The Hiring Game: One More Secret

James Bond 007 (role-playing game)

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Turns out just when I thought I knew many of the tricks of the trade in the world of executive search consultants (also known as headhunters), one more tip crossed my radar.

While meeting this week about a very interesting corporate global role with a San Francisco firm (more on the opportunity in an upcoming post), I got to also shoot the quick breeze (time is, in this business, money if you’ve got a full slate of searches) with a couple of senior consultants about a headhunter’s life.

Biggest dread? Boarding a plane and walking through first class (on their way to coach, where headhunters fly) and scanning the passengers to see if they know anyone, and if so, figuring out the context; church, school, someone they placed, or someone they interviewed but didn’t place. Secret agent James Bond 007 would feel right at home.

Turns out search people bump into candidates all the time. One consultant recounted having a woman sitting behind them say, “Rick, aren’t you going to say hello?” Turns out the headhunter had placed the exec, but with a change of hair style and hair color he hadn’t recognized her.

As posted earlier this week on managing your career- The End of Privacy – people should assume that their private behaviors through the advent of social media and easy-to-use web posting tools like iPhone videos are not-so-private.

Be who you are, and remember that if you behave well the world will know, and if you behave badly, the world will probably also know.

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub, as well as participate in my learning community courtesy of KnowledgeCrush.



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