Having spent many years working as a headhunter for the automotive industry I felt it was time to share a few secrets on the dark art of headhunting and show you how to increase your chances being approached for your dream job.
These days most headhunting starts with LinkedIn. If you, like many, are a passive job seeker quite happy in your current role but always open to an approach for an exciting career development opportunity, you need to make sure you are found by the right headhunters and for the right roles at same time hopefully minimising approaches that you are not interested in.
Put yourself into the shoes of the headhunter and think about how they use LinkedIn. They search using LinkedIn’s specialist recruiter algorithms which rely on matching data you have included on your LinkedIn profile. The key things you need to ensure are correct are:
Your Industry – sounds obvious but it isn’t necessarily. If you are a marketing manager for an automotive manufacturer should your industry be ‘Automotive’ OR ‘Marketing & Advertising’?
Your Location – make sure this is set as your home location (or the location you wish to work in) – not the head office location of your current employer at the other end of the country.
Your Job Title – If your job title is unusual or not what other employers would use for that job, consider changing it to the most commonly used job title to describe what you do. Eg if your job title is: ‘Head of Amazing’ consider changing this on linked in to ‘Head of Marketing’ (if that’s what it really is).
Your Groups and Contacts – network and connect with as many relevant people and groups as you can – in your direct industry sector. Most recruiters can only view people who are 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree contacts – so get well connected to ensure you are found.
Key Words – headhunters will use key words to find people with the skills and experience they need. Make sure all key words you’d like to be found under are on your profile eg ‘People Management’, ‘Senior Manager’ etc.
Skills – LinkedIn allows headhunters to search for people according to the skills they have put on their profile. Make sure all your key skills are there.
… any finally, if you do get approached about a role you are not interested in, be courteous and reply – even if it’s just to say you’re not interested this time. We have long memories and are far more likely to come back to you next time if you respond!
Written by Julia Pennington, Managing Director