Join Africa's fastest growing career community!


Why You Are Not Getting Headhunted

There are people who have a lot to offer and have many accomplishments to their name, but for some reason, they don’t seem to make any notable motion to higher opportunities. Let's find out what makes people visible and attractive for headhunting.

Article Preview Image

There are people who have a lot to offer and have many accomplishments to their name, but for some reason, they don’t seem to make any notable motion to higher opportunities. Let's find out what makes people visible and attractive for headhunting.

Photo credit: Macrovector

You have been working for a while now and your work speaks for itself because of your accumulated experience. Through the years you have been able to upgrade your skills and handle more responsibilities and tasks.

However, there is one problem. With your enviable, rich portfolio you are not being headhunted for bigger roles. No one is looking for you or calling you for an interview. Yet you believe that your education, certifications, experience, and talents should be attracting talent recruiters left, right, and center.

In the following article, we will investigate what makes people visible and attractive for headhunting. There are people who have a lot to offer and have many accomplishments to their name, but for some reason, they don’t seem to make any notable motion to higher opportunities.

First things first

What is headhunting?

According to Wikijob, a UK company, headhunting can also be referred to as Executive Search. It is the process of recruiting individuals to fill senior positions in organizations. The process is conducted by either a company’s board of directors or by Human Resource professionals. Other times external executive recruitment representatives called headhunters are contracted to look for fit individuals for a position.

Headhunting should not be likened to recruiting because both have very stark differences. Here are some of the key differences between headhunting and recruiting.

In recruiting the recruiter advertises the vacancy and waits for candidates to send in their applications. However, in headhunting, the recruiter pre-selects individuals for the post and then contacts them.

Recruiters try to match an existing pool of candidates to the vacant posts like a jigsaw puzzle. In special instances, there are candidates who have skills and talents that can fit a role that they didn’t traditionally study for. A good example is someone who transitions from the role of an administrator to an operations manager.

On the other hand, headhunters prioritize the role then go looking for the right candidate for that job.

A client’s target market and industry heavily weigh in when headhunting a candidate. In recruitment that matters less. There are so many times when headhunters choose to specialize in one industry sector or sub-sector.

How headhunting works

How exactly does headhunting work? You need to understand the science of headhunting so that you can peek into the mind of a headhunter.

Understanding what headhunters look for keeps you in the know of the things you need to do. It also shines a light on what you have been doing wrong and how you can change it.

So according to Richard Triggs an Executive Search specialist, here are the stages of headhunting:

An HR Manager or Head of People defines the kind of candidate they are looking for. The description largely includes hard skills, soft skills, personality type, and someone who would best fit their culture.

Louis Fletcher of Blue Sky Resumes emphasizes that headhunters look for the exact match to a certain role. He quips that headhunters are meant to streamline the hiring process. They are not contracted to complicate it. Therefore, when they are headhunting they look for that candidate who meets the requirements for the job fully and possibly has more.

Secondly, they start the search after the cloth has already been cut. Many headhunters go to platforms like LinkedIn where many professionals update their credentials and achievements. Others look through their networks and ask for referrals.

There are headhunters such as those who are in Fuzu who look through their database. Such companies have databases filled with candidates who have uploaded their CVs. Updating your CV on Fuzu can get you noticed by these headhunters depending on the role they are looking for. Due to technological advancements, there are softwares that can help filter through those numerous resumes.

When they get the list of best fits for the role they screen them and filter them even further.

This is where they contact the candidate by phone, email, or inbox. The candidate is invited to engage in a conversation where they talk about who they are, what they do or can do. Through conversation, the headhunter is able to get a clearer picture of the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses.

If the candidate is a good fit, the recruiter also has to find out how open the candidate is to move from their current position.


Do’s for getting headhunted

Be visible

Ensure that you have a well-articulated and updated Fuzu profile. It has to make you look desirable and most importantly, use keywords appropriately. Those keywords should describe your skill and what you have done.


It is no secret that headhunters refer to their networks when looking for the next candidate. You need to jump on any networking events you get and notify people of your presence. Let decision-makers know what you do and offer to help if they need anything.

When a recruiter asks around for someone who has your kind of skills you will definitely get referred.

Upload your CV to job boards and company databases. There are numerous companies like Fuzu, BBC, United Nations that ask candidates to upload their resumes. This helps the recruiters in those particular companies to identify you when a vacant position arises.

Ensure that you clearly understand the person who called you. Investigate the authority they have to call you. Triggs says that some recruiters ask you to present your CV to the employer without the authority to do so. As a result, you end up being dismissed.


Don’ts for getting headhunted

Ray Triggs says that the biggest mistake that candidates make is that they think they have all the power when they get headhunted. When discussing the expected salary they quote incredibly high amounts. This opportunity will pass you by if the recruiter discovers that they can’t afford you.

The recruiter has no right to present you to a company if you haven’t given them the authority to do so. Don’t get into an agreement that could compromise your career and jeopardize your image.

In conclusion

As long as you are visible, being found by a headhunter is easier. Just know what you want and don’t be in a rush to enter a deal that you’re not sure about. Take your time and study the deal, listen to the person, and see if it will contribute to your development and growth. If not, there is always a next time.

Hire top talent, 80% faster

Find the right candidate with ease and save time using Fuzu’s match-making technology!

Start hiring

Written by

Wahome Ngatia

Peter Wahome Ngatia is an all rounded Marketing Specialist who deals in Graphic Design, Social Media, SEO and Content Writing. My passion is to use my skills and knowledge to help African businesses grow and thrive so that we can create employment for the youth. I also want to churn helpful content that inspires millennials to go hard after their dreams. Mantra: You learn more from failure than success.

Give a like!


Sign in to read comments and engage with the Fuzu community.

Login or Create a Free Account