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Tips On Getting On Executive Search Radars And Being Headhunted

May 15, 2008
Having worked in travel recruitment and headhunting for some time, I've learned a great deal about the way executive search agencies work. Even if you're not actively looking for work, an enquiring headhunter call can boost morale or prompt a wage boost by your current employer eager to keep you at the firm, and of course if you are looking for work, then letting headhunters do the legwork will save you an awful lot of time and effort. But just how do you go about getting noticed by recruitment companies without speaking to them directly?

Be the Best you can Be

This one may sound like a complete cop-out, but the truth is that headhunters go for the exceptional. Don't ever feel like you have no room to improve, and try to develop your skills as best you can. It's tempting to think that if you're not at one of the top companies in your industry, then you won't fall onto the recruiter's radar, but this is actually far from the truth - we know that there are skilful, talented workers at smaller companies just as there are overpaid, under skilled people working at the top firms. In short, headhunters look everywhere, so do your best to stand out no matter what level you're at.

It's all About Exposure

But of course, you can be super-talented and great at your job, but if you're unknown outside of your office cubicle then you're not going to get that call. The best way to do this is to give talks at conferences, write articles for industry publications and to be an expert in your field, but you may not be at a level where this exposure is possible. Start small - make your presence felt online. Increasingly, headhunters and recruiters are using the internet to find talented people whose names, for whatever reason, aren't on the tip of everyone's tongue. There are a number of places where you can upload your CV to be searchable, and equally being prominent on business social networks like LinkedIn can pay dividends. The only downside to this is that the less formal social networks like Facebook and MySpace are equally searchable - so make sure you maintain a degree of professionalism throughout your online dealings!

Let Your Clients Market You

It stands to reason that to have any hope of getting headhunted, you have to have an excellent reputation amongst your clients. Happy clients are likely to be vocal about recommending you to others. The effects of this are two-fold - firstly, more recommendations means word of mouth business for your company, raising your profile, and secondly direct word of mouth to headhunters and recruiters. Believe it or not, actually asking for suggestions of people to target is a big part of the headhunter's day, and if you can be the first name on the lips of your clients, you're that bit more likely to get the call from an executive search agency.

Network as if Your Life Depended On It

Don't miss an opportunity to get your name known in your industry. Attend formal and informal events, network and make contacts. I can't speak for all areas, but in my experience of travel recruitment, the community quite tight with everyone knowing everyone. Get into that inner circle, and you should instantly feel the benefit from good old fashioned 'word of mouth'...

Follow these tricks and you should find yourself getting a few headhunting calls in no time. Remember that you're under no pressure to accept a new job, but it never hurts to keep your options open!
About the Author
Gail Kenny is the managing director of Gail Kenny Executive Search, a headhunting recruitment agency specialising in travel recruitment. The site caters exclusively to talented individuals with skills and experience to succeed in the travel management, and businesses looking for such candidates.
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