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How should you respond to a headhunter?



Virginie Graziani

Talent Management & Synergologist

22 February 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes


It’s not every day that you’re approached by a headhunter. This kind of contact is often surprising because we don’t expect it. In addition, there is a big chance that they’ll contact you during the day, during your work schedule, which can make communication tricky. So how can you best deal with this situation and respond to a headhunter?


Should I answer or put it off?


First of all, if you are headhunted, it’s rather good news. It shows that your profile has caught the eye of a recruiter. After introducing him/herself, one of the first things a headhunter will ask you  is if you’re available to talk. Since the headhunter knows that you’re not expecting his call, he may approach you at an inopportune moment. When they get a call from a headhunter, some candidates, for fear of missing an opportunity, are afraid to admit that they’re in an uncomfortable situation adverse to speaking freely.

If it’s not a good time, simply make a phone appointment for a timeslot that will suit you better. This will allow you to approach your conversation more calmly and also be more focused. If you are alone in your office, outdoors or at home, it is best to seize the moment to answer and talk with the headhunter. Who knows? This could be the career boost  you were waiting for!

Even if, a priori, you are not looking for a new position, it would be a shame to close that door without hearing the opportunity. On the other hand, be careful not to be overconfident or narcissistic. Being contacted by a headhunter is rather flattering because it proves that your profile has caught somebody’s eye. Nevertheless, bear in mind that you are not the only person on the list.


A chat or a telephone interview?


In a headhunting scenario, the consultant (or the Recruitment Manager in offices that work differently than Apostrof) must first refer to your profile. That means verifying some information about you: for example, your current position, the number of people you manage, your geographical mobility, your professional experience, your skills and your career goals, etc.

For the latter, this means ensuring that these criteria correspond to the specifications set by the recruiting company. The consultant will also outline the opportunity he’s presenting to you, in order to gauge how interested and motivated you are to take the recruitment process further.


Can I ask the headhunter questions?


Once the initial contact has been established, do not hesitate to ask questions to ascertain if the position could be your career breakthrough. Most of the time, some elements are still confidential at this stage. However, the type and relevance of your questions help to show your interest  in going further. The conversation may take between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the circumstances.

The consultant will then invite you to continue your conversation in a face-to-face interview. Generally speaking, be natural, this is just the first step at the start of a whole process. Whatever the case may be, successful or unsuccessful, do not hesitate to send a summary of your experience to the headhunter in order to be added to their database. If the proposed position is not right for you, liaise with your interlocuteur by saving his contact. He will appreciate it and remember your gesture for future opportunities.

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RH Consulting – Talent Management
Scientific evaluation of skills and potential

Expert in the evaluation and development of resources, skills and potential, Apostrof helps you make the right decisions regarding recruitment, annual interviews, professional training, organisation of operational staff, career management and professional development, succession plans and high potential..

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