Why headhunters don’t answer your emails or calls

Personally, I absolutely hated headhunters.

Once upon a time is the phrase which begins fairy tales and fabulous stories set in some unspecified moment in the past. Except for the story, you are about to read. There is nothing fairy or fabulous about this real-life experience of mine.

My story starts like this: Once upon a time when I was a candidate myself.

  • I did not use a CV of many pages. I had the obligatory two-page document without my photo.
  • Of course, I had not typed RESUME on the top of page one, as I knew recruiters are intelligent people who know a resume when they see one.
  • My hobbies were not included because they were irrelevant to the job I wanted.
  • I did not state the reasons for leaving each job that I had chosen to list in the resume.
  • I had not included details of my compensation or what I expected to get in my next job.
  • I didn’t list several names of references because I knew the space was better utilised for listing more of my accomplishments.

I had the Career Summary and Value Proposition as my first paragraph just below the header with my name and contact details.

I used traditional fonts like Verdana and Calibri. There were no text boxes and other fancy features that would jeopardise the beautiful look of my Word document when printed out on someone else’s computer.

So dear reader, as you can see, my resume was a masterpiece. I was ready to roll it out and impress the headhunters. I should have known better, but I didn’t at the time.

Books to read if you are job hunting

To really get into the groove of job hunting I read several great books on the subject. You can still buy What Color Is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. Or the smaller book Don’t Send a CV by Jeffrey J. Fox.

And if you have just lost your job, go to your favourite book store and buy Mars And Venus Starting Over; it’s by John Gray.

I do apologise if I am just stating the obvious, but trust me, most people have no clue about how executive search firms work. And why should they? You can imagine the surprise and increased frustration that grew inside me when I realised that headhunters didn’t want to talk to me when I called, they didn’t return calls when I left messages with an assistant or on voice mail, nobody bothered to answer emails either.

What was going on? I never understood what was going on until I moved to this side of the table. My current table as a headhunter that is and a job I have done for now 16 years in Thailand.

Don’t call us, we’ll call you

It was back then that I made a promise to myself. I wanted to be a headhunter, I wanted to be different in my approach, I wanted to tell people why there is a lot “don’t call us, we’ll call you” in the recruitment industry. Here’s the thing. You need to accept the fact, that headhunters are retained by clients and not candidates. In other words, it’s the clients who pay their fees. Not you.

Any minute the headhunter spends talking to people who are no way near a client’s requirement will just delay the completion of the search assignment. It steals valuable time away from the client’s project and as a business person yourself, you will appreciate that billing fees are a part of the cycle that makes the business successful. We need to keep the eye on the ball.

A delay in the process to fill an important position could also easily spill over to the client-side and have serious impact on their business, whether being the introduction of new projects, and organisational restructuring, a classy sales campaign to kick start a dull period, a greenfield getting off the ground, or whatever it may be.

Low hanging fruits in recruitment

Headhunters are typically under a lot of time pressure. But don’t worry; we thrive with that positive stress. We know that all assignments by definition are difficult-to-find positions. It is the main reason and purpose of our industry. If all fruits were hanging low and you all had great skills in assessing the well thought out dance of candidates… well, you get the picture.

So executive search firms will in general only engage in meetings with candidates if there appears to be a good match between their client’s requirements and the particular candidate profile. Assessments of qualifications take the form of a structured behaviour based interview, the use of a unique designed questionnaire that links to the needed technical skills and performance competencies. Only this way can the headhunter and a candidate have a meaningful meeting that will be helpful to both parties.

Oh well, it’s out of the bag now and the secrets revealed. This can no longer be a fairy tale.

Too many employers treat candidates like dirt

Bad hiring practises ruin your company’s image and brand. Full stop! Why do top executives let this happen? Why does this improper behaviour by hiring organizations and managers continue to be a subject in my articles?

Dear Managing Director, Dear Marketing Vice President, Dear Board of Directors,

You should really be protesting vigorously about these destructive manners, because they are causing great damages to your company’s reputation. Continue reading “Too many employers treat candidates like dirt”

Should I ever trust my gut feeling when interviewing candidates?

The short answer is no and never! Using your gut is similar to scratching the surface of something; to examine and discover only the superficial aspects of something or in this case a candidate. You would be better off flipping a coin; at least you have 50% chance of getting it right.

We call it the Four A Syndrome, because when you trust your gut, you are assessing a candidate’s presentation skills over business performance and substance. The four A’s are: Continue reading “Should I ever trust my gut feeling when interviewing candidates?”

Top 6 articles I’ve published in 10 years of blogging

Can you remember what you were doing in July 2009 – 10 years ago? For sure, we were not yet talking about AI, IoT, SEO, Uber, Instagram, iPad and it was still very early days for Airbnb, Spotify, GPS on mobile, and even LinkedIn.

But it was in July 2009 that I created my web site and published my first ever story. Read it here. Continue reading “Top 6 articles I’ve published in 10 years of blogging”

AI data on availability of executive talent, global mobility, time to recruit, and remuneration

It is becoming harder to find quality talent, which is continuing to result in a more competitive marketplace and increased salaries in many industries; particularly those with niche skill sets such as technology.

The survey aims to understand the outlook around demand and availability of executive talent, global mobility, time to recruit, remuneration and a breakdown of growth potential by sector. Continue reading “AI data on availability of executive talent, global mobility, time to recruit, and remuneration”

Are You Still in the Dark How to Lead Your Organization in a Digital World?

Boyden surveys conclude that whilst many leaders feel equipped to deal with the challenges presented by this new dawn, many are still in the dark.

Leaders know they should be doing something, but they are not always aware of what it is they should be doing. Is that you? Continue reading “Are You Still in the Dark How to Lead Your Organization in a Digital World?”

Recruitment fraud is a serious problem for anyone hiring staff

Have you ever been cheated, exploited, manipulated and jerked around by a candidate or applicant who wanted a job in your organization? You may have, but perhaps you don’t know?

I have two times – well, at least that’s those I know of. Once with a candidate I had shortlisted for my client. And once when I hired for my own team.

Read in this article how I got cheated by a conman, who I unfortunately hired before I later realized what had happened. And then there was the shortlisted candidate for my client who pretended to be the reference person for herself. You would love this – and learn. Continue reading “Recruitment fraud is a serious problem for anyone hiring staff”

6 reasons why you should hire job hoppers. Seriously!

You can of course ignore or hide from the obvious signs that the world out there is changing, that the staff you hire have other values than we have ever seen before. You can continue to hide your head in the sand (which we jokingly call The Ostrich Syndrome).

Let me ask you this Mr Hiring Manager: are you prepared to commit and guarantee that your company will employ a person up to his or her age of 67? Thought so! Why should this individual then commit to staying with you their whole career? Continue reading “6 reasons why you should hire job hoppers. Seriously!”

What my friends think I do – what do you think?

Happy New Year to all Best Practice Executive Recruitment followers and readers. 

2018 was a record year for Boyden Thailand, in search assignments and income. Some believe the best ever in our history. But hey, we have been in Thailand for 35 years, that’s a lot of history and numbers to remember. Continue reading “What my friends think I do – what do you think?”

Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing

As the days go by, no one returns your calls, when no one cares to reply to your emails; once again you curse the idiot of a boss who let you go from your most recent job. The guy who told you the company could do without you.  Aaarrgghhh.

As you climb the ladder in the organization, as you move up the pyramid towards the top, as you get bigger responsibilities and tougher challenges, as you also consequently enjoy a bigger pay cheque, so will the risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time suddenly become very real. Continue reading “Sometimes we recruiters forget that looking for a job is the hardest thing”

3 things most HR Managers still don’t get

You will be surprised when you read this. Something so simple as knowing the Thai Labour law inside out. You would expect that from HR, right?

But here’s the sad news, the unexpected truth of the matter. During the last 15 years of interviewing HR managers, I have personally experienced that 80% of the candidates could not answer three basic labour law questions correctly. Continue reading “3 things most HR Managers still don’t get”

Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers

Did you ever think to yourself… “Been in my industry what seems a life time, too many years in my current position, I’ve been there, I’ve done that?”

Or have you suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself between jobs? Perhaps fired, cut from the payroll but still a family to take care of? Or at best, you called it quits yourself?

Welcome to the Club either way. The question is, how do you avoid being a permanent member of this Club of Wannabes?  When I look back at 15 years of headhunting candidates for management positions in Thailand, I have learned the following: Continue reading “Looking To Change Career? Avoid These Job Switch Killers”

Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search

Totally not true that recruitment firms work harder if competing with another recruitment company.  Let me explain.

Most recruitment firms in Thailand compete on price and not on service or the quality of candidates. A “contingency” recruitment firm will only be able to invoice their client if their candidate is hired. Only then will the recruitment firm receive an income and the recruitment consultant a commission. Continue reading “Naively, hiring companies think recruiters work harder when in competition on a job search”

How you should dress for the job interview?

If you are old enough, you may recall the shampoo commercial, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

You must have heard the saying that a first impression can make or break a business opportunity or relationship. That includes anything from meeting customers, pitching your business to new clients, to dating for a romantic partner, and of course very much to job interviewing. Continue reading “How you should dress for the job interview?”

Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?

Are you one of the many employees in Thailand who willingly accepted a non-compete clause in your employment agreement? Or perhaps you were forced to accept a  non-compete as a condition for getting the new job?

In more and more countries around the world, the non-compete clause is illegal or it comes with a lot of restrictions. But unfortunately not yet in Thailand where employers can still demand that an employee cannot take work with a competitor for years. Continue reading “Do you have a non-compete clause in your employment agreement?”