Why Headhunters Are Always Right

A headhunter is always right: sounds arrogant, doesn’t it? But it sure is true though. In a way even so one client or another candidate might disagree. However, we are executive search consultants dealing with numerous candidates and clients with different backgrounds, cultures and requirements. As experienced consultants you do need to be spot on – otherwise our advice is not required.

We talk to candidates and clients every day, we do hear what companies do compete in today’s fierce market place, what drives the best talent and what turns it away. We talk about strategy and know what your competitors do that you don’t do. We have taken thousands of “job specs” and consulted our clients. And we we have also run thousands of interviews and counseled our candidates. And of all that, we are willing to share a good deal with you (respecting confidentiality of course)!

When it comes to advice towards candidates: we are getting more requests for training. What we see is that candidates willing to get a new job or a promotion, are asking us for skill set training. Some candidates have been lucky in never having to apply for a new job. Other candidates would like to get a promotion but do not know how. Most candidates have basically no clue what their unique selling points are.

The advice what we give is not for free but it is nine out of ten times right. In our coaching offer, we help candidates prepare for an interview. This includes two or three sessions:

  • The first session includes a regular interview and reviewing the CV. What does the reader look at? How can you stand out? How can you make sure to get past the first threshold? Out of this, we give advice on how to improve all aspects of the CV. (also see our postings on how to write a killer CV). We also give feedback on your motivation, skill set and your unique selling points. If the candidate is preparing for a specific job specification, we focus on that role. We give pointers on how we as executive search consultants do research when it comes downs to client preparation. We even give feedback on how to dress and how to present yourself.
  • The second session, we do the interview again and we prepare for the candidate’s application. It is a tough training and we will be very strict when it comes to answering questions. What are the most likely questions you will get? How to reply to “stupid questions”? We will be direct but at the same time honest.
  • The third session is again the interview. What is the “secret sauce” to master any job interview? We have managed thousands of them and will share our experience with you. However, we are confident that the candidate is ready.


The majority of the candidates we have trained over the last few months have obtained their new role. Whether it was at their existing employer or for a complete new employer. It might me a bit expensive for non-executives, but why not invest in your own future. The training also helps candidates in becoming future managers. They are now more confident in hiring a new employee.

So if you want to get the best interview preparation from an executive search consultant you can ever get, contact any of our offices. You will get our candidate interview prep sheet and we can consult you even more – even for interviews arranged by our competitors.

When it comes to giving advice to clients: we give strategic advice on the future of the organization. Large corporates have dedicated strategic HR specialists, but companies with approximately 100 to 300 employees don’t. We have helped CEOs with strategic HR changes:

  • We review the existing company structure and employee base
  • We give thorough input on how competitors are structured and who the strategic employees are – we basically draw a talent map and keep track of changes.
    • In the Netherlands we keep track of the entire quantitative talent market. We know exactly where all the candidates work, how many graduate annually, where they live etc.
  • Strategic advice is given on the skill set for any new employee.
  • Giving advice on the salary structure is also one of our key service offerings. We know most of the salary structures within dedicated industries.
    • We recently did a review for a medium sized investment bank in the Netherlands. Through our research, we managed to save at least Euro 100.000 for the organization annually. The salaries of the employees in relation to the required skill set did not match competition. The Board of the bank was not only astonished of the savings but was surprised about their talent base. They were simply not competitive anymore. Through our efforts they saved money and were able to rethink their HR strategy in order to challenge competition.


πSo is a headhunter always right? The ones that invest in candidates, clients and market research are most of the times right. Our role as executive search consultant is changing into Human Capital Strategy consultant. The market is becoming too transparent and competitive. This is not only for us, but also for executive candidates and clients. So invest and listen to your headhunter and become smarter. Invest as a candidate and as a client. Professional advice is sometimes necessary to be more successful in your business. Just contact one of our offices in Europe or North America for the best advice in the executive search market.

Parting thoughts:

OK, we at Kennedy Executive may not always be right! However, we are trying hard, listen carefully, learn from our clients, candidates and Partners throughout the world every day to become better headhunters and Consultants for YOU!