Superiority of ‘headhunted candidates’ is a myth

There’s a lot written about the superiority of the passive or inactive job seeker and much of it is just nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong: my stock in trade is finding such candidates and I’m a very experienced headhunter, but there is a myth that somehow they are a better bet for recruiters and employers alike.

It is often born of basic prejudice which is that somehow there is potentially something fishy about someone keen to find a new role. Perhaps the feeling is that it might be a sign of difficulties at work with the implicit view that it might be the candidate’s fault. Lack of career prospects perhaps….or not thought good enough to promote? Perhaps the candidate has been made redundant: “we know what that means”. Or even worse: talk of a Compromise Agreement.

Another prejudice is about the method of finding candidates and that headhunting is the only option for some roles. Oft quoted phrases include: “The best candidates are always headhunted ” and “Top talent never looks for a job” and so on.

Here are five reasons why you should look for active job seekers:

  • They are serious about looking and will end up in a new job somewhere, unlike Mr Headhunt who will probably stay put or worse use your offer to get a salary rise from their current employer.
  • They are more flexible: no job is perfect and they recognise that. Handy if your job has ‘challenges’ (and not of the sort every interviewee claims to like).
  • They are more realistic re salary and aren’t insisting on a guaranteed 20% salary hike and sign on bonus just to turn up to the interview
  • They will try and work with your recruitment process, at speed, rather than delaying and insisting on interviews at 08.00 or 18.00, or pulling out because they are asked to prepare a presentation etc.
  • They may be available to start quicker.

While I often fill jobs with candidates I headhunt, on many occasions excellent management consultancy candidates fill great jobs because they see an advertisement or hear of the role through their network and contact me. Clearly if there are very few candidates available then that’s a different matter!

So if you want to find the right candidate for the job by all means expand the pool by tapping passive candidates on the shoulder but don’t ignore the great talent under your nose.

For more information on how Prism Executive Recruitment could help your organisation, visit our recruitment services page or contact Chris Sale (Managing Director) on 01784 898049 or [email protected]

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