Free Advice: Train Your PA to Handle Headhunter Calls Correctly

Written by Orla Treacy

We receive mixed feedback from potential candidates about the method used to approach them in the market. Leaving voice messages with PAs is occasionally a source of debate in our office.

Imagine your assistant receives a call from a headhunting firm on your behalf, would you like the firm to disclose that they are contacting you about an opportunity to your PA or just to leave a message with their phone number? Which option would you react to? A random message from a company you have never heard of before or a message about another organisation wanting to start a conversation with you about joining them? I would always sway towards the latter as you have nothing to lose.

Depending upon how happy you are in your current situation, I would imagine the majority of people would be open to hearing more about the opportunity and receiving the message. Assuming that there is strict confidentiality between you and your PA, I don’t see the risk. The potential downside on this is that the PA talks in the office and word gets out that you are looking around for a new role or in touch with a headhunting firm. You can always look at the flip side of this and see that being contacted by a headhunter can make you look successful, desirable and an asset to your current company that other companies want.

Let’s imagine the headhunting firm discloses the fact that they are trying to reach you about an opportunity and they would like to schedule a call with you, how would you feel if your PA said, “sorry, he/she is not interested, goodbye.”? This unfortunately happens a lot. There is little a headhunting firm can do with this response as most PAs also have the role of filtering email and can delete any contact in writing from the firm too. 

I cannot recommend highly enough the idea of training your PA to handle these situations correctly. You could lose out on the opportunity to take part in exciting processes as a result of a blocker-PA. If you are new-career-curious, take the calls, have the conversations and don’t close doors before knowing what is behind them. Our team will also thank you a lot!