little interest to me, UNLESS, it’s one of the top firms (EZ, KF, H&S, etc) because it’s worth staying on their radar, OR if the firm is a true niche specialist, so they will probably have something interesting in the near future. In that case I normally suggest the person gives me a call when they are next near my office and I’ll meet the for a coffee. That tends to quickly weed out those who are too junior or too short term to invest in a proper chat f2f.

The absolute worst call is when a headhunter calls supposedly about an opp for me and then clearly fishes for business – I’m usually openly rude to them. They should have the guts just to do the sales pitch. I might still say no, but I’ll always be polite and help if I can.

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#4 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 13:35

TheRecruiter to Bob (#2)

Hi Bob

Thanks for your answer, I think that should just be common courtesy, unfortunately there's a few out there who don't just specialise in a particular industry sector so will see "Management Consultant" on your linked in profile or somewhere else and call you for a one-off role they've stumbled upon.

The difficulty we have sometimes is just getting 5 minutes of your time to talk you through the consultancy and opportunity in question - giving us the chance to gain some credibility with you and at the same time giving you the full picture so you can see what the differences are between your current role and why this may be a good move. Surely it's always worthwhile spending 5 minutes seeing what else can be put on the table for you? And then the good recruiter/headhunter can you call you 3 months later with something a lot better suited etc.

Thanks

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#5 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 13:43

TheRecruiter to Mr Cool (#3)

Mr Cool

Again, thanks for your answer, and you're right, it's just a basic question but I hope it will provide some good answers.

By the sounds of your bullet points I might have called you before :)

Believe it or not we do realise how difficult it can be to talk in your situation, and the fact you probably get 3-4 calls a week. I'd like to think every opportunity I take to somebody is worth them spending 5 minutes listening to - also very happy for them to give me their feedback afterwards i.e. "the reason that's not right for me is that i'm just about to make Senior Manager" or "I have worked in that area before, didn't enjoy it and wouldn't want to go back - however if you work in this area please call me about roles".

One point I'd like to make is if you're awaiting a promotion or a possible promotion, it's always worth having the chat as we're not going to get you a move for a like for like grade if you're due a promotion, I'd like to think my peers have got some more common sense than that.

Many thanks

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#6 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 13:47

Mr Cool to TheRecruiter (#4)

The problem is that such a conversation does not take 5 minutes, it takes 20, and there are literally hundreds of recruiters who are keen to have the conversation.

The time investment is poor for the candidate.

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#7 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
08/06/2011 15:12

rc to Mr Cool (#6)

agree with the above. if you don't know the size or prize that would interest me, don't bother calling. also, I don't mind giving recommendations occasionally, but don't do the old 'do you know anyone' routine when you actually hope that I will say 'ooh, yes, me please' - just qualify openly up front.

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#8 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
09/06/2011 11:55

Bob to rc (#7)

Here's a tip: if you call me at 3 minutes past the hour I'm probably just out of a meeting and haven't gotten into next piece of work - I'm less likely to screen my calls.

But if you call me at 10 to the hour, I'm more likely to me getting ready for the next meeting (or still in a meeting) and either won't want to talk or won't answer my phone.

Simples.

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#9 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
10/06/2011 09:01

Village Idiot to TheRecruiter (#1)

I have lost count of the number of headhunter calls I’ve received where the person calling hasn’t done even the first bit of homework.

I have a very detailed CV on LinkedIn. It details my professional experience, project work, and key skills exhaustively. Do a Google-search on my name and the first two hits you’ll get are a link to my personal website (where all of this information and more is available) and a link to my profile on LinkedIn.

Despite this, I routinely get phone calls for roles for which I’m not vaguely qualified (SAP technical configuration, despite the fact that SAP/ERP are nowhere on my CV) or roles that are several job levels below where I am currently (I work in a big 4 consultancy where the job titles are very clear – there shouldn’t be any ambiguity about where I sit in the corporate hierarchy based on my job title). It’s abundantly clear that they haven’t done the first bit of due diligence about my background or experience.

Finally, I get annoying calls from junior headhunters who clearly don’t understand the roles for which they are recruiting. Even if the role itself is interesting, they can’t have a productive conversation about it because they don’t have enough domain expertise to understand what doing the job actually entails.

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#10 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
10/06/2011 11:58

rc to Village Idiot (#9)

I hear you.... I had a ludicrous call about a month ago that genuinely went like this: "I have an opportunity I think might interest you" "ok, what is it" ;"It's in financial services, are you interested?"; " Don't know, you haven't told me anything about it - who is it for and what is it?"; "I can't tell you the client"; "what's the sector and what is the role"; " I can't say that and I can't release the role spec yet but in principle are you interested?"; at which point my patience ran out.

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#11 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
12/06/2011 20:41

Mark to TheRecruiter (#1)

Some very valid points here. The exceptional recruiter will have researched the candidate and will be able to talk intelligently about the role and consulting in general. An introduction by linkedin message instead of phone does no harm either in my opinion, but I realise this won't always give you the hit rate you want.

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#12 RE: What is it you want to hear if a headhunter calls?
13/06/2011 17:06

TheRecruiter to Mark (#11)

Yes I'm really happy with the responses, thanks to all. Yes sometimes if you do not have much information on a person a simple linked in introduction email is a good way to go. And as Mr Cool says above if you get 4 recruiters calling you a week and each trying to spend 20 minutes on the phone it's not always worth your while.

I like Bob's comment about not calling just before the hour too, definitely helps, so thanks very much and any other comments will continue to be read if you have any other thoughts.

Regards

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