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Secrets of a Headhunter





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Get comfortable because this could be the most important 5 minutes of your day. Understand what companies are looking for and learn how to amaze on an interview. This is the key to landing THE job.

Meet Kelly Scott, head of Commercial Practice at True North Executive Search. Kelly’s role is to place candidates in a magnitude of industries from mainstream blue chip, tech start-ups, and hospitality to banking and entertainment industries. The goal is connecting people to their dream job.

Much like many of us, Kelly wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do. Coming out of the University of Gloucestershire she entered into a graduate programme in order to help find her career direction. From this programme, her path became clear and she entered head first into sales. After 15 years in commercial sales, Kelly took on a new role in headhunting, a year ago, and hasn’t looked back since.

A huge part of Kelly’s role is relationship building and networking with potential and existing candidates and clients. She expresses that networking is a crucial part of the job search process at any stage in someone’s career.

“My advice for networking is to connect with as many people as possible. Start with your classmates, lecturers and professionals you meet via internships. Look to your desired industry for further networking opportunities like career fairs, industry talks and target key figures within the sector. People like to help so don’t be afraid to ask.”

Kelly explains that the key to marketing yourself well during a job search is having a great CV and utilising LinkedIn. Even though it does not replace a CV, LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful tool for increasing the visibility of yourself to potential employers and candidate hungry headhunters.

Here are a few of Kelly’s LinkedIn tips for attracting the right attention:

  • TIP 1- HEADSHOTS: use a headshot which will show off the professional qualities employers are looking for. Avoid any holiday or group photos
  • TIP 2- KEYWORDS: Think about the keywords which are likely to appear in your aspiring job’s description and use them in your LinkedIn profile. This will make you more searchable to your desired audience
  • TIP 3- PLATFORM: Remember that while LinkedIn is widely used in the UK; mainland Europe use an alternative version called Zing

Kelly interviews anywhere from 5 to 10 candidates a day and stresses that the key to a successful interview is preparation. Having worked with a vast range of industries, she’s come to understand that companies look for proactive and inquisitive natured people. Displaying in an interview that you’re able to see the bigger picture and that you’ve proactively researched the company, shows your desire for the role and ambition as a candidate.
Prior to the interview, Kelly advises to:

“Ask for a copy of the job description and research the key skills required and examples for each point. You should also investigate the ‘company purpose’ or mission statement as this will help you understand what kind of behaviours you will need to show during the interview.”

As part of her business development role, Kelly researches new potential companies, their corporate culture and meets with their employees. It’s important for her to understand how each company works in order to find the right candidate to fit with the culture. Kelly recommends that you do the same before an interview or prior to accepting a position within the company.

“Try to speak to an existing employee who can tell you about the culture as this will provide some of the most valuable insight about the role you’re interviewing for and remember that the company need to be a right fit for you too.”

Kelly often puts people in contact with existing employees for this reason so don’t be afraid to ask your headhunter or the company’s human resources department. Alternatively, asking the right questions during the interview can help to gain clarity. Questions about career progression, company growth and employee turnover can give you good insight.

Unfortunately, in the majority of cases there is only one role available. Part of Kelly’s role involves delivering the bad news. She explains that,

“Failing at a job interview is a reality at some point in your career. Finding out what went wrong and asking for feedback can be helpful in making the right changes in order to be successful next time around. Having the ability to learn from your mistakes and improve is the difference between being successful and not.”

As part of our Career events, Kelly will be hosting a CV workshop for residents in the new year. Stay tuned to the Nido LinkedIn page as event details will be announced in the coming month.

To find out more about True North Human Capital and their services, visit TRUENORTHHC.COM.