How to get Headhunted

How to get Headhunted

How to get Headhunted

The telephone rings – the person at the other end of the phone says their name and asks you if it is convenient to talk. He/she gives you their name and proceeds to describe to you the job of your dreams and asks if you might be interested. Congratulations – you have just been headhunted!

In actual fact, many top jobs such as Partner, General Counsel, Company Secretary and other senior legal positions are often filled by ‘headhunting’ or executive search. This is where a highly specialised consultant works directly with the client to find and attract the best talent for a specific position. This will be based on in-depth knowledge of the cultural fit, team balance, diversity and life cycle of the business.

This information we’ve outlined below examines what you, as a candidate, can do to attract the interest of headhunters and let your dream job find you.

If you are serious about your career, then this is one resource you should not overlook.

Realistically, not everyone will be headhunted. If you are a junior lawyer or you are a mediocre performer then don’t expect too many calls. Similarly, those who keep to themselves, have few outside contacts and don’t get involved in networking are unlikely to receive a headhunt call. It is generally only the visible lawyers who get noticed and talked about.

Firstly, to get noticed and talked about, you need to be highly competent at what you do and you will need to have developed a reputation for technical excellence. By putting in the hard work, by working closely with someone you can learn from and by showing initiative, being a leader and accepting responsibility, you are half way there to being headhunted.

Once you have developed a reputation as a highly competent and “can do” lawyer, you will need to be “visible”. Visibility extends not only to your colleagues, superiors and clients but also to your peers, the profession generally and the public. One of the effective ways to increase and maintain visibility is to actively construct your legal network. Build and maintain a list of contacts and make an effort to keep in touch with them as often as possible. These contacts may be within your current work environment such as your colleagues and clients but they are more likely to be external contacts such as speakers at seminars, organisers and members of professional associations, authors of publications and other professionals and peers you come into contact with. The relationships you build with these contacts could be a powerful career resource.

Once you have constructed your legal network, you will need to work on raising your profile and reputation. For those of you who enjoy public speaking, encourage and accept engagements wherever possible. This is a very powerful marketing tool so make sure you do it right. If you feel uncomfortable or inexperienced, professional training is a must.

For those of us who prefer to profile ourselves behind the scenes writing is an excellent way to enhance visibility and make you stand out as the expert in a particular area. Depending on where you get your writing published, it can reach a significantly wider audience than speaking.

Joining a professional organisation and/or committee presents you with opportunities to ensure you are visible but also to develop business and valuable contacts. Once you are involved in regular activities you can demonstrate your professional skills and show case your legal expertise. Lawyers who are willing to devote time and energy to various organisations stand out from the crowd and are in high demand. Pick and choose your associations carefully as they can be very time consuming.

Ensure your summary lists some of your greatest achievements. You can use bullets to make this easy to read if you wish. It should be a concise summary of what you do and what you can offer to potential employers/recruiters/networkers/Boards.

Work on deals or provide information which attracts media attention. Once you have the attention of the media, it is essential to know how to talk to them and respond to their questions and requests. By developing key media contacts, they will, in turn, provide you with significant professional exposure and get you noticed.

In addition to your technical competence and visibility, there are a few important attributes which you will need to possess in order to get the attention you deserve. Your interpersonal skills will be, in our opinion, a key factor in your success not only to get headhunted but more importantly in developing long standing and valuable relationships. How well you interact with others, how approachable and accessible you are, whether you readily help out others and how well liked and respected you are by colleagues, peers and superiors will make a vast difference as to how dynamic a force you will be in the legal job scene.

Ensure that you have a Linkedin Profile and that it is complete, correct and displays your experience and achievements.

Finally, you will need a high degree of intelligence and a common sense approach, motivation and enthusiasm for all you do and last, but certainly not least, ambition.  Investing time and energy into being visible, developing your relationships, building your networks and ensuring you are well liked and respected will assist you to go a long way in getting noticed and achieving your dream job.