Is Your Headhunter A Winner or Loser? Four Easy Ways To Tell

Credentials, Clothing, Communication and Ethics and Personal Integrity play a vital role in whether your headhunter is a winner or loser.

 Credentials Matter

The credentials that your headhunter holds can be an important indicator of work ethic and technical competence.  An undergraduate degree from a good school is great, but an online MBA may point to some tech savvy in addition to a solid understanding of what your business needs.  As professional networking and job hunting increasingly move to online social media sites like LinkedIn, having a headhunter who can easily navigate the post-industrial electronic landscape to find good talent for your company is important.

Clothing Cues

Though it may seem superficial, the ways in which an individual chooses to represent him or herself in terms of clothing can provide keen insights into his or her self-awareness and personal judgment.  In today’s business climate where less is more, Brooks Brothers is often more appropriate than Armani.  A modestly tailored but hardworking headhunter is going to provide far better results than one with a mediocre work ethic, dressed like an Italian menswear model.  Flash isn’t cool.  You want a workhorse, not a clotheshorse.  If your headhunter is more concerned with his appearance than with providing you consistently qualified candidates on a regular basis, he may not be a good fit for you.  On the other hand, the extent to which a professional, buttoned-down and business-like appearance can point to competence can provide a small but visible indicator that your headhunter may be a keeper.

Communication Style

Your company may have a beautifully worded and well-meaning mission statement and a justified sense of pride in effective internal communication.  Those are necessary and extremely important components of effective, forward-thinking companies, but how effectively are those core values of your company being communicated externally to potential candidates via your headhunter?  The communication style of your headhunter should reflect well on your brand.  If you pride yourself on a unique corporate culture which operates strategically and rationally in a deliberate fashion, you want a headhunter who understands that and conveys it in his communication style.  Headhunters who try to convey a sense of urgency and relevance by speaking too rapidly or who communicate frenetically in a non-verbal manner, do a great dis-service to the brand which your company has carefully and painstakingly created.  A good headhunter should operate well and effectively in an ambassador role, which though not often emphasized, is a significant part of their job.

Ethics and Personal Integrity

A headhunter’s ethics and personal integrity should closely match those of the company(s) for whom they work.  There’s a reason why used car salesmen don’t sell new Bentleys.  The ideal headhunter will be warm and personable with prospects without coming across as a too-slick salesman of your corporate culture.  The ultimate goal is to find qualified candidates who mesh nicely with your unique corporate sensibilities while also adding a necessary and desired element of diversity to prevent blandness and corporate homogeneity.  If your headhunter is not tuned in to that formula, or fails to be sensitive to your company’s needs, you’ll likely end up with candidates who were hard-sold on your company but who don’t meet your specific and unique requirements.  When headhunters over-sell your corporate culture to potential candidates you can end up with poorly matched employees who will continually try to perform in ways that conform to their perception of the corporate norm.  The best scenario is when your headhunter expends the time and energy it takes to actively pursue those candidates whose qualities most closely match the needs of your company.


Image: basketman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a guest post from Lindsey. She writes on behalf of an online mba program. 


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