“Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses…”

Good old Yosser

Why is it, do you think, that people who are headhunted for jobs inevitably perform better at interview than any of the other categories of job seeker.

There are more I’m sure, but the dominant ones I have come across are Headhunted (already in gainful employment), Active (positive and serious about next move), Tyre-Kicker (there to get an offer to beat their current boss over the head with) and Desperado (very, very keen to get an offer). For me the answer is in the question – Why? The Headhunted candidate leaves all sense of desperation at the door and changes the dynamic of the communication from interview to meeting. Not only is their first question “OK so why do I want to leave where I am for this role and company” but the body language says “come and get me – sell to me”. So invariably the interviewer does just that, they start selling the role and the company and once psychologically in sales mode they look to close the deal. If Headhunted then likes what they are hearing they switch to Active but by then, they often have the upper hand and are in a far better position to close the deal on the terms they want.

Getting ready for the interview therefore is about eradicating as many of the Desperado traits as possible and steering the conversation to “Why would I want you” before pitching “this is why you should want me”. 

Active and Headhunted will be firm and concise in their responses. Desperado will waffle and over-sell. Tyre-kicker will ask what the salary is. Active and headhunted will be considered in the level and timing of communication throughout the process. Desperado will be communicating at every given (and non-given) opportunity some times straying into harassment. Tyre-kicker will email enquiring what the salary is. 

A famous Hollywood producer once said he could “smell” desperation as it walked through the door and never hired Desperado. That’s probably just bravado and typical epochal americanism but there is something to be learned from transmitting the right signals in the right way at the right time and observing and learning from Headhunted can be helpful when preparing for the arduous interview process.  

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