Invesers Headhunting - A Definition
Whereas in normal headhunting, a recruitment consultant, after a briefing by the employer, searches for as many suitable candidates as possible in order to approach them and persuade them to move to the client's company, this process is inverted for the search for a suitable position.
An outplacement consultant, following a briefing from his client, searches for as many suitable companies as possible that employ profiles like those of his client. He then identifies the executive in the target company who will decide whether to fill the target position and brings his client into the conversation through appropriate channels.
To do this, it must first be clarified which target positions are to be sought for the client and are realistically possible, which companies offer these target positions and what the name of the responsible decision-maker is currently. Then this decision-maker must be contacted in the appropriate way.
Am I not burning my name with inverse headhunting?
As long as you are serious and professional about suitable ways to contact a manager, or a decision maker seeks - and your own profile has a recognizable relationship to the company, you can not burn your name. But you can block these target companies for a period of a few months. Therefore, any contact should be used judiciously and with proper preparation.
When we make contact with a decision maker or prepare for you, we make sure that your profile has relevance to the decision maker and that your profile has the potential to generate interest. If there is currently no interest, this situation may have changed in a few months.
There is a limited market for each profile. You should only approach a decision maker once in their "recall window", this is around three to six months for a profile for which there is currently no demand. If we want to bring you back into the game, there are a few rules to follow. Here are two very rare and therefore extreme examples that we only experience every few years:
One client (mechanical engineering sales manager) had been out for 4 months. He had so far, as he said, "cautiously put out feelers to a few companies." Obviously without success. We then systematically worked his entire relevant market - just under 200 target employers. He then went to an industry trade show on our advice and met an acquaintance at the booth who said, "Well you're probably knocking on doors everywhere too...". (In our history of almost 20 years, this is the only client feedback of this kind that we have received to date!) The client was of course uncomfortable. However, with our help, he then had seven interviews and three offers and also significantly improved his salary. He would probably still be "knocking cautiously..." today.
Another example came from a CEO in the banking sector. We were able to identify just under 80 target companies for this client, his overall market in the banking sector was rather manageable, and most of the positions were also long-term. None of the 80 decision-makers contacted signalled a need to talk. The client was independent in terms of time and finances and had no interest in any other job than his traditional one. For this client, we contacted the same target companies a total of three times at intervals of 4 months each. Finally, the supervisory board of a large institution contacted us and offered our client a contract as a board member for private customer sales. We had contacted this supervisory board a total of three times through various channels over a period of 8 months!
Both cases are rare exceptions, but show that there is no such thing as "burning in the market" - as long as one behaves professionally.
My market is very small as I am a specialist. Does inverse headhunting make sense then?
Our approach is different in narrow markets than in large markets. In both cases, the first step is to research the decision-makers by name. With a small target group, we proceed differently than with very large target groups. If your market is small and manageable, then every contact is particularly valuable, but you are then probably also particularly interesting for the few decision-makers, because the narrowness of the market is usually based on reciprocity. There is then often even an offer, although the vacancy does not yet exist - just to secure your valuable and rare expertise. This is where contact networking - even across borders - plays a special role.
Can you tell when it is particularly useful to apply or make contact?
In the management and board area, three to five year contracts are often used. However, many contracts are renewed and if the shareholders do not wish to renew the contract because they consider the position holder to be the wrong person, they do not base their decision on the length of the contract but look for the right man or woman immediately. Our experience has shown that a pre-selection of target companies based on the length of stay of the position holder does not lead to any relevant difference in success. A selection of target companies based on the criteria of company size, industry and region usually narrows down the market considerably anyway.