With the demand for skilled IT talent significantly outstripping supply, headhunting is becoming increasingly common as companies struggle to meet their resourcing needs. So what do you do when a recruiter comes to you about a position, rather than the other way around?

Being approached for a job can be exciting, but it’s important to handle the situation carefully and be discerning when deciding whether to pursue the opportunity. Here’s our top advice for how to navigate being scouted for a role.


Keep it Professional

When being headhunted for a job, there’s a good chance you will be contacted during office hours. If you are approached while at your current workplace and the position seems like it may be suited to your skills and career path, resist the temptation to respond right away – instead, let the recruiter know that you are interested but would like to organise a time to talk that is more appropriate. They will respect your professionalism and understand the need to be discreet.

Similarly, it’s important not to discuss that you are being headhunted with your colleagues and employer. Remember that being approached by a headhunter is not a job offer but merely the early stages of the recruitment process, and there are no guarantees. The last thing you want is to alienate your colleagues unnecessarily.


Research Thoroughly

When you have the initial conversation with the recruiter, try to find out as much information as possible about the role, including the responsibilities, benefits, opportunities for advancement, and company culture. If the job sounds like it might be of interest to you, ensure you convey that to the recruiter so they know where you stand, and ask about what you can expect in the next steps of the recruitment process.

As with any job you are interested in, conducting your own research into the specifics of the company and the role is integral to understanding whether it is suitable for you. Looking at the company website and their social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, is a great way to get a clearer picture of their values and culture. Also, consider speaking to any connections you may have with the company in your network and ask about their experiences, both positive and negative.

Some questions to consider when determining if a role might be a good fit include:

  • How does it compare to your current job in terms of roles and responsibilities?
  • What salary and benefits are on offer? Consider the entire package, not just the financial aspects.
  • Do they offer professional development and training opportunities?
  • Do they offer flexible working arrangements, such as the option to work remotely?
  • What are the company culture and reputation like? Consider looking at websites such as Glassdoor to learn more about current and former employees’ experiences with the company.


Take Your Time and Weigh Up if It’s Right for You

While being headhunted for a job is no doubt flattering, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for you. Ideally, when making a career move, you want to be moving for advantages such as better work prospects, new experience, increased salary, and benefits. Everyone is different, but you should make sure you know what’s most important to you.

Take the time to think about your long-term career goals, financial position, and what working arrangements suit you best. Then, carefully weigh up the pros and cons of the job offer and compare them to your current position. Remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so try to be as pragmatic as you can when assessing your options.

Additionally, it can be helpful to discuss the opportunity with a trusted family member, friend, or mentor to get a second opinion.


Handle Your Response Carefully

Whether your answer is yes or no, it is also important to respond to the recruiter in a courteous and timely manner.

If you decide to accept the role, ensure that you have signed a contract before giving notice to your current employer. Try to arrange to start your new role in line with your current employer’s notice period and end the professional relationship on a positive note.

If you decide to decline the job offer, keep it positive and briefly explain the reasons why the role is not suitable for you – for example, the location isn’t convenient, or the timing isn’t right. If you feel the job simply doesn’t suit you as well as your current one, it’s a good idea to explain to the headhunter why you feel that way so they know what sort of opportunities to offer you in the future (e.g. “I enjoy the flexibility I have in my current role” or “This role doesn’t provide the same prospects for advancement as my current one”).

Don’t forget to thank them for the opportunity and offer to stay in touch. A polite and professional response will make it more likely that the recruiter will keep you in mind for future jobs that may be of interest to you.



Knowing how to handle being headhunted can be tricky, but by following the above advice, you can ensure you make the right career move at the right time – without burning any professional bridges.

Are you looking for your next opportunity? At Sourced, we are a Technology & Digital recruitment agency specialising in permanent and contract roles throughout Auckland and Christchurch. Contact our experienced team today to learn more.

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