Sam Ma’ayan, Senior Consultant at Morgan Hunt and a specialist in Not for Profit senior recruitment, shares some interesting insights on How you might be making it harder for headhunters to help you land your next role (without even knowing it!) & what to do about it…

Tell us about your role as an Executive Headhunter… 

I am a sector specialist in Charities and the Not for Profit sector on the newly minted Morgan Hunt Executive recruitment team. I joined the company at the end of May having worked (mostly) in Not for Profit senior recruitment for the last four years, from Researcher through to Senior Consultant.

As in all sectors, our clients often expect preferential or reduces fees due to the nature of their sector (forgetting our pricing has been formatted with our clients sector in mind). Therefore the buzz-word of recruitment team must be ‘value added’ – we strive to do as much as possible, whenever possible, to ensure that we are the best option for our partners to recruit through, rather than the quickest or the easiest.

How do candidates make it harder to help them?

Candidate assumptions are the enemy in every situation. There are so many points across recruitment processes where assumptions are so natural to you but can be catastrophic in gaining and holding the attention of the people making the hiring decision.

At CV/Application stage

It is very common, and entirely incorrect, to assume that whoever is reading your CV or resume knows your company and past companies; even if they do, is it realistically likely that they know them in any detail (unless you’re moving within a closely knit sector)? Without the context of your role and remit being made clear, your CV is a useless document– the research required to understand what you’ve actually done will just be too great for most hiring managers! Never assume contextual knowledge on the hiring manager’s part – providing it is the only way you can be certain that your experience in understood.

At Interview stage

Interviewing, like most things in life, is a skill. Some people are naturally good at it, some are not, but no-one will become great at it without practise. If someone has not practised interviewing consistently through their career, being granted a Director, CEO or Chair title will not suddenly increase your skill level. The only way to be certain that you get the information required for the post across is to volunteer it – never assume that your assessor has the skill or experience to uncover what they need in the conversations. If you assume you don’t need to make it easily accessible to them, you’ll have no-one else to blame if the assessor fails to understand you.

After placement

Potentially the worst assumption you can make is assuming the probation period is just a formality. During your probationary period, you will be continually assessed for team fit, culture, leadership and all manner of things that cannot be assessed at interview. Equally, it is your chance to assess from an internal perspective the culture of the company and remit/responsibility of your role. Should problems be discovered on either side, it is the only time where the partnership can easily be broken off with no reputational damage on either side. During this period, never assume that the hard work is all done and you can simply settle into the post – it’s time for due diligence and not doing so could be a disaster for all parties!

Overall, the assumption that can ruin your job search is that you do not need to put maximum energy and effort into every stage. Job searching is likely to be a difficult and tiring process and that is why companies such as Morgan Hunt and Executive Connexions exist to help you through it; if it were easy, we would not be needed.

Recommended reading: Secrets of the executive job search

If you are interested in a new role, particularly within the Not for Profit sector, get in touch at seniorappointments@morganhunt.com and we will always do what we can to help.

Sam Ma’ayan 

Senior Consultant, Charity Senior Appointments

seniorappointments@morganhunt.com