I Got a Headhunt Call…Lucky Me? Not!

I say a headhunt call, but maybe just saying I was approached would be a better description, mind you I daresay that the guy doing the approaching probably thought he was headhunting.

Not sure that any of what follows would be overly familiar to the track leaders at TruSource but unfortunately too much ‘sourcing’ goes like this….

It was a depressing experience. Switchboard had a call for me. Someone who would only give his first name and who claimed he knew me. They put him through…

…and he introduced himself and launched straight into a pitch, how he was recruiting for a client who was looking for an HR recruiter to join and grow their business at the senior end…he gave me a range of basic salaries (I commented that it didn’t sound a particularly attractive range and he DISAGREED with me, saying ‘from what I hear it’s good for the market’)..the commission scheme is really good (he said this twice) his client had recently merged with another group (so I kinda now knew who they were) and now had more clients to whom they could offer HR recruitment (but he also said that it would suit a strong sales person), apparently I could join as a solo recruiter or I could manage a small team it was up to me (hey they’ve really nailed their structure and talent development programme) and then he asked if he could take my mobile number so that he could ring me outside work and discuss it more. He never actually asked me if I was interested or if I actually WANTED to talk about it more, he just presumed…

The interesting part for me was that he said he found me on Linked In, thought I had a good profile and was the kind of person he was looking for, so I had 2 questions for him:

What made me so relevant?

What did he think of what I wrote on my blog and did this fit in with his client’s values?

He couldn’t really answer either. What made me relevant, apparently, was that I was an HR recruiter who had previously also worked in Recruitment to Recruitment (though he couldn’t explain the relevance of that) and as for the blog, well no he hadn’t read it…and where was it? Er, well it’s there, on my LI profile.

Had he bothered to properly read my profile and follow the link he would have seen that my most recent blogpost opened with ‘I really love working as part of the Stopgap Group, not least because…’ now you would have thought that if someone REALLY wanted to headhunt ME then they may find this fairly relevant.

Surely if you want to try and seriously approach someone who has just written publicly about how much he loves the company he works for, then I suspect you need a slightly different opening than the scattergun headrush of basics, commission, selling in to new clients etc.. For a start it may actually require a MATCH between me and what the client could offer.

A cursory read of some of my other blogposts would have further enlightened him to the fact that values, service, reward for feedback and a move away from the traditional sales model were all important to me…his time could probably have been more profitably used seeing if his client could offer these to me.

I blogged a couple of months ago about whether recruiters really get social media as most just seemed to think LinkedIn and Twitter were there to find more candidates to headhunt…and 2 months on I’m still wondering!

Now, I’m not looking for a headhunt approach and I’m very happy where I am, but had I been in a position where the call was more welcome then I would like to think that through Linked In, this blog, Twitter and participation in events like TruLondon, there was enough readily available information on me, my thoughts and my style, to enable a rather more intelligent, engaging and personal approach …

Maybe I’m expecting too much…

7 thoughts on “I Got a Headhunt Call…Lucky Me? Not!

  1. Sounds daft but if you are a rec to rec recruiter I would have thought you would do all the backing checking descibe.

    BUT i think this is what happens today to most candidates – no time invested in “preperation/researching” just source a name and call”.

    Made me laugh though – dentists hate going to the dentist, salesmen hate selling to salesmen!!

  2. I have two strong feelings on this and I feel it is endemic in recruitment. Firstly, who is teaching these idiots how to approach potential candidates like this? Are they being taught? or relying on skills badly learned during a buoyant market? It is now an easy way of approaching candidates, they are transparent, out in the open, obvious. Before it would have been picking up the phone book, advertising copy or supplier/conference lists. Even 5 years ago a researcher would struggle to get a tenth of the background on a candidate that is freely available now.
    Its lazy recruiting, reflects poorly on professional recruiters and drives me mad. 10 minutes decent background work would have given them all the information required, but as Mervyn points out its a scatter gun approach, chasing a fast buck, lack of consulting and more about volume over quality.

    My second thought is if this is my ‘competition’ then no wonder I am so busy! The professional recruiter in me wants to see it stamped out, recruiters licensed or registered the business owner in me says long may it continue ? A dilemma?

  3. How interesting. I hope you got his e-mail address so you can forward this post to him. Sounds like he could use a crash course in how to research his candidates to determine if they are possibly a good fit. In any job, there’s no excuse for lazy and it sounds like this headhunter is just that…lazy.

  4. I personally feel that this problem is larger than just recruitment. The basic sales methodologies that most of us swear by, seem to have disappeared into the ether.

    I’ve watched “experienced” sales people dive straight into a pitch and then fumble over a close. Their research is either cursory or non existent, they haven’t gathered ANY information from their prospect… and when they get the inevitable no, they argue instead of using their questioning skills to overcome the objections. They think that mere bloody minded persistence is enough to make them good sales people – this may have been the case in years gone by, but those times are long gone!

    A little coaching goes a long way!

  5. I don’t agree, ive done headhunting and if you sit there for every person you call and find out about each position they have done or certain areas then they turn around and say no im happy thank you its a waste of research done. if someone is interested and they are unhappy in there work place and are open-minded to hearing more, thats when the ‘booking’ happens and they can get a call back out of work hours then the more detailed research can happen. headhunters get time wasters who say yes they are looking but never actually answer the call later that evening. Headhunters dont call to annoy people. i’d say your all lucky to have someone call you offering jobs so easily. at the end of the day if your not fit for certain positions you’d never get a call in the first place.

    I had people who ive spoken to for 2 years come back to me because they had lost there job or were just not enjoying it and I helped them with my acc manager to find a new job that suited them, its not about telling them what we have its about listening to what they want. I think headhunters get a lot of stick for there approach but what would you rather they did? bring a cake or ask for coffee first. also headhunters are not sales people. maybe next time you get a call and you don’t like the way they came across you could give them friendly tips or refer them to someone who may be looking. We are all human beings doing jobs to get money. Some of my candidates have become good friends and even the ones that were just a name and job title still managed to have a laugh and be polite to one another.

    Now that I get headhunters calling me, i say thank you and it is interesting knowing what higher salary and bonuses others clients are offering to compare. as long as they are polite then i think you should be to.

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