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Being Headhunted by a Company

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Company Competitive Sales Salary Sales

Although some people may say that you cannot ‘get yourself headhunted’, you can certainly make it more likely to happen.

Not only that, but once you have been headhunted, you can make yourself more appealing and negotiate well to ensure that you make the best possible advantage out of this exciting situation.

OK, let’s first of all accept how exciting it is to be headhunted! That wonderful feeling of knowing that a company has especially chosen you! You must be a super sales person for them to want you to join their team!

…Let’s not get carried away – yes, it is a lovely, flattering position to be in, but you still need to keep your wits about you to make sure that flattery does not overtake practicality and you have got yourself in hot water with your current company over a rubbish new company that happened to give you free champagne in a fancy bar.

So, while we accept that it is bound to go to your head a little bit, you will not maximise the potential salary or conditions unless you play smart.

Get Yourself Noticed

In order to appeal to the headhunters that will invariably be operating in your sector of sales, you need to know the right people and go to the right places. That may sound terribly cheesy and unnecessary, and you might be right – some people get headhunted purely because of their work – but it really doesn’t do you any arm to make sure people know about your sales achievements.

This can easily tip over into being a really annoying, self congratulatory show off, so be aware. Try to get great personal PR by making sure your contracts and achievements are mentioned in the trade press for your industry. Tell your friends who have any connection at all with your industry about your sales figures – don’t go on about it, or they wont be your friends for long, but drop it into the conversation when appropriate.

Spot The Signs

Getting headhunted can happen in a two minute conversation, or over a glass of wine in a bar. Ensure you are being receptive to the signs – if you get a number of missed calls with a withheld number, try to make sure you can take the next call.

You may find that you get a phone call from someone who seems to be asking a lot of questions, or you get a call that starts ‘are you able to talk?’ – it may all sound rather cloak and dagger, but at least call back and be polite. You may not want to move to a new company, but you can at least find out what they’re offering.

Negotiating a Great Deal

Once you have got part the surreptitious phone calls stage of being headhunted, you can get down to the nitty gritty of bagging a great deal. This is a delicate dance, because while you know that the company wants you, they will also have a budget and will not want to be bullied into a super sized salary.

They will not be surprised that you are negotiating hard for a good deal – sales people are competitive in their very nature and it will show why you are good at your job – just make sure you know when to stop. You can get a range of benefits as well as a great basic salary – negotiate on commission, holiday, bonuses and terms rather than getting obsessed with the basic salary. That will make your potential new employers think that you are not confident in your sales ability – no great sales person only earns their basic salary, after all!

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