Head hunting is all about making good matches between organisations and top talent in a seamless and efficient way. Over the years it has evolved into a thriving profession.

A career in head hunting is supposed to be very exciting as it involves connecting with people (meeting prospective clients and candidates) as well as connecting people i.e. finding a match between organisations and talented people.

If you have a flair for networking and possess negotiation skills, then head hunting might be a good career option for you. Here are some valuable inputs from our HR experts on what it takes to become a head hunter.

Head hunters specialise at tracking down the best talent for their clients. Evidently, to be a head hunter you must have a fairly good understanding about the industry and the client’s business. And you must also have knowledge regarding the skill requirements for various job openings. But that is not all. According to experts there are some important traits that you must possess to become a good head hunter.

In head hunting your ability to explain the value proposition to both the parties plays a crucial role. Clients usually listen when you talk to them in terms of results. So your focus should always be on convincing the client about the difference the candidate can make to the organisation’s bottom line through his/ her unique skill sets, experience and expertise.

Similarly, while trying to convince the candidate about joining the client’s organisation, linking the advantages to his/her passions and aspirations can be very effective. Therefore, Naveen Narayanan, Global Head – Talent Acquisition, HCL Technologies, insists that good market research skills, ability to influence the individual to come to the table for a conversation and demonstrating the value proposition are some of the essential traits that a head hunter must have. According to him, the best head hunters don’t sell.

At times when deals do not materialise head hunting can become very stressful. Mr Uday Sodhi, CEO, HeadHonchos.com, says, “These specialised recruiters need to possess a high EQ. In a people business, there are plenty of challenges, highs and lows and the ‘head hunter’ has to display maturity in managing relationships and establishing trust while maintaining complete confidentiality and discretion. What also works is a ‘Best Interest Approach’, where the recruiter needs to always keep the best interests of the candidate in mind. This gives candidates the confidence to move ahead. Finally the skill to read between lines, and understand the talent, the job, and the organisation is extremely critical to ensure that a candidate makes not just a job change but also a wise career decision.”

In head hunting you must work really hard to build relationships based on reputation and trust to survive in the long run. So, never be in a hurry to close deals. Instead, always focus on the best interests of both clients and candidates; this will fetch you their respect and trust.

N.Purnima Srikrishna