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What to do if you've been headhunted

By Emilly Parris

With all the stress that comes with job hunting, receiving a job offer right off the bat can come as a great relief. But now that you’re being scouted (and not the other way around) what do you do?

There are many dos and don’ts when it comes to evaluating a job offer from a headhunter and deciding whether it’s worth pursuing.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this tricky situation. 

5 tips to keep in mind when being headhunted

  1. Question the legitimacy of the job offer. 
  2. Stay professional.
  3. Consider if the offer is what you truly want.
  4. Do your research.
  5. Take your time. 

1. Question the legitimacy of the job offer. 

Receiving a job offer out of the blue can make you feel pretty special, but it’s a good idea to proceed with caution and check if the offer is genuine first. Sometimes recruiters and agencies will reach out to their extended network and send mass emails in the hopes of scoring candidates to add to their database. 

True headhunters are typically those on the board of directors or higher up HR executives. A quick Google search can confirm whether their profile and contact information is legitimate, and you can decide how to proceed from there.

2. Stay professional.

man talking on the phone

Headhunters will often contact you during office hours, which can be uncomfortable to say the least. Even if you are interested, taking these calls while you’re at work is not recommended. Instead, politely tell the person on the other line to call you back later and provide them with your personal phone number. If your boss or a nosey colleague is within earshot, it’s best to move the conversation outside.

But the more likely scenario these days is that you will be contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager via LinkedIn or email. It can be tempting to reply straight away and ask for more information, but it’s better to wait until you’re not at work to have that conversation.

Similarly, be careful about sharing that you are being headhunted with your co-workers, as this news can travel, creating tension in the workplace.

3. Consider if the offer is what you truly want.

It is certainly flattering to be seemingly hand-picked for a role that seems perfect for you, but don’t let it get to your head. Recruiters know all the tricks when it comes to headhunting and let’s not forget—they have something to gain from this too.

While the offer may look shiny on the surface, there are many factors to consider before changing jobs, including whether it’s the path you want to take in your career. Whether you’re looking for career growth, greater job security or a better work/life balance—take these things into consideration before making a decision.

4. Do your research.

older woman doing research on laptop

Don’t let one conversation with a keen recruiter be the ultimate deciding factor. It’s important to do your own research, even before you reach out and ask questions. Find out about the role and the company, who works there, what the industry is like, any training opportunities and whether it seems like a good fit for your current skills. 

The recruiter headhunting you may not necessarily know everything there is to know about the role and whether you have the right skills— so it’s up to you to make that call.

Some questions to consider include:
  • How does it compare to your current job?
  • What salary and benefits will you receive?
  • Is there a robust training and development program?
  • Are there flexible working arrangements, such as the option to work remotely?
  • What are the working conditions like?
  • What is the company culture and reputation like?

5. Take your time.

More aggressive headhunters may try to put a time limit on their offer, which is an effective way to get an answer faster. Do not be intimidated or rushed into giving an answer—if an employer really wants you on their team, they can work with you and come to an arrangement that works for both of you.
Need a leg up on the job hunt?

Getting headhunted can be a great opportunity to grow in your career but having the right skills can make the transition smoother. 

Upskilled currently offers a wide variety of online courses in some of Australia’s top industries to help you build the skills for success. Enquire online today or give us a call anytime to explore your options.
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