How to Deal With a Head Hunt Call
So, you work in recruitment. You spend all day on the telephone dealing with those routine calls, and no doubt a fair amount of unexpected calls and enquiries too.
Well, no surprises then that you will probably receive more than one call from a Headhunter, or Executive Recruiter this year. This type of candidate sourcing is no longer restricted to the most senior roles within a company; it is now routinely used to source candidates from Consultant level upwards. If you are good at your job, your name will be known so put some thought into how you will respond when you do receive that first call.
Most headhunt calls are unexpected; they can also be both flattering and badly handled. So, some of our candidates and clients have asked us to put together a quick guide to handling a headhunt call.
Receiving the First Call
Assume you are going to be called by a head-hunter during working hours on your direct line or work mobile phone, and develop ways of dealing with the call professionally. Think about treating the call in the same way you would an unexpected call from a new client. Try to be as open, warm and professional as you would for any phone call.
Receiving a call from a Headhunter on your personal mobile is a different story. You have a choice about answering your personal mobile during working hours and no doubt your Company has a policy on this.
Can You Speak Freely?
A good Headhunter should ask if you have time to take the call. Even if they don't ask, it's important to learn how to respond to a first approach professionally - just as you would to any personal call you were unable to take at that particular moment.
Remember to take the callers name, who they work for, and their number.
(e.g): "Thanks for calling, I'm sorry, I'm unable to talk right now. May I take your name and number and call you back later this week?"
At this point, it's important to remember that nobody but you knows that the person on the end of the phone is a Headhunter. Your boss and colleagues probably aren't even listening to you - for all they know you could have the bank, or the council or another personal caller on the end of the line.
If you can take the call and speak freely, let the caller know your time limit:
(e.g): "Thanks for calling. Yes, I can speak now for about 5minutes; however I may need to terminate the call quickly. May I take your name and number in case I need to call you back later this week?"
Continuing the Conversation
If you have promised to return a call later in the week, do so.
When you return calls you are already in the top 10% of suitable candidates for any vacancy.
Saying No Professionally
If you are interested in a conversation about your career options, then spend 15minutes on the 'phone having a conversation.
If you do decide to discuss a particular option in more depth, it is courteous to then keep the Headhunter informed of your intentions - there is nothing wrong with saying you've changed your mind however there is plenty wrong with stringing someone along. Just think about how you feel when one of your candidates does the same.
If you are really, genuinely and totally happy with your current role; if your personal circumstances don't include a career move this year; if you are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime round the world it really is no problem. Simply say 'thanks but no thanks' in a professional way.
Agree to a Keep in Touch call if you wish, and why not give the Headhunter your mobile number? You don't have to answer every time it rings, and who knows your ideal job may come open sooner than you think.