Headhunting is often the best way to fill top vacancies, particularly when time is pressing. If you have a crucial executive vacancy that needs to be filled urgently, you need to avoid a long draw out recruitment campaign, and THEN having to wait for your ideal appointee to serve their notice period.

Yet, despite its value, headhunting in retail is still sometimes misused or misunderstood.

How do you narrow your sights on an ideal candidate, and tempt them to apply?

You don’t want hassle – and wasted time – if your approaches are continuously rebuffed. So, how do you find someone ripe to be ‘caught’ in your recruitment net?

Highly visible in retail

One of the things to look for is someone who has ascended the ranks, but who has also publicly evidenced their experience and contribution to the retail sector.

For example, a potential prey for headhunting could be a manager who blogs and writes articles and who keeps their LinkedIn profile up to date and relevant.

Or, they could be an active member of trade bodies, involved in award applications, a speaker at events or an enthusiastic networker.

This willingness to raise their head above the parapets could be a clear sign they’re ambitious to move onwards and upwards.

Be ready for courtship

However, a candidate of the right calibre may not beat a hasty path to your door within hours of first being contacted.

They may need time to research and review the opportunity to interview for a new position with you. This is not an insult. It shows that they have a sensible attitude to risk management, and a desire to use critical thinking to make decisions.

If you’ve pinpointed the right person, a period of ‘woo-ing’ is an investment in making sure of best fit from both sides.

Be ready to show off

Your part in the courtship could involve being willing to reveal more about your business and its ambitions than you normally do when interviewing for executive positions.

This is clearly a balancing act, as you don’t want to share sensitive company intel. If this appointment comes at a time of pressure – or even crisis – honesty is the best policy and may well entice your candidate to be part of the solution.

Position yourself

If this is an executive candidate of merit – with strong potential to make an immediate impact – you need to sell them your company’s culture and ethos. These are just as important as salary.

According to Forbes, only 12% of managers jump ship due to their existing salary. The majority are tempted by roles with greater job satisfaction, appreciation and support.

Make your headhunting pitch about a well-supported role, with work-life balance and plenty of recognition and reward, and even a salary drop could still find headhunting traction.

Bring in specialist headhunters

To benefit from homing in on the top person for the post, contact the retail professionals at Anthony Gregg. We would be pleased to share more of our insights into capturing the best talent.