Last week I did a search on LinkedIn for users involved in “Staffing and Recruiting” located in Belgium, three degress of separation or less from me. There are 59 of these. One of them runs a head-hunting firm, and his profile page actually invites people to get in touch directly, “to confidentially discuss your career aspirations”. So I did precisely that, and sent him a CV and covering note to the effect that I am thinking of getting into the private sector. (Which I am, though my preferred option would be to get a job on the inside of NATO or the EU as a political adviser.)
Slightly to my surprise, he phoned this morning. He started by explaining that his usual line of work is to take an order from a company with specifics of the sort of person they want to hire, and then to try and lure the equivalent person who is already doing that job in a rival firm away from their competition. He went on to say that he had almost no experience of getting people out of the “public sector” (which he seemed to feel I’m currently in, though I think “non-profit” is more accurate) into the private sector. I was poised to thank him politely for his advice and end the conversation.
But then he said that his normal line of business was a bit slow at this time of year, so if I had any ideas of large firms who I might consider working for as a EU affairs adviser, then he would happily call their HR managers if he knew them and see what the options were, at no cost to me (though of course charging the company a finder’s fee if they decided to take me), in the vague hope of developing a new line of business for himself. Sounded good to me. So I’ve sent him another email with the information he requires. It’s a long shot, but even if nothing more comes of it, I’ve already learnt more about what head-hunters do, and if nothing comes out of it in the end I’m no worse off.