How do Head-Hunters Really Find Candidates?

An “Insider’s” view

Have you been in the job market recently? Do you need a change of scenery? Let’s take a look behind the scenes at the recruitment industry. It might just help you find your next, best job!

What’s the difference between a recruiter and a headhunter?

Headhunters and recruitment agencies search for different types of candidates. A recruitment agency finds active job seekers to fill positions within client organisations. A headhunter concentrates on finding candidates who are not actively looking for new jobs. They look for the hard to find candidates who are the perfect fit for a very specific role.

A recruitment agency sources candidates from databases, networks and unsolicited CVs. Recruitment agencies work with a number of companies to fill their recruiting needs, they often look for candidates with broad skills who can fill a variety of positions as needed. recruiter finds the best qualified candidates for a vacant position within a client company. The recruiter attracts and sources candidates, pre-screens them, and presenting qualified job candidates to the client. They focus on making quick placements to keep their billings high. Recruiters tend to be generalist in nature and work across a variety of industries and levels.

Headhunters on the other hand look for candidates with highly specialised skill sets to fill very specific positions. These are often highly expert technical roles, executive roles, and jobs that are hard to fill. Because of this, they usually manage a small number of assignments at a time. It is not unusual for a headhunter to spend a very long time on each position and candidate to ensure they identify the right match. Because of this focused specialisation they command higher fees than recruitment agencies. A headhunter accesses a wide personal network to find the best candidate at that moment in time. Headhunters work for the client, not for the candidate. They are paid a premium fee for finding the perfect person for the role. And headhunters only get paid when they make the placement.

How do you make sure that you will be the one receiving a call from a recruiter or a headhunter?

Successful recruiters actively seek out suitable candidates within minutes of getting the job brief. They rely on several techniques to do so. They contact other people in the same industry and ask for referrals . They and scan their own list of previous contacts for matches.

Their best and most important tool – by far – is LinkedIn.

The importance of LinkedIn for a candidate looking for a job cannot be overstated. In order to be found by head-hunters and recruiters, a candidate wishing to found must be connected on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn-savvy recruiters not only search through LinkedIn connections, but they also post jobs available on the LinkedIn Groups.

Andree Hughes, executive headhunter at Dananda Talent, gives us the inside track to make you more accessible on LinkedIn. She shares these LinkedIn strategies, tools and tips to put you one step closer to a new job—or new career.

  • Be active on LinkedIn. Get involved with groups and interact with others on LinkedIn. The more you interact and post as a professional, the more you’ll be noticed and build recognition.
  • Build your LinkedIn network. Your connections increase your exposure and provide exponential access to other connections. Connect with people you know by importing your contact lists.
  • Don’t say you are actively looking for a new job. Your current employer won’t like this, and you don’t want to appear desperate.
  • Illustrate your skills and achievements with stories. Instead of listing operations management as a skill, tell a story of how you and your team solved a difficult operations problem, but keep it short!
  • Make sure recruiters and future employers can reach you. List an email address and phone number in your profile.
  • Follow Dananda Talent on LinkedIn. They regularly post interesting articles and host informative webinars.
  • Add visual content to your LinkedIn profile. Post a slide presentation in SlideShare. Add pictures of you certifications and qualifications. Digital badges are important too.
  • Research the companies you’re interested in and follow them on LinkedIn. This will help you stay in the know about company news and new positions as they become available.
  • Tell the world about where you want to go. Let them know about your ideal job. This will set the context for understanding your past experiences and what a new employer might be looking for.
  • Update your profile regularly. Your photo, name, and headline are the only items people see when they do a search. Your headline should stand out and highlight what you do or what type of position you’re looking for. Add long form articles as posts, change your photograph, pictures. Position yourself as someone with depth. Recruiters search for candidates using keywords, expand your Skills & Endorsements section with relevant keywords.
  • Use LinkedIn InMail to target potential employers directly. Use this feature carefully and infrequently – only for the really, really good jobs. Don’t be pushy or arrogant.
  • Use your alumni connections. Follow your college or university and then search the alumni members for companies or places of employment you are interested in.

Source: Personal interview-  Andree Hughes, September 2020

Go ahead, update your profile right now.

And when you get that call lout of the blue, it means the recruiter thinks you could be an good match to what they are looking for. Remember, the initial approach is designed to gauge your interest in the job only. The first approach is not an offer, so you could well find that the recruiter won’t reveal too many job details to begin with. Those issues are dealt with later in the process, once you have cleared the first hurdles. But your name will be in the ring.

Improve the likelihood of getting that next, best job. Update your LinkedIn profile. Maintain a relationship with your recruiter connections, keep in touch. Dananda Talent is a good placed to start. They are South Africa’s #1 job site, with over 200 thousand unique visitors every month from over 40 different countries.

The better they get to know you, the better your chances of finding that perfect role.

Development, News

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