Be Prepared When a Headhunter Calls

Be Prepared When a Headhunter Calls

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By Pri Notowidigdo

How would you react to a call from a “headhunter,” the popular name for an executive search consultant? He offers you an opportunity to be CEO of an American-based high-tech company in Jakarta. As CEO, your initial task is to start up the company’s operations in Indonesia. Your objective would be to develop significant market share in Indonesia. You feel flattered by the offer. Yet you feel hesitant in talking to this total stranger on the telephone as he seems to already know your background.


What are the key issues for you to consider here? Just to name a few: complacency, a false sense of security, and rapid change. You may be relatively complacent in that things seem to have fallen into place in your career. You feel secure about life. Yet, there is no certainty in life. Business is changing so fast that the job you love may be entirely different tomorrow. You must begin to actively manage your career as you cannot depend on your employer to chart out your professional development. The call, in effect, provides an opportunity for you to reassess what’s important in your life and what you want to do with the rest of your life.

From a business perspective, talking with the headhunter can broaden your business contacts. Moreover, the headhunter will likely give you useful information on what’s happening in the market.

How do you deal with a headhunter’s call?

  1. Talk to the headhunter and regard the call positively as a business opportunity.

  2. Be sure, though, to assess his qualifications as a recruitment professional by asking him questions such as: How did you get my name? How long have you been in the business? Do you specialize in any industry? Are you the only one conducting this search for your client? This is to avoid your resume being circulated by a contingency recruiter without your knowledge. This is opposed to dealing with a qualified search consultant who is normally hired by a corporate client on a retained fee basis.

  3. Be honest with him but don’t tell him everything about yourself over the telephone. If he asks you to meet with him, the face-to-face meeting will enable you to better assess his character and professional qualifications. Moreover, this will indicate how serious he regards your qualifications and fit for the position in question

  4. Listen carefully and ask questions about the client, the company, the scope of the job, and career development prospects.

  5. Getting your resume into the database will also enhance your future prospects.

  6. If you do get a job offer from his client, be careful. Don’t be complacent. Don’t assume that the recruiter and his client know what’s best for your career. Get more detailed information from him or through other sources. In the end, it’s your decision.

If you have not gotten a call from a headhunter, you might have the right qualifications, or simply not visible enough

Have you managed an organization? Have you marketed a product or services successfully? Have you accomplished something significant? If you answered yes, then you will likely get a call in the future. Building a good professional reputation. Is a key determining factor. Developing and maintaining good relationships with colleagues, subordinates, clients, and even competitors provides a good base for professional development and exposure. Gaining visibility through writing articles, conducting public seminars and being active in professional associations will also reinforce your reputation and enhance your public image as a professional. When a headhunter calls, be prepared.

Pri Notowidigdo
The Amrop Hever Group
Global Executive Search
Bapindo Plaza, Citibank Tower, 14/F
Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Kav 54-55
Jakarta 12190, Indonesia
E-mail: [email protected] , [email protected]

Web-site: www.amrophever.com

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