Meeting with a headhunter can be a nerve-wracking occasion. Not only can a headhunter put you in touch with a potential employer, they could be a key to you getting your dream job. And even though your recruiter will be on your side: if they help you land the job, they get paid! – you should treat every contact with a headhunter – check out a headhunter agency here for more details – as if it is a formal job interview. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your first call with a headhunter, whether it is online as a video call, over the phone or an in-person meeting.
Dress for the Occasion
Yes, this also applies if you are having a traditional phone interview and the headhunter has no way of seeing or being influenced by your outfit. Wearing a professional suit or business smart clothing will help you to get into the right mindset for offering appropriate responses and coming up with potential solutions when you are asked case-study questions. Being dressed down can take an edge off your confidence and this can be enough to switch a headhunter’s thoughts to different candidate.
Understand What You Want
As well as looking as though you deserve the job, you should clearly show that you understand the demands of the job in question. You should be able to clearly make links from your skillset (which is, of course, clearly detailed on your CV) to the essential and desirable skills in the job description.
If you are contacting the headhunter in order to shift your career focus to a new area, without knowing of any active openings, you should understand what you want from your career. You should have a clear idea of what an entry level job into your new industry is, as well as how your previous experience will work in your favour, and also have a good understanding of the difference between the basic salary you need to earn to get by and how much you would like to be earning – and if this is at all feasible!
Think of some questions to ask, especially if you are applying for a specific job listing. And not the type of question you could answer by googling it! Instead, do some research and then think up your questions. Such as: ‘I read that Maxim Bigshot set up the company in 1915. Did the First World War have an impact on the company’s early days?’ This shows your interest in the company, as well as letting the recruiter know that you can apply historical or political impact to everyday life.
Think of Answers
As well as coming up with a few unique and clever questions, anticipate the headhunter by thinking up answers to some questions that you are likely to be asked. Questions of this sort include:
- Tell me about one time you took control of a situation?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What would you do in [a certain described] situation?
While you can’t anticipate every question – especially those when you are only given the details on the spur of the moment – having some pre-prepared answers will allow you to answer some questions fluently and gives you leeway to ask for breathing space while you think up an appropriate answer, such as:
What an interesting question – may I take a moment to consider every aspect before I reply?’
The most important thing is to be yourself, do your research and try and relax into the phone interview. This is how you stand the best chance of impressing a headhunter!