What to expect when contacted by a headhunter


Knowing what to expect from a recruitment agency will empower personal career growth

For many people with a few years working experience, being contacted by a recruitment agency is a daunting experience and what to expect from such a call is unknown territory. Based on our 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry we would like to offer the below checklist outlining what you should expect from a headhunter, and how you can best deal with the process

Firstly, don’t try and have the conversation in the office. Hushed covert conversations held huddled over your desk draw immediate attention and are not conducive to comfortable conversation.

If the headhunter is reputable they will ask you up front if it’s a convenient time to talk. If they don’t then this should raise warning bells and make you ask whether you are dealing with someone who is a professional and an expert.

In such a case it is recommended you:

Ask for their name and the name of their company

Give them your cell number and arrange a time to talk when you can do so privately

Use the information you have to do your own checking – who is this person? What is their reputation, and their track record in the industry? This information can be ascertained from a company website, a LinkedIn profile, or by asking others within the field.

Once you take the call it is also important to understand the key things you should be looking for:

Does the headhunter quickly create a connection with you?

Do they give you a sense of confidence in their professionalism and knowledge of the market in which you work?

Have they done some homework and have knowledge about who you are?

Instinctively, ask yourself if this someone you are comfortable to talk to about your career

Although you should have done your homework about whom you are talking to, the headhunter should spend 2/3 minutes telling you about themselves, their style of operating and their company. Remember that this is a two way conversation and if you are happy with all of the above then engage, on the basis that this is an entirely confidential discussion

If you are not comfortable based on this research, then it is advised that you let the headhunter know you would prefer not to engage any further. Intuition, and listening to your immediate thoughts and reaction to the situation, should also not be discarded as it can be used to greatly enhance the decision making process

About Sam Deuchar

Sam Deuchar leads the Rebmormax team. She is a seasoned HR, talent and change management executive with extensive corporate and consulting experience across the finance, IT and construction industries. She provides consulting expertise specifically in talent acquisition and people strategy.