Most articles about working with financial services headhunters talk about how to get the most out of your conversations and relationships, but what about if we were to turn that around? - What if you wanted to make sure that a particular recruiter never contacts you again? - Or, simply to ensure that you're not in the subset of candidates that recruiters and headhunters decide they simply can't be bothered with.
There are some actions that will ensure you fall into this category. Depending on where you stand with a particular recruiter, you may want to embrace or avoid them.
Before we start, you need to understand that what recruiters dislike most of all is being made to appear inept or disorganized. The very worst thing is for them to appear unprofessional liars in the eyes of their clients. Anything you do to precipitate this will get you blacklisted.
Things to avoid include:
- Repeatedly reorganizing an already scheduled interview with a senior client and/or not showing up altogether.
- Showing little to no interest in the role at interview – claiming that you were almost forced into attending against your better judgment.
- Saying a completely different thing at the actual interview to what you said to the recruiter/headhunter in your initial call or meeting – rendering their candidate profile or summary notes completely inaccurate.
- Telling lies or give false information on the CV that may get picked up later in the process – for instance during background checks. When false information is picked up late in the process, it can easily result in an offer being retracted, the headhunter losing their fee, and some serious egg on face all around.
- Complaining about the headhunter to the client/employer in any shape or form.
Even if you avoid these major failings, you can still turn headhunters off by playing ‘hard to get’ to the extreme and being rude, abrasive and arrogant! Conversely, you could bombard the headhunter with unsolicited calls, emails, and messages that verge on stalking.
There's also the well known tactic of deciding to work with multiple recruiters at the same time and attempting to play one off against another, or even against the client – i.e. you lean into whichever type of introduction you think suits your purposes the most whilst trying to cut a recruiter out of the process when they have clearly and legitimately made the introduction on your behalf.
If none of the strategies above are to your liking, there's always the nuclear option. This is to convince everyone that you are totally sold on the opportunity and the company, go through the whole process, smile sweetly when your package is finally signed off and communicated by the relevant executive – and then go AWOL for 5 days before breaking cover to say you have accepted a generous counter-offer. Job done!
Of course, I wouldn’t advocate actually following this advice, as not only will the above damage your personal brand. Whatever your views on Recruiters, you never know when you might need one (or more). ‘It’s a small world’ as they say after all.
Dan Whitehead is founder of City Career LAB (a career coaching company) and a 20+ year veteran of recruitment and corporate Talent Acquisition in Financial Services.
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