First encounter with a headhunter: what to expect?

In Italy, the role of a head hunter—often referred to as a “talent scout”—can sometimes be underestimated or misunderstood. Borrowed from the American corporate lexicon in the 1970s, the term has gradually established its place in the Italian job market. Oddly enough, this character is often cloaked in a mist of negativity, akin to the villain in a Western film. Why is that?


 Two key factors contribute to the negative aura:

  • The “Mystery” Element: The modus operandi of a head hunter is often shrouded in secrecy.
  • Social Media Drama: Platforms love controversial content. A little shade thrown at an entire profession can generate clicks and galvanize an army of “haters.”

While there’s little one can do about the online noise (freedom of speech, right?), this article aims to demystify the operations and intentions of a head hunter.


The Initial Contact

We’ll primarily focus on the first interaction you’ll have with a head hunter, to help you understand the “why” behind the questions you’re asked and the unique (and sometimes one-way) flow of information. With the proliferation of networking platforms, some professionals are contacted by head hunters almost daily, while others may experience this only once or twice in their careers.

Head hunters employ a myriad of tools, including technology, to reach candidates they suspect might be good fits for an open position. After making contact, they typically dive deeper into your professional background, often through a phone call or video conference.


The Ice-Breaker Interview

Don’t be surprised if they seek extensive details about your career history before divulging information about the job opening. They need to gauge whether the opportunity aligns with your skills, aspirations, and past experiences.

This initial conversation is a holistic assessment of you. From your technical proficiency and academic journey to your soft skills, motivations, and career milestones—everything matters.


Compensation Talk

At some point, you’ll be asked about your current compensation package. Don’t heed the skeptics online who say this is a red flag. In reality, withholding this information can derail your candidacy for a position that’s not economically feasible for you.The Follow-Up

Once a mutual interest is established, your profile will be formally presented to the company. If things align, expect a deep dive into the job description and other details about the company. However, sometimes, the information might be withheld initially due to the confidential nature of certain projects or regulatory restrictions.


Waiting for Feedback?

Even if you haven’t heard back post-interview, don’t lose hope. The silence could be for a multitude of reasons—lack of feedback from the client company or even the head hunter being on vacation. Your proactiveness in seeking feedback can only benefit you, offering insights into areas of improvement for future opportunities.


The Talent Acquisition Partners (TAP) Approach

If you’re interacting with a Talent Acquisition Partners professional, expect a human-centric approach rooted in mutual respect and understanding. We value the career and life dynamics of our candidates as much as we value the efficiency of our selection processes.


The Takeaway

We hope this comprehensive guide offers a more transparent view of your first interaction with a head hunter. If you have further questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!


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