How to go from headhunter to headhunted

As HR professionals, we’re used to keeping an eye on the top talent we want to lure to our organisation. Here’s how to turn the tables and get noticed by headhunters.

How to go from headhunter to headhunted
As we in HR know, some of the best roles up for grabs aren’t advertised to the public and the way to get them is to be talent-spotted.

So how do you go about making yourself a target for headhunters?

According to international executive search and outplacement business Kennedy Executive, being visible is a key factor.

“In order to be found, you must be visible – online and offline,” headhunter and business writer Jorg Stegemann wrote on the company’s website.

“Critical to online visibility are a watertight LinkedIn profile, Twitter, guest posts or publications. However, you cannot send a handshake by email and it is hard to build rapport online only. When did you last participate in a networking event?”

However, being visible isn’t enough – it’s also important to be meaningful, wrote Stegemann.

“Going to conferences is good but you will make a real impact by raising the word during the Q and A part. And if you do so, I guarantee there will be at least three people that will approach you in the coffee break and talk to you about your contribution.”

Jonathan Krogdahl, a headhunter at the executive search firm The Curzon Partnership, wrote a piece for The Telegraph in which he said that identifying expert headhunters in your industry was a good approach.

“Play the long game. When you have found and got to know the right headhunters, use every excuse to build a relationship with them.”

Having friends who can recommend you and help establish your credibility with headhunters is also useful, according to Success in HR founder and author Alan Collins.

“Even if you are not exactly what the recruiter is looking for, they will be interested that you have come recommended by somebody they respect,” he wrote.

“It’s easier than you think to get referred as recruiters pester their candidates and ask for referrals all the time. If you make it known to your contacts that you are interested in exploring the marketplace, they will be very happy to pass this on as it gives them future leverage as well.”

What are your best tips for being headhunted?

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