Are You Headhunting on LinkedIn? Here Are 6 Mistakes to Avoid

3 key insights from this blog:

  • Who are Headhunters
  • Headhunting on LinkedIn
  • 6 Mistakes and tips to avoid them

When we mention the term “headhunters”, many people first think of the bounty hunters from the movies who need to investigate, locate, and capture the target from the “WANTED” photo. However, we can make a parallel between bounty hunters and headhunters, specialized professionals in human resources, who also have to research, locate, and attract a talented candidate, target with the “WANTED” qualifications for a certain position.

Just as bounty hunters have to research a target before locating it, headhunters have to study the job market, identify the key skills and experience needed for a specific position, and locate talent who is the best for that specific position. LinkedIn platform plays a big role in that process, which greatly facilitates the process of searching for and finding suitable candidates for headhunters. 

Headhunting through LinkedIn allows headhunters to access a large number of professionals and actively search for their professional profiles where they can see all relevant information such as education, work experience, projects, and skills. LinkedIn also provides tools that make finding the right candidate very easy. For example, using Advanced search, headhunters can search for candidates based on certain parameters such as location, work experience, and/or skills.

Headhunters are usually hired to find candidates for higher, more senior positions (most often managerial and IT positions) and these are often candidates who are already employed in other companies and are not looking for a job, the so-called “passive job seekers”. One of the advantages of LinkedIn is that headhunters can also search for competitor companies there, look for people working in those companies, and can connect with them to ask whether they are open to taking a new opportunity or they can refer someone else to them.

Headhunters can also actively participate in LinkedIn professional groups and forums to identify professionals who are active and engaged in their field. 

For the headhunting process to take place as efficiently as possible, it is necessary to pay attention to the following major mistakes of headhunters on LinkedIn and how to avoid them:

1. Insufficient information about the position and the desired candidate can lead to a lack of relevant information, asking the wrong questions, and the wrong choice of candidate. 

  • Make sure that you’ve done a proper screening of the company, position, and desirable candidate before reaching out to the potential candidate.
  • Carry out a history and reference check on potential candidates to ensure the reliability and validity of further assessments.

2. Failure to provide the candidate with clear and precise information about the job and the company reduces the chance that the candidate will even consider the business offer.

  • Avoid general and abstract terms like “competitive salary”, “stimulating work environment”, or “attractive benefits”.
  • Give the candidates precise information about the requirements of the job, responsibilities, culture, and values of the organization, how their overall performance will be measured, what benefits the company offers, and the way they could make progress within the employer.
  • Be available for all candidate questions and concerns.

3. Sending template messages – a non-personalized approach gives the impression that the headhunter has not made enough effort to approach the candidate or that the candidate is just “one in a row”.

  • Personalize your message by using the candidate’s first name.
  •  Complement candidate skills or accomplishments (e.g., “I came across your LinkedIn profile and find your background to be amazing.”).
  • Include a question to encourage their response.

4. An unprofessional approach to the candidate such as inappropriate messages, lack of respect, not taking “No” for an answer, or inadequate handling of information can initially reject the candidate.

  • Be polite in your messages and show interest in the candidate.
  • Provide the candidate with all relevant information in a useful and engaging way, be available for his questions, and help him decide.
  • Respect his final decision.

5. Focusing on culture fit instead of culture add – these criteria can unfairly exclude quality experts and damage the company’s creativity and innovation.

  • Employ experts whose core values correspond to the company’s values, but who can also, with their unique skills and values, give a new perspective to the company and help its development.

6. Rejection of “overqualified candidates” – automatic rejection of candidates who are overqualified according to some criteria is not objective and fair.

  • Highlight all the benefits of the company to the candidate, perhaps one of them may be fundamental to the candidate’s decision to change current jobs even if it seems like they’re content (e.g., maybe they earn well but aren’t satisfied with the culture and climate in the current company or don’t have the possibility of remote work).

Headhunting on LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can help us find talents and form successful teams. However, to use the full potential of this process, it is important to avoid common mistakes. Company and candidate screening, giving candidates precise information, personalizing and polite messages, and focusing on “culture add” are key tips for success.

It is important to know that mistakes are an integral part of the process, and every mistake is an opportunity to learn and improve. Let’s take them as steps toward realizing our full potential!

Author: Marija Malenčić

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