As a headhunter, there are a few key attributes that predict a successful career in this unique sales job of selling candidates to companies and jobs to candidates.
Here are the 8 major pre-requisites and requirements you should consider before taking a job within agency recruitment (hear expanded audio version here):
- A strong financial WHY. Sales is a career only suitable for those who want to make money as a primary career driver, especially early in one’s career. Long-term goals change, but to start, salespeople are primarily driven by an aggressive appetite to increase income potential. Since sales jobs require such a significant amount of sacrifice in order to generate income, people need a serious interest and ambition from a financial perspective to sustain a career within this type of job.
- People skills. Contrary to popular belief, both introverts and extroverts are equally likely to do well in sales. According to To Sell is Human, ambiverts actually fare the best within a sales-oriented role. No matter where your personality lies within the spectrum, all successful salespeople are able to communicate clearly, logically, and fluidly with people of all backgrounds both orally and in written-format. Strong writing skills are a MUST.
That’s why English is not a terrible major after all! Many of the most successful headhunters come from liberal arts backgrounds.
3. Organizational and multi-tasking skills. Headhunters have to juggle clients’ and candidates’ rapidly changing demands and schedules hourly! Interviews get changed at the drop of a hat, candidates back out of process, employers change their minds all throughout your day, so you need a system and the mental capacity to handle concurrent events at various stages in a way where you don’t lose your marbles.
4. Stress tolerance and ability to work hard. If you don’t prioritize money or your career, don’t go into headhunting! Ultimately, you’ll waste your own time. The reason why headhunters make so much money is because this job is very tough to persevere at sustainably. Work ethic can take you to unbelievable salary heights young in your career, but that’s only if you put in the work!
5. Ability and desire to learn. If you like comfortable payouts for making incremental self-development efforts, then sales is NOT going to work for you as a career. Sales is a career that you’re constantly pushed to do better every year. If you want to do better, you must invest in yourself constantly to CHANGE.
Salespeople are the biggest consumers of self-help. They need it like therapy to keep going!
Certainly, that’s how I even decided to pursue sales. Most motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders succeed from understanding sales, otherwise, it’s hard to turn a profit, get famous, and survive in today’s tough economic and competitive environment.
6. Ability to work in major metropolitan cities. Most headhunting clients must base their offices in major cities because they need to be close to hiring entities for meetings and growing client relationships. If you are confined to a smaller city, great headhunting agencies, managers, and trainers may not exist there to show you how to do this job right!
Furthermore, in many less competitive cities, careers rank less important than leisure, therefore, culturally, you may not be pushed to your maximum potential or learn from those who are more aggressive in their careers.
Thus, especially as you start out your career, you have better odds of meeting the employer and manager of your dreams in a major city than starting your career off in a smaller city.
7. Ability to live off of a lower base to start your career. The reason why so many people in headhunting happen to be younger from an age perspective is that this industry pays a lower base compared to most technical roles. However, within the spectrum of sales jobs, headhunters’ base salaries are actually quite good. Junior headhunters get anywhere from $30k-50k. Senior leaders can start to inch closer or beat 6-figures on base alone.
If you’re someone looking to transition into headhunting, be aware that your skills will not be reflected into the base salary. Reason being that you will need to re-learn everything to do your job right as a headhunter. If you haven’t headhunted before, you’ll need significant investment and training to get up to speed, thus employers need you to meet them halfway.
8. Unwavering self belief. Sales is not for people who are worried about the ability to succeed. A growth mindset as illustrated here, is crucial for long-term sustainability as a sales leader. This is the glue the holds the rest of the pre-requisites together.
It boils down to this. There are no educational degrees, personality types, or technical expertise that can help predict success in headhunting. As the most sophisticated sales job available, headhunting requires someone with exceptional EQ and anticipatory skills. That’s why this career can truly be for anyone who believes themselves to be capable of doing this and truly enjoys changing peoples’ lives.