Headhunters typically make a large number of contacts every day. We really appreciate it when candidates respect our time (who doesn’t?) Some candidates seem to feel the longer they spend on the phone with a recruiter, the better the rapport they establish. Not so! The best candidates put together a concise presentation that details their abilities and career objectives in a nutshell so they can be quickly and fully understood. This should not be done off the cuff. Take time to plan out your career and skill summary in advance. Be sure to include the major accomplishments you have achieved. Practice your delivery so it gets a little better each time.
Applying to a Specific Job
If you are making contact about a specific job, the big advantage you have is that you already know in advance some details about what the hiring company is looking for. This is your chance to really show your recruiter (and later, hopefully, your prospective employer) that you clearly understand their needs (by restating them accurately), and to show how your skill set and experiences fit that position. I suggest you research the job requirements, the company, their competition and their marketplace before composing your presentation.
Once you have made some headway with convincing the recruiter that you have at least some requisite skills for the job, you should then probe for further insight that will prepare you for the employer interview. Inquire with the recruiter for details not found in the job spec. For example, what are the pain points of the hiring company with respect to this hire, deficiencies of other candidates seen to-date, key challenges to expect on the job, length of time the role has been open, key success factors for the role, etc. With this information, you can fine tune your “fit” presentation to be even more precisely what the employer is looking for. You may be able to think of some historical scenarios where you were able to overcome a similar challenge and package them for presentation in the interview.
Clearly, for candidates that have honed in on the employer’s needs and sculpted a presentation designed to address their fit to those needs, they’ll be presenting themselves in the best possible light for each opening they vie for.
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