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Understanding today’s corporate headhunters

In the modern South Africa, the role of corporate headhunters has arguably become more pronounced. Thanks to the legacy of apartheid, we have a dearth of highly skilled professionals. Added to the shortage of expertise in the country is the requirement for companies to meet BBBEE and employment equity quotas. The result is that the battle among companies for scarce skills is fierce. Those who are lucky enough to possess those sought-after skills are routinely contacted by corporate headhunters, offering them the next big paycheck or the package they can’t refuse.

As the recruitment field becomes more competitive, so corporate headhunters become more sophisticated in their methods. Indeed, corporate headhunters are no longer just recruitment lackeys, they are often communication and technological specialists as well.

According to the experts in that field, here’s a collection of some of the trends that will increasingly be made use of by corporate headhunters.

  1. An increased reliance on digital footprints.

    According to Henno Kruger, a digital marketing channel co-ordinator and blogger at Job Mail, “more than three-quarters of recruiters are already checking potential candidates’ Facebook, Twitter  and other social media profiles before they think of hiring them or inviting them for an interview.” Your digital footprint – that is, the overall impression that you create when all of the information that is available about you online is amalgamated – becomes increasingly important as a way for corporate headhunters to get a feel for their potential recruits.

So think twice before you post those drunken all-night party shots – you literally never know who will see them. Also, make sure you’re au fait with the privacy settings on your social media profiles such as Facebook. Many users are surprised or shocked to realise that even non-friends can use this platform to access a vast swathe of information about them. Most social media platforms will have a default privacy setting that is fairly liberal in what it allows strangers to see. Therefore, you’ll have to manually change and manage your privacy settings to ensure that only the people you intended are seeing your posts.

  1. Mobile recruitment is on the increase.

    South Africa has a cellphone penetration of more than 100%. In other words, there are currently more sim cards in the country than people. While our landline telephone usage is still fairly low, and access to the internet via desktop remains modest, our cellphone use and penetration levels are skyrocketing. In a recent survey conducted by World Wide Worx, 40% of South African respondents said they accessed the internet via their cellphones. Whatsapp usership is believed to be at 63% of cellphone users, and about 53% of South African Facebook users access the site via their phones.

Corporate headhunters know that their target audiences use phones not only to make phone calls and send text messages, but to shop, respond to work emails, browse social media and – you guessed it – job hunt. Corporate headhunters are responding to this by communicating with people on mobile platforms – via text and instant message, through smart phone apps, and via websites adapted for mobile.

  1. More tendency to look for contract rather than permanent positions.

    With economic times and labour laws being what they are, South African companies are becoming less willing to take on permanent employees and are more likely to seek staff to fill project requirements. In line with this, corporate headhunters are increasingly on the lookout for those who can fill ad hoc requirements, rather than those who are seeking on-going, permanent employment.

If your company, like others, requires high-level financial assistance on an interim or ad-hoc basis, speak to The Finance Team. Instead of headhunting talent, we have an already-existing, pre-screened network of qualified finance executives. They are available to assist your company for the period of time that you need them.

Image credit: knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

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