Speaking up for the maligned headhunter

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He asks: 'Which profession ranks lower on the social pecking order than an estate agent, an income tax inspector or a door-to-door life insurance salesman?'

The title of his piece made this a rhetorical question, but still it was wonderfully delivered and supported by: 'This is the only profession where intelligence or intellectual flair is actually a direct hindrance.'

'Ah! Rumbled!' I thought. This means that 100% of the consultants within our headhunting company have fictitiously labelled themselves graduates.

A further 50% have apparently compounded this deceit by claiming fluency in a second language and as for the 25% declaring ownership of a postgraduate qualification, we salute you!

'Blatant toadying'? It's hard to think of any career that has not prospered from some form of sycophantic behaviour, but one of the cornerstones of being a successful headhunter is the ability to initiate and subsequently manage personal relationships.

These relations are invariably at multiple levels, with a diversity of people, where you must become a confidant to all parties.

'Blatant toadying' no, relationship building yes.

For those who have not used an executive search consultant, 'value-added service' is a statement often used by our clients. However, it also needs to be acknowledged that in any industry there is good and bad.

From my experience it is quite difficult to make your clients use you, for you must demonstrate that you can add value and are worth the fees you charge. Repeat business is a clear demonstration of this confidence.

Yes, things are looking bleak, but a Siberian winter can be, to a certain extent, avoided by a collective and positive approach.

Negativity is an evil the positive abhors. Yes, business is down, but global investment banks will always have a need to source talented individuals, and such individuals can be more sought-after in a difficult market than in a bull market.

At this point, who does the client engage to find the right candidate? Step in, the headhunter.

Yes, the winter is coming, but each winter is followed by a spring. It is a different, not difficult market.

Therefore, for the freelance writer, like the headhunter, the outlook must also be as bleak as a Siberian winter.

So when you next see your friendly freelance writer, invite him or her to lunch and be sure to tell them that we value the contribution made by the majority of their clan.

Incidentally, I have no dog called 'Riley' and indeed have not met a single headhunter that does. As a further point of detail the correct spelling is actually Raleigh, as the expression originates from when Sir Walter was imprisoned in the Tower.

He was imprisoned in such luxury that his confinement stirred a degree of jealousy and therefore a common refrain was: 'You're living the life of Raleigh.'

Pedantic, but if you put pen to paper and it is your career, must you not ensure that your written word is correct?

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