The advantage of having been hunted before being a head hunter is that you’ve experienced what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. That’s to say, to have yourself been a candidate. It is not a theoretical knowledge based on readings all more learned than the others, but an authentic knowledge based on lived experience.
I remember being approached on the phone by a colleague, who at the time was not yet. And I said to myself: I’ve just lived everything that should not be done in such a situation. She had it all wrong. She starts calling me at least 20 minutes late on the schedule. Then visibly unclear, looking into her notes, asking uninteresting and sometimes off-topic questions accompanied by onomatopoeia, I quickly realized that she had not prepared her interview and that she probably did not even read my resume before picking up the phone. The drop of water that broke the camel was poured when she began to comment, and even loudly judge some elements of my professional journey! From that moment, of course, I was no longer in a “positive and supportive listening” mode, from that moment on I had made a judgment on the person. I tried to convey my judgment to her through some caustic and provocative reflections well felt and dazzling. In short, this head hunter had discredited herself within a few moments in my eyes. I did not take it seriously anymore and the outcome of this interview could only be negative. The echo of her negative judgments even resonated inside me several days after the interview. Her reflections had a negative impact on me not only on the spot of the call but it had a long-lasting negative effect on my own self-confidence.
Having become a head hunter myself, and in the light of this bad experience, I realized that in reality, hunter-hunted relationships must be aimed at establishing a partnership based on TRUST. Mutual respect, seriousness, empathy and even, benevolence are key concepts here. I did not invent anything, it is just about simple basic notions of the pure “Good Sense”, the 1.0 level of “Human Relations”. The very purpose of this small simple communication, constructed like a short reminder is to fix the Head Hunter’s “Ten Golden Rules of Common Sense” at a glance. Why ten ? Why not ! Wiser people used this figure successfuly in the past ! Right ?
1- No delay Thou will have ! And if you have, this of course can happen and is not serious as such, warn! It’s always better to recognize you have delays and warn than leaving a candidate without any information.
2- The interview Thou will prepare And at least get basic information on the candidate beforehand (read the CV!)
3- With respect, kindness and empathy Thou will treat her/him We are human beings, right? Respect is mutual, a reciprocal type of phenomenon. Be respectful and respectable and you will be respected (maybe, at least we hope so!)
4- The career path Thou will not judge And if you do, do it in your head, keep it for yourself, unless it is for granting the candidate with learnt, wise and positive advice, genuinely dedicated to helping her/him making the best possible next move to success. Do not blame the candidate. How would you take it and react if you were immersed in a similar situation, faced with an interlocutor who has arrogated the right to verbalize his appreciation on your journey, that is to say, the opportunities you’ve had and the decisions you made in this and that situation ?
6- Neither the person nor his life Thou will judge Same comment as up there but in worse. Concentrate on the objective evaluation of the predefined mission criteria. Ethnicity, religion, skin colour, gender, sexual orientations, handicap are off-limits considerations. I know this might be redundent but I believe it is necessary to recall and emphasize the following: we are all human beings, equals in rights and duties, the same red blood flows in our bodies, we all share the same origin and destiny. The only thing that does matter here is whether or not the candidates’ competencies, professional experiences and personality match the objective criteria of the search. The life choices of a candidate (who is a human being just like you !) are her/his call and only concern her/him and only her/him. Period. I recall, just to make sure, the very definition of empathy: try to put yourself in the shoes of someone else!
7- No trappings Thou will tend Nothing is worse than not being informed of a particular context in its entirety. The issues that might eventually pose difficulties must be exposed and discussed in a transparent manner. No pitfalls.
8- In due course Thou will inform Nothing worse (I know, again!) than leaving a candidate in the soft spot. Talking about me, I am still waiting, and this has been for several years, the call of the head hunter who was to call me “tomorrow morning”! Fast information, even to say “sorry, I still do not know” is better than no information at all.
9- Objective and transparent information Thou will provide Even if it is negative !
10- Say what Thou do and above all, do what Thou say! I know, it’s a cliché, but it is so true. No promises that you know for sure you are not able to keep. Of course, no one is safe from contrary events and circumstances, but, again, communication is The Key!
Here we are. The only purpose of this modest publication was to make sure that have the reflex of asking ourselves questions about the image of ourselves we send back to others through our behaviour towards them. This list is far from having the ambition of being exhaustive, but it has the merit to have been based on experiences lived on both sides of “the fence”. In addition, and finally, simple practical little things like “Common Sense” is always better than complicated elaborated solutions!