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When you get the call, it’s time to step up. Executive headhunters don’t reach out to people on a whim. They’re looking to unpick your professional life and confirm why you’re a good fit for the role they’ve been eyeing you for.

The first conversation with a headhunter will be a thorough one, so it’s important that you handle it in the best way. Some candidates trip on bad habits and assumptions when speaking to a senior recruitment professional – here’s what you should do to make the most of your time with them:

1. Compose yourself thoroughly

Sure, it’s exciting when a headhunter gets in touch. For you, this may be the first time they’ve done so. It can lead to a string of thoughts fighting to take precedence, running over one another as you explain what you’ve done, where your career is currently at, and where you want to be. Composure, however, is a critical element. Recruiters want to hear that you’re sure of yourself, which indicates a mind that’s able to sort the best bits from the rest.

2. Don’t hang up!

Even if the idea scares you a little, don’t cancel the call – simply hear them out. Remember there’s a reason why you’re being contacted, and it might result in an amazing opportunity. Good headhunters won’t baulk at the first sign of resistance, but they won’t appreciate being hung up on either. A five-minute chat can change your life. Spare the time and stay receptive. It’s also worth noting that most good headhunters will understand when an opportunity isn’t right and will withdraw gracefully. It’s a great indicator of their ability to understand the long game, rather than trying to shoe-horn a round peg into a square hole.

3. Ask questions

What if you want to find out more about our credentials, and the role we have you in mind for? We welcome any questions you might throw at us. How do senior leadership roles work within the business you’re being pitched for? How many people will be under your wing? There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained from us to help you make an informed decision about the job. We’ll do our best to clarify any of the points you raise, but sometimes we need to retain an element of confidentiality.

4. Be honest and show humility

While executive recruiters want to see insight and self-assurance, they don’t want to feel as if you’re shrugging off responsibility for any mistakes. Good leaders admit where they went wrong; the trick is to frame it as a learning experience. Somewhere between confidence and humility sits the perfect candidate… It’s alright, too, because recruiters operate on a non-disclosure policy. Trust is a two-way street.

5. There’s no reason to agree with everything we say

Executive headhunters spend a good while researching and circling their targets. We pride ourselves on knowing if you’re the absolute best person for the position at hand. But as we explain the role, what it involves and the logic behind your suitability, don’t nod along for the sake of it. If there’s a chance we’re wrong, tell us. There may be another senior position to fill – either now or in the future – that’s much more attractive or engaging to you.

SPE Resourcing’s clients are some of the biggest names in hospitality, retail, and private equity-backed trading. So, when that call comes through from us, you’ll know it is certainly worth your time… Ready to pick up the phone? Contact us today to further your career with a new senior management role.