94% of employees are open to being headhunted. Here’s how to stand out

At the moment, getting proactively approached about a new role is a decidedly good thing.

It is an indication that you are a leading professional in your field and that your employment experience is valued. It is an increasingly common way to secure a new role, gain insights into the current employment market and understand your external value. 

At FutureYou, we recently asked the question “Now or in the future, are you open to being headhunted?” to gain some insight into the interest of engaging with a headhunter.

We had close to 600 responses, and the answer was a clear “Yes” from 94% of respondents.

This high number helps to facilitate the demonstration of the openness that is required of individuals to be proactively approached about a potential job opportunity.

To this end therefore, apart from being great at your job, how do you get your profile into view amongst everyone else? Let us consider how best to approach this aspect. 

Update LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the first place a headhunter will look when scoping you out as a talent prospect.

Your profile is a representation of your personal brand, one that needs a refresh every so often. Ask someone you know well, like a mentor, to critique your profile with an external lens, making and suggesting improvements to represent you in the best light.

Present your profile in the best way through

  • Using a recent, clear, and professional photo.
  • Having a well written ‘about’ section, summarising who you are and what you do.
  • Keeping your employment, education, and qualification history up to date – less is more with your employment history, so stick to the major headlines.
  • Doing an audit of who you follow and which groups you are part of. Are they still relevant?
  • Consider only connecting with people you have interacted with or who are relevant to you and your career.
  • Following recruiters or search partners and their businesses on LinkedIn to be across the latest employment trends.
  • Follow organisations or leaders of organisations that you would love to work for.
  • Replying to DMs and sharing your contact details. Make the time to listen to what current opportunities are available. If it is not right for you, can you recommend anyone? 
  • If you are actively looking for work, then enable LinkedIn’s #OpenToWork feature (recruiters can see this, your boss can’t). 

Build a relationship

An employment recruiting agent or a search partner may not have the right opportunity for you now, but that opportunity could come up at any time in the near future.

It’s therefore wise to connect, make your profile known and start developing a relationship.

  • Deploy recruiters who can make relevant introductions to achieve professional goals.
  • Focus on building relationships with those who are well connected, with deep networks. If they can’t help you, can they introduce you to someone who can?
  • Partner with a recruiter or search partner who will proactively work on your behalf, who are genuinely excited to represent you. They must have great story telling abilities to bring your profile, capabilities, and motivations to life. 

Your resume or LinkedIn profile outlines skills, capabilities and experience.

We know that finding the ultimate career match is so much more than just a job fit. The best recruiters or headhunters align talent with culture.

The best approach to connecting involves adding depth to your profile and sharing your story so as to have a conversation to talk through your responses to these questions:

·   What would the culture need to be like for you to consider a move?

·   What values & purpose does the organisation need to have for you to consider a move?

·   What leadership style works best with you?

·   What level role would it need to be for you to consider a move?

·   What locations you would and would not consider?

·   What salary package would need to be on offer for you to make a move?

·   What flexibility do you need?

  • Spend time understanding and planning what a next move would need to give you in the short, medium and long term. 

Final Considerations

It’s exciting to think that your next opportunity may be presented to you, without you having to go and look for it. With all future headhunter interactions, keep these in mind.

·   If you’re considering an internal move or promotion, it could be useful to compare it to what an external opportunity would look like.

·   Be honest with headhunters. Set your minimum expectations – the point at which you’d begin to consider a move. Transparency can save everyone loads of valuable time.

·   Headhunters don’t see active and passive job seekers – everyone is a connection and best for you to meet halfway in maintaining regular contact.

·   Good headhunters will never poach from a business they partner with. If you see a potential conflict of interest, you need to manage it up front and with a straight bat.

From experience, any interaction regarding your career call for a positive impression.

Bear in mind that there are often multiple stakeholders to influence and manage when it comes to your employment profile with recruiters and new employers directly.

This is a tight knit employment market and reputation is everything.

Emily Wilson Managing Director & Co-Founder FutureYou, a privately owned National Super Boutique talent firm providing Search, Recruitment & Advisory services.