After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Chance Phone Call

Over the past several weeks, I have initiated nearly 400 phone calls related to various searches I am conducting.  This is the reaching-out phase of any search, when a recruiter spreads his net far and wide (by phone) in hopes of attracting the very best talent for his client.

Identifying and contacting potential candidates who are neither expecting nor seeking my call is what a recruiter does, so I expect to make friends with a lot of voice mail recordings.  When I actually get to speak to a person, the responses run the gamut from “No- thanks-click” to “What’s the next step, Bob?”

Perhaps one of the most satisfying parts of my job is finding a talented individual whose abilities are being under-utilized or wrongly utilized in his/her current position, but who doesn’t know exactly what the next career step should be.  Often, my phone call launches a whole process of “possibility-thinking” in which some thoughtful analysis occurs and some dreams begin to take shape. 

It is my opinion that chance, an open mind, and sometimes an unsolicited phone call from a really helpful headhunter - can move and shake a career in ways beyond what an individual might envision.  If nothing else, it is a great opportunity for a professional to evaluate his/her current job. 

A good recruiter will have a reasonable idea of your current employment situation.  The recruiter should be able to tell you the industry and many of the details concerning the role about which he/she is calling.  Listen carefully.  If the position being described compares well with your current job or is in area that interests you, take time to ask a few questions and obtain further information.  Where is the job?  What is the pay range?  These two questions are like free throws in basketball; take them.  Whether you go further in the conversation is up to you, but you now have valuable input as to your relative worth in the job market and a career avenue that might be available to you.

I advise both my daughters who are gainfully employed to always listen to a recruiter’s message.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to pay attention to opportunities that may present themselves once-in-a-career.

Last week I also did some air travel, following up with some of the candidates I met via phone during the previous weeks.  The interview-and-select phase has begun – but only for the candidates who took a chance and accepted my call.

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