Five Habits of Successful Headhunters

Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Rewards and Recognition

There is immense pressure on headhunters to find the best talent for an organization. Here, the best talent refers to employees who not only possess a specific skill set but are also the right fit for the company. The cost of a bad hire can be astronomical, in fact almost 30% of the first year earnings of the employees. Not to mention that a poor fit can also translate into lost sales opportunities, lower employee morale, loss of productivity and poor company reputation.

This kind of pressure clearly calls for the presence of strong people, sales, problem-solving and communication skills as well as traits such as patience, persistence, confidence and professionalism among headhunters. Now, while these skills and traits are integral to any headhunter’s profile; what really sets the successful ones apart from their peers is their habits. These habits empower them to emerge as masterful headhunters by strengthening their influence, build long-lasting relationships and close the leads faster and effectively.

Let’s take a look at five such habits of successful headhunters:

1. Stay Abreast with Recruitment Trends

Over the past few years, recruitment trends have evolved drastically owing to technology, digital media and change in the perspective of job seekers. The traditional model of hiring has given way to a more sophisticated and automation-led approach. Social media sites, professional networking platforms, mobile job websites and application tracking system have become new sources of recruitment and co-exist with conventional placement agencies and online job portals. Employer branding has become crucial because job candidates are keener than before to research a company’s reputation before applying for the job. Similarly, providing positive candidate experience during the recruitment process to make them accept the job is also gaining importance. Successful headhunters always stay updated about all these trends so that they can deploy forward-thinking recruitment strategies proactively.

2. Nurture Talent Community

A headhunter’s job is not merely to scout talent as and when the requirement arises. This can be both time-consuming and ineffective, resulting in poor hires. However, successful headhunters don’t wait for the need to arise. They keep a pool of qualified candidates ready all the time by building a talent pipeline through continuous relationship building and engaging activities. They anticipate the current and recruitment needs to match the job description to both internal and external candidates. On an ongoing basis, they undertake outreach programmes to stay connected with the talent pool and nurture it. These outreach activities can be making a first contact call to candidates, welcoming them onboard, sending them newsletters about new job openings/projects/trends, inviting them for meets and events or simply interacting with them on social media.

3. Possess a Tech-Savvy and Data-Driven Mindset

Every aspect or function of business has now boiled down to numbers due to big data and other technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics. Recruitment automation is changing the way candidates are screened, pre-qualified and interviewed. There are some great automation tools that can track candidates, schedule appointments with them and communicate with them. They reduce the manual work for headhunters considerably and enable them to focus on more strategic tasks. Similarly, there are several analytical tools that can help track key recruitment metrics such as time to fill, cost of hires, quality of hires, offer acceptance rate, attrition rate and many more. Successful headhunters ensure that they embrace technological tools and learn data mining skills to streamline their work and get logical insights.

4. Own a Business Mindset

Gone are the days when headhunters worked in isolation and with a silo mentality. Today, organizations expect headhunters to work as strategic business partners who have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Successful headhunters do just that – own a business mindset and work as an entrepreneur with a long-term focus on growth. They align their goals with business vision and deliver business-oriented talent solutions. They always look at a bigger picture and attune their work in a way that they support business decisions and enhance business profitability. Masterful headhunters also keep a close tab on the pulse of business competitors and customers to create value propositions for both employers and employees.

5. Think Outside the Box

Recently, a 20-year-old girl’s resume went viral on social media because of its sheer originality. Deloitte India was so impressed with her creative skills that it offered her a job! Job seekers are getting creative with their skills showcasing, and so should the headhunters. Successful headhunters think outside the box, push past their status quo, challenge the conventional and move beyond their comfort zone when it comes to recruitment. So, be it wacky or bold job descriptions, arranging informal interview meetings over lunch dates with candidates or following their footprints on social media, successful headhunters try every offbeat trick outside the recruitment book to hire the right fit. They just dare to do things differently and innovatively.

Successful headhunters are not born with these habits, but they cultivate it over a period of time with patience and robust discipline.

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