What to Do When You’re Approached by a Headhunter


Get ready for 2015 and new job opportunities with my three part blog series – Job Interviews: all the tips you need to be successful.

In Part One of the series I’m talking about what to do when you’re approached by a head hunter or search firm and how not to stuff it up.

A few weeks ago a former colleague of mine interviewed a Senior Lawyer with management experience who gave a really poor interview. The problem was she’d been ‘head hunted’ and she’d displayed her arrogance by her dismal interview performance. Because she didn’t think that she needed to prepare.

When she answered behavioural interview questions she provided phrases instead of actual examples and kept saying “I know that” rather than answering the question.

Unfortunately, because her lack of preparation she wasted her own time and that of a great organisation that was originally really  interested in hiring her.

The lessons

If you’re approached about an opportunity don’t assume that the head hunter or organisation that approached you knows everything about you. You need to answer questions fully.

Treat the interview like a normal interview process and prepare your answers to behavioural interview questions.

You’ve still got to research

Sure it’s flattering to be ‘tapped on the shoulder’ but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your research about the organisation. Doing your research doesn’t just make you look good in interview, it shows you’re serious and it will help you decide if the opportunity is for you.  An interview is not just about you presenting your best self it’s also about you assessing: is this role the right move for me? Is it the right company for me? Does the culture match my values? Will I get along with my leader? Are we a good fit?

Next time you’re approached by a headhunter and you go for interview prepare like you would for any normal interview.  Be prepared to answer questions relating to your achievements and experience and make sure you’ve got some questions prepared too.

Next week in Part Two of the series I’ll talk about why the word WE can be a big mistake in a behavioural interview.

Photo credit: deposit photos

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