Head-hunters use a variety of different methods to find candidates depending on role and seniority.
Most commonly these will include using their industry knowledge of key players, an informal network of contacts, seeking referrals from within the industry or direct approach to targeted individuals based on market sector.
Clearly, for the most part, these rely on people being in work and doing a good job; not many people will risk their own reputation recommending someone they have no confidence in. Not surprisingly referrals are far more common for individuals who are well thought of by their customers or have achieved significant results within an organisation. There is no doubt therefore that it is worth nurturing relationships with customers and suppliers as well industry associations.
So what of those who are un-employed perhaps having been made redundant? Individuals who are out of the loop may tend to fall below the radar of recruiters so it is important to make yourself known – in a professional way. Make sure you have an up to date CV that is clear, concise, has no gaps and most importantly is truthful. In addition ask all of your contacts if they would put your name forward if they are speaking to head-hunters - if you name is put forward you are effectively coming with a recommendation so are more likely to be contacted.
It is a common mistake to blanket send your CV to all of the recruiters you can in the hope that one will find you a role. This can result in your details being presented to the same employer by a number of different recruiters – this not only creates a negative impression of you as an individual it can also cause problems for the employer.
There is no guarantee of being contacted by a head-hunter or indeed being put forward by them but it is clear that quality candidates will always be in demand and therefore performing well is a significant factor in being headhunted.