How To Get Headhunted: A Recruiter’s Tips

Between updating your CV, writing cover letters and having to deal with the constant rejection (it is constant for everyone else too, right?) absolutely no one likes searching for a job.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were one of those uber-qualified people who has to beat off jobs with a stick, rather than the poor sap who ends up settling for whatever it takes to put food on the table?

Well, before you go cursing those lucky suckers, take a few minutes to reflect on yourself, your qualifications and your industry – because you just might be primed for headhunting.

The Cusp spoke to Katie Mitchell, Associate Manager at Page Personnel, who told us that, unless you have “little to no experience” in any field, there’s no reason why recruiters wouldn’t be looking for little ol’ you.

Obviously, there’s more to it than putting your feet up, cracking a beer and waiting for your dream job to come a’knockin’, so Katie gave us some hot tips on how to get your head hunted.

And while it’s obviously a lot more involved than just ‘create a LinkedIn profile’, well, that’s still pretty good place to begin…

Create a LinkedIn profile

Launched in May 2003, LinkedIn is not only older than Facebook and even MySpace, but if it were a person, LinkedIn would be almost old enough to legally get a job in most Australian states.

But the more important indicator of its success is that the social recruiting giant claims to have “467 million members in 200 countries and territories, including… 105M+ in Asia and the Pacific”.

So, yeah, get on that! But it’s not enough to just set up a bare-bones proflle.

“LinkedIn is the key social media platform for professionals, so it is imperative your profile is up-to-date, honest, relevant and professional,” Katie says.

“As a recruitment consultant, LinkedIn is a powerful headhunting tool which allows us to drill down to very specific client needs. If a profile lacks content, it only makes it harder for us to come across it, so make sure it’s complete.”

And while it’s tempting to just grab a snap from a Facebook album and upload it as your LinkedIn profile pic, Katie warns that “first impressions really do count”.

“Make sure your photo is professional and the initial content snapshot that is seen is going to have an impact. But be aware you don’t have to be ‘cheesy’ to be impactful.

“Be concise, highlighting relevant experience and notable achievements.”


LinkedIn is a social network – so be social (but the appropriate amount)

Simply setting up a profile and then forgetting about it isn’t going to do you any favours.

“It’s no good having a profile if you’re not even engaged,” Katie says. “Be proactive and follow companies you’re passionate about, connect with relevant people, comment and share appropriately without bombarding your connections’ news feeds.”

And back to that FB photo – you know, the one of you having the best time at a music festival, covered in sweat and mud, with a beer in each hand? Yeah, photos of that sweet gig aren’t going to land you a sweet gig.

“Remember that LinkedIn isn’t the only social media site,” Katie warns.

“Make sure your personal social media profiles such as Facebook are private, or ensure the content is work appropriate.”

Don’t shy away from local job boards

While LinkedIn is the best recognised brand for employment purposes globally, there are plenty of local players who it’s worth being in touch with as well.

Because while you may not be actively seeking work (this time the job’s coming to you, dammit!) you’re a lot more likely to catch a fish if you’ve got a line in the water, and multiple lines will only increase your chances.

if your CV isn’t out there we won’t be able to find it

What’s more, recruitment companies – the companies out there looking for the top talent on behalf of a client – work closely with these job boards and actively search the CVs uploaded to them.

“Page Group is a global brand so we have a wide range of resources available to us. We have a strong relationship with Seek due to our advertising spend, along with various other job boards,” Katie says.

“Our Seek account enables us to tailor searches including keywords within CVs to find suitable candidates for specific roles, as well as to map out our markets.”

The message here?

“Quite simply, if your CV isn’t out there we won’t be able to find it. If your CV isn’t updated, we will no doubt contact you with irrelevant roles which aren’t suitable for your requirements.”

Don’t forget to be a real person

But while digital recruitment is all the rage – Microsoft didn’t drop $26.2 billion buying LinkedIn last year on a whim – getting your face out there is still a must.

“It’s a given that a face-to-face meeting is the epitome of networking as it adds a personal element which makes you more memorable and allows you to connect with that person on a different level,” Katie says.

“By finding common ground with someone you become more credible and (hopefully) likeable!

“The value added by face-to-face networking is huge, so long as it’s positive. So make sure you are professional, prepared and have an objective.”

It’s perhaps this last aspect that people are most likely to drop the ball on. You can do all the homework you want on a person and their company, turn up dressed to the nines, and leave them all blown away by your brilliance and charm, but, as Katie puts it, “it is no good spending that time and energy if you are unable to follow up afterwards”.

a face-to-face meeting is the epitome of networking as it adds a personal element

“Make sure you go equipped with your own business cards and be sure to ask people for theirs if they don’t already offer.”

Furthermore, if you’re going to hit up a networking event, find out who’s going to be there and what value they add to your career (don’t worry, you’re not being a robot – we’ll get to good karma in a minute).

“If you do attend a networking event, ensure it is worth your time and I’d advise using LinkedIn beforehand to have a peek at the attendees so you know who to approach,” Katie says.


Practice good karma

While exercising absolute ruthlessness seems to be the way to get ahead in the rat race, Katie reckons if you see a job that you’d love but maybe aren’t qualified for, helping someone you know to gain the role instead is ultimately beneficial.

“In this industry referrals go a very long way. If it’s a company you’re interested in you never know what other opportunities they may have at present or in future. A strong referral will be remembered and if there’s a suitable vacancy down the line at least you’ve already had contact.

“Additionally, if the person you refer is successful you can encourage them to utilise their connections within the business to assist you with your job search.”

(See, now you don’t feel bad for only networking for people who will help you out – you’ll return the favour!)

Don’t get fired looking for a new job

If you already have a job, looking for different work is a tricky line to walk. There aren’t many industries where people don’t gossip, and who’s been seen with whom can lead to your boss asking you some tricky questions.

So how do you go about getting head hunted without ending up with a pink slip in your next pay packet?

Simple, Katie says, hit up a recruiter!

“We are the experts, we know our markets and our clients. We can maintain strict confidentiality on your behalf to target the organisations you are passionate about working for.

“You might also be surprised by the relationships we have and therefore our ability to influence our clients based on our previous successes with them.”

Joe Frost is a writer, editor, producer, and four-fingered cautionary tale to children. You can catch him each week on Coming Attractions or on Twitter, where he’s tweeted at least twice.