Five suggestions for how to respond if a headhunter calls

A piece in the Fin. Times, April 26, 2007 at 14, reports on the professionalization of executive search. Among its observations, the article suggests five rules to observe if a searcher approaches you about a possible new position.

“Be courteous, not superior.” A headhunter may be useful to you in the future, so treat that person professionally (See my post of Aug. 9, 2006 about being courteous to service providers.).

“Form a view.” Think through your current position and whether you find it to be what you want and to provide what you want (See my post of Dec. 28, 2006 about promotions and career paths.).

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” If the position the headhunter is seeking to fill is not appropriate for you, explain why and tell the person where you would like to be. Good search firms keep elaborate databases of prospective candidates and you may tapped later with a better fit.

“Don’t be a time waster.” Don’t tease the headhunter or that person’s client; decline promptly if you know you are unlikely to leave your current job or to take the proffered position.

“Talk it through at home.” You need to discuss the new possibility with those at home, especially if you’re mate has his or her own career or if you will have to relocate for the new job (See my post of May 26, 2007 about Royal Dutch Shell and its relocation of lawyers.).

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