Help! I am contacted by a recruiter...
Suddenly out of the blue, you are totally unprepared and maybe not even looking for another job: a message from a headhunter. By phone, e-mail or via a LinkedIn message, they want to know if you are interested in a new job... For some it is a dream, for others a nightmare. We would like to give a few tips on how best to deal with such messages.
What to do if you get a call from a headhunter
1. Listen anyway
It might be that one call or email that will change your life... or maybe not. During an initial contact, a headhunter wants to get to know you and gauge whether you are interested in another job. Simply listening to what the recruiter has to say is the only way to find out if the opportunity could be right for you. In any case, always be respectful, honest and polite. If the recruiter calls at a bad time, ask to call back at a later time. This will also give you the opportunity to prepare and have your CV at hand. In case of a written contact, aim to formulate a short reply within two days maximum.
2. Ask specific questions
Try to discover as many details as possible about the position during the conversation. That way, you can assess whether it matches your professional goals and/or the next step in your career. Ask about the job description, core competencies, sector, location and salary scale. In addition, it is also valuable to find out how the headhunter found you and why he contacted you. Also be sure to inquire about who he is, what company he works for and what he specialises in. With all this information, you can judge for yourself whether this scenario suits what you want for yourself and whether it is worth pursuing further. You can take some time after the call to sort everything out and make an informed decision. Of course, don't wait too long because you are probably not the only one on the recruiter's contact list.
3. Make concrete arrangements
If you are interested in the proposed role, make clear arrangements with the recruiter about the next steps. Be sure to ask for the job description so you can prepare for the actual job interview. Read here how to best tackle that preparation.
4. Think long term and expand your network
Whether this position fits into your career plan or not, it is always useful to think long term. Recruiters have multiple clients and opportunities in portfolio. If you want to take full advantage of your contact with this headhunter, be sure to indicate which jobs you are open to and what exactly you are looking for. Leave a good impression by sending a LinkedIn connection request or follow-up email (possibly with your CV) after the conversation. If the proposed job is not for you, thank them kindly. If you know a suitable candidate for the job, share that suggestion with the recruiter. This way, you build a relationship of trust. Perhaps the headhunter can mean something to you not today but later in your career.
Speaking or emailing with a headhunter commits you to nothing. Moreover, this first contact is only a way of checking whether you are interested in a position; it is by no means a job offer. However, starting the conversation is the only way to get on the headhunter's shortlist. That way, you may soon be interviewing for your dream job.
We hope that, thanks to our tips and tricks, you will confidently step into your next contacts with headhunters. If you would like more information or an extra piece of advice, be sure to contact us. We will be happy to help you further.
We wish you every success in your search for a suitable job.