Headhunting Is Dead

4 Nov

It really is too bad that headhunting is gone.  I have always loved that term and finally we bury it in 2009.  Yesterday’s sense of urgency filled headhunter, recruiter dude is a soft, opportunity vending search consultant.  The flesh peddler of old, personnel pimp is nothing more than a clumsy, unassuming boy scout selling popcorn door-to-door to the willing neighbor that feels somewhat sorry for the young man on his merit badge quest.  Would you like to order?  Here is the form.   

It was so much fun while it lasted – yet it is time to put the face paint and war regalia away.  It really is a shame because the concept of headhunting makes complete sense.  Afterall, people do get paid for what is between their ears – their big brains filled with their skill set, business savvy, industry expertise and the sum total of their collective work experience.  We don’t need that though – clients can do it themselves, job seekers can be their own recruiter.  Time is abundant and nightly networking events are there for the taking.  If you are not having a little booze with your schmooze – face it – you will lose.   

Cold calling is dead too – don’t ya know?  The word “phone” has disappeared.  I have a personal communication device.  Exactly.  It’s right here with me and my butt dials it more than my fingers push 7 digits consecutively.  I can friend you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, add you to my network on LinkedIn – all if YOU allow.  Then and only then.  It is progress but social media is taking over and well, that close human interaction of actually conversing, speaking, listening, understanding is just not the direction thought leaders are pointing us.  You can’t just reach out and touch someone.  No, no. 

I need to email you first.  I need to review a job description and get back to you sometime before Christmas.  Look, I am cringing as I write these first few paragraphs.  I love the social media stuff.  I love twitter – I have met some great people on there.  I think LinkedIn is a great tool.  Facebook is a great place for me to put pictures of my 2 cute offspring and share my drunken exploits and rock star lifestyle with my friend portfolio – and the vast number of groupies – gotta keep the groupies happy.

Yes, the landscape is changing.  Recruiters are dropping out of the biz because of all this, you can get access to people like never before, but heads are still being hunted.  Oh, yes – they are.  Here is the world according to me (I love this part) – a recruiter that “gets it” brings a sense of urgency, engaged ears, and a professional opinion that manages interactions in a depersonalized fashion.  In other words, you can’t say what I say.  The new recruiter is an artisan of seamless, defining moment creation.  Kumbaya.

The candidate experience.  Wow, that sounds heady.  The total interview experience needs a filter – a filter that manages the message, that eliminates guesswork, that spews reassurance, that capitalizes on momentum, that constantly qualifies, that looks out for selfish interest yet keeps you realistic, that only brings people together that are heading on a collision course, a filter that tells the truth and does the work.  Headhunting is not dead – it just looks a little different.  Instead of telling you that you look like crap – we walk with you to the mirror, ask you to take a good long look at your own self, describe what you see and have an image consultant waiting in the next room.  So – while I may not be hunting heads – I still carry a spear wherever I go – I hand it to you – let you impale yourself and I will take it from there. 

by Andy Gregory

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2 Responses to “Headhunting Is Dead”

  1. Patti Lodato October 3, 2009 at 1:58 PM #

    Good insight, Andy. Looking back to my “era,” one could say that now more than ever before “the medium is the massage” (a la McLuhan). This is not to say it doesn’t take a masseuse to make it work. You’ve simply donned one cloak for another. The new one may just take a little more muscle–and knowledge of the right spots to target. It sounds as though you have both.

  2. Rayanne Thorn October 5, 2009 at 7:57 AM #

    “Instead of telling you that you look like crap – we walk with you to the mirror, ask you to take a good long look at your own self…”

    I know so many people who need a hand to lead them to that darn mirror – maybe a leash would be better suited for the dogs I am referencing… those that use their “personal communication device” and google to find out anything and everything they can about you before they pick up the darn -gasp- phone to call and actually -gasp- ask a question to which they DON’T already know the answer.

    Dear God, what has happened to the humanity? The curiosity? The drive and motivation behind relationship development?

    Don’t put your warpaint away too fast, Mr. Gregory. Your feathered headdress may still be in style. This Project Runway is just getting a re-vamp. Make it work.

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