Thursday, June 28, 2007


Going for an interview?

Interviews are not just interviews these days as oppossed to maybe 5-6 years ago. The best avenue for information and market intelligence is in an interview. The best place to know more about your competitors and other companies is, the interview. It is who is participating in which tender or who is handling which project. It is basically to learn more about the market and also to value YOURSELF. I urge all to go for interviews once in a while, not that ure looking for a job but to check out what the market is like.

I currently represent an MNC Office Automation company and it is very very suprising that their competitors knows somuch about my client. Their knowledge encompasses about the quota, the product range and their customers and their sales people, who is good and who is not. It is like; if you work at Digi your knowledge about Maxis might be greater than those who work at Maxis itself. That is wht a candidate has told me before. She was schoked of the level of information which Digi had on Maxis, things she did not know about.

Well, in an interview you not only learn about the job, but also the people who is involved in a project. It is a question and answer game. Ask the right questions and you will get the right answers. Normally Q&A's stays in the four walls but sometimes words get around.

Anyway, i once had a candidate tell me not to position him for one of my clients because of this;

'Hope I'm not too late, can we skip (CLIENT NAME) so we do not waste your and your teams efforts. (CURRENT COMANY NAME) had previous dealing with them, and not in favourable terms, so they may make us go round and round or set an interview just to squeeze some info out of me'.

Well sometimes interviews can get sour and too emotional.

Anyway, before going into an interview, one of the important elements to remember is, asking questions. Kill your curiosity and do not be shy to answer questions, honesty is usually appreciated :).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How does a candidate screw up an opportunity?

Remember that headhunters provide opportunities rather than jobs, we are agents in stepping you up in your career and providing you a good opportunity. When you see a headhunter or have been identified by one, obviously you are good at what you do and keen to explore some opportunities.

Here is a classic case of what happens when candidates get too demanding and greedy:

  • Deal goes sour – candidate becomes too greedy and demanding.

  • Candidates may want to take things in their own hands after the initial introduction and screws up their application by being too demanding and greedy.

There was one case where I was left out in the dark. The whole process took about one month. The offer letter was given and I had negotiated for a good salary package (which is slightly higher than expected) but the candidate got rejected why? Too greedy and demanding! After the negotiation and offer letter was sent out, the candidate decides to take things in their own hands.

This one took over a month and it did not end pleasantly. As a candidate, a professional or a athlete, you need to know that there is always someone out there who is better, less greedy and demanding than you are. You are always REPLACEABLE. Even if you have questions it is sometimes best that you liaise with your consultant because obviously your consultant knows market intelligence and company knowledge. Regardless of whether you have went through a headhunter or an online or a newspaper application, a CEO or a Hiring Manager does not want to be bombarded with a lot of questions, few different times.

Candidate was happy with the package but blatantly wanted to know more about the job demanded more information on allowances and so forth and approached my client blatantly. Candidate took advantage by calling the hiring managers on Sundays, blamed the company for being slow ‘when emails went in to her Spam mail’ and setting her expectations too high.

Typical recruitment sales cycle can take anything from 2 weeks to 2 months. You have to bear in mind that it takes a lot of time and energy in not only making the search but the need of taking care of the candidate and the client. Sometimes I believe selling cars might be easier dealing with people, cars simply do not talk.

If you like an opportunity take a weekend to think about it not a month. It also reflects badly on you given the fact that you take too long and you are just too overly concerned about intangible issues.

Go for an interview ready with your ammunition of questions. In Malaysia, company perks and benefits are rather similar across the board. Asking questions is always good, in this case being too demanding and asking too many questions did not really leave a good impression on the candidate hence no WIN-WIN situation here.

Candidate has a bad impression and the image of the headhunter has been slightly dented.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Promises = Frustrations

I believe headhunters that make promises out there are throwing themselves in a hot pool of water. Don't they understand that they are dealing with peoples careers? It is very frustrating hearing stories of my clients telling me about their previous experiences and it is hard to gain back the trust of the candidate and sometimes the customer. I guess that is the nature of the job.

I have had some unsatisfied clients and candidates who often tell me that, so and so headhunter promised me results but were unable to deliver. 'A headhunter promised to get back to me but did not'. Worst, they do not return calls and even pick up. It makes me look and feel bad as a person and as a profession it is just unprofessional.

Another usual frustration is, CV's have also been circulated. I believe as a part of this business the P&C issue has to be with dealt with ultimate discretion. As a result of that, candidates get random calls from random agencies and sometimes unrelevant issues. Well, some people like it and some do not. I personally will not like it if my resume be passed around.

I mean, what is happening? Things like these frustrate me. Here we are trying to add-value to peoples lives and here are some of my other competitors promising undeliverable results and are creating a bad name for us, don't they often feel it themselves?

Headhunting is all about adding-value and enabling the right candidate to the right job fit. It is also about how well judge the persons strengths and skills and match it with the job and most importantly the company. This is why face to face meets is highly important. Phone calls and phone interviews do not work. In developing intimacy with your clients, meeting them is an essential element in developing a good fostered relationship.

I guess somewhere along the line, some of these elements have been abused.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why work or approach a headhunter?

It depends. You currently could have two years of working experience or maybe five years of working experience. You might have switched companies about two times now. You are wanting to know what is the current market rate of your specialization or skills. Well it all depends.
Why work with a headhunter?

When i tell people that i am a headhunter, the usual response is, ‘oh please find me a suitable job’ or ‘can you get me a new job’? I get that all the time. What the mass does not know is, a lot of headhunters are now specialized and that they work for the disposition of companies. At times the candidate but a lot of times the company. Depends on scenario and the level of the executive.

Well I do not blame them. This is the stereotype of a headhunter, ‘can u please find me a job?’ – Let me take you on a short insight.

Well maybe 30% of ‘can you fine me a job? effect’ might be true, but a lot of times people associate themselves with headhunters because of these few reasons:

Better Opportunity.
Getting a current market rate of their own specialization.
Getting an insight on their current work or career.
Exploring new opportunities.
Seeking new employment/opportunity.
Unhappy with their current employment.
Sometimes they just want more money.

Headhunters are always looking out for the best fit for their clients. Sometimes they refer to the company as the customer and the candidate as the client or vice-versa. You could receive a call from your consultant at anytime if an opportunity arises, that is if you have already developed the relationship with the headhunter. The headhunter now, after spending time with you knows your aspirations, your wants, your Skills and Strengths, your technical knowledge and is able to position you for roles when the opportunity arises hence although you are not looking for a job, you are in the headspace of a headhunter. He knows that you are THERE.

Why work/associate yourself with a headhunter?
When you see a headhunter today, you are not necessarily looking for a job. Quality and competent candidates are not usually looking for a job. A headhunter might have the right opportunity for you possibly in a month, six months or even a year hence when you see a headhunter, you are seeking a service like a very much like a consultation. We take on part advisers and counsellors. Whether or not the headhunter might have the right opportunity for you at that particular moment; cheers and good luck to you!

A lot of times when the right opportunity arises the headhunter will make contact with you thus your one hour spent with the headhunter six months ago has paid-off. The headhunter has identified your ideal opportunity and you are happy with the proposed package – the headhunter has done his/her job and the relationship has been strengthened. The headhunter is now your agent throughout your career from today and you have trust in the headhunter.

When you see a headhunter, be sure to know what you want, what you seek and also keep an open mind. You are sometimes are good at an area which you are blind too. A good headhunter who works with you might be able to pin-point certain strengths which you are blinded to. More often that is always the case. The headhunter usually thinks of the macro picture rather than the micro picture. Suppose today you are in IT and you have good skills and technical knowledge serving customers who are in the Financial Services Industries and tomorrow you could be a Lead IT Consultant within a bank with the help of a headhunter. He has identified an area and knows of a position which is well suited and tailored to your expertise. Two to three years down the road, you will work with the same headhunter and you would possibly be a Senior Executive/Manager in a company which deals with Financial Solutions. Once again the headhunter has customized you to a good job, an agent in your career change.

Keep an open mind. Be mindful about the headhunter you choose to see. The headhunter should be in the same vertical industry that you are in. It could be Financial Services, IT, Manufacturing or even Construction. Most headhunters now are industry-centric specialized.

Keep it open.

You are your worth and value, the headhunter is able to help you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Introduction - 11.6.2007

This blog is not at anytime pin pointed at anyone or any company. It is merely a ranting and raving diary of a headhunter who resides in Malaysia.

Though the industry has been exploited by a variant of headhunters, i am here to list and to voice out my current views on my job and what comes along with it.

Just a little background...I am a headhunter. I specialized in Information Technology. My designation is a Search Consultant. While i work at a companies disposition, i value client intimacy and i treat my clients/candidates with utmost respect, honesty and dedication.

What is a headhunter? A headhunter is an Executive Search Consultant:-

" Headhunters vary from Executive Search Agents/Professionals who typically have a wide range of personal contacts within the area in question, a detailed specific knowledge of said area, and typically operate at the most senior level. Executive Search professionals are also involved throughout more of the hiring process, conducting detailed reports and interviews as well as only presenting candidates to clients where they feel the candidate in question will fit into the employment culture of the client. Executive Search Agencies typically have long-lasting relationships with clients spanning many years, and in such cases the suitability of candidates is paramount. It is also important that such agencies operate with a high level of professionalism, and thus usually cold calling or other techniques often associated with recruitment are shunned.Executive Search agencies often also provide clients with (legal) inside rumours gleaned from contacts within their clients' competitors." (wikipediaorg)

While this is not my own introduction, this is where i start to formulate my views and opinions on my life as a headhunter......