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How to get headhunted in Denmark

When you are headhunted, you are in a good position to negotiate salary and terms. But you have to be critical so that you don't get flattered by the interest and accept a job that you won't enjoy.

IDA's members are in high demand. According to a survey, 7 out of 10 privately employed members were contacted by a headhunter in 2022 with an invitation to change jobs.

But even though it is flattering to be headhunted, you must retain your critical sense so that you only accept a better job and take advantage of the situation to secure a higher salary, good conditions or more exciting tasks.
Here you can get a handle on how to make yourself more visible to headhunters and how to approach the process when you are contacted.

The best way to prepare is to reflect on what gives you job satisfaction and which positions are attractive to you. By doing so, you know at an earlier stage whether you should invest time and energy in the process, or whether you should politely refuse the headhunter.

Book a meeting with one of IDA's career counsellors

What is a headhunter?

A headhunter is a professional recruitment consultant who specializes in finding and attracting highly qualified candidates for vacant positions in companies.

There are several reasons why companies choose to use a headhunter: They may find it difficult to find the candidate themselves, want to be discreet or simply do not have time for a traditional application process, where they have to search widely and arrange several rounds of interviews.

It is far from only top managers or specialists with very specialised skills who are headhunted. Because there is a high demand for STEM professionals, many experience being contacted with job offers. According to a survey among privately employed members from 2022, it is especially within certain industries that many experience being contacted with job offers:

  • IT and telecommunications: 78%
  • Construction: 73%
  • Trade/transport: 72%:
  • Consulting Engineering: 71%
  • Pharmaceutical industry: 71%

What are the benefits of being headhunted?

There are a number of advantages to being headhunted compared to applying for and getting a job through a traditional application process:

  • You will be introduced to job opportunities that you might not otherwise have discovered.
  • The headhunter has already shown an interest in your skills and experience. You can use the fact that you are in demand to negotiate for a higher salary, more responsibility or attractive benefits.
  • The headhunter has made a careful assessment of your skills, experience and potential for a specific position. When the company has invested so much in the recruitment process, it increases the likelihood that they will make a big effort to make you a good fit.

What are the disadvantages of being headhunted?

It is positive to be headhunted, but if throughout your career you rely on being contacted and do not search the job market actively, you risk missing out on exciting job opportunities. Remember that it is the headhunter's job to help companies fill their positions, while it is up to you to assess which jobs you will thrive in.

How do I become more visible to Danish headhunters?

You can do several things to become more visible to headhunters. Some of the things require a lot of effort, others you can do in an afternoon.

Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is one of the headhunters' most important work tools. Therefore, it is important that your profile is thorough and visible. In the OpenWork function, you can show that you are interested in job offers. But it makes neither a positive nor a negative difference, as headhunters are looking for skills and not looking at whether you are available or not.

On the other hand, it is important that you put a lot of effort into the title text under your picture, because it is given high weight by LinkedIn's search engine. Here you must write as many relevant keywords as possible. This includes your title, areas of work and competences. The headhunters look for professional keywords, and therefore you must cut out filler words and phrases about what you are "passionate about".

On your LinkedIn profile, you should include all your experience and previous positions. But you must also write which work tasks you have had and which skills you used in them. Try to create a common thread so that it is clear what your specialty is. If you seem like someone who can do a little bit of everything and wants a little bit of everything, you become less attractive to headhunters.

How to use LinkedIn to search for jobs

Register in CV databases

Headhunters and recruitment consultants often search for candidates in various CV databases to find the right person for the job. Therefore, it is a good idea to upload your CV in several databases to be easy to find.

However, it is not enough to simply create your CV and wait to be contacted. Be sure to keep it updated with your latest experiences and contact information so it's always updated.

Remember that you can always register in several databases to increase your chances of being found by recruitment consultants and headhunters. Here is a list of CV databases that you can register in

Become more visible through your network

One of the best - but also most time-consuming - ways to become visible to recruitment consultants is to brand yourself within your industry.

Many headhunters use professional networks, and therefore you can gain from expanding and nurturing your network by participating in industry-related events, conferences or seminars. Be open to meeting new people and building connections. Many headhunters also look at conference lists to discover interesting candidates – especially if it is for a niche job.

The larger and more qualified your network is, the greater the chance that headhunters will get to know you through recommendations or referrals.

IDA has 70 nationwide networks that you can become part of

You can also become more visible by sharing your knowledge and experience by writing articles, blog posts or being a guest writer on industry-related websites and publications. Contribute to discussions and comment on relevant professional forums. It positions you as an authority in your field and increases your visibility.

Remember that being headhunted is often the result of a combination of your expertise, your reputation and your network. By focusing on these areas and being active in your career development, you can increase the likelihood of being noticed by headhunters.

What should I be aware of when I get contacted by a headhunter?

When you are contacted by a headhunter, it is just the first step in the hiring process. It can be a time-consuming process, which is why it is a good idea to research who the headhunter is before investing time and effort into it.

Which company does the headhunter work for?

Familiarize yourself with the headhunter's company or recruiting firm. Research their history, customer reviews and reputation to ensure they are legitimate and reputable. Start by researching the headhunter's company or recruiting firm. Visit their official website and review the information available about the company's history, mission and values. Also, check if they have public reviews or customer testimonials that can give you an idea of ​​their reputation, and talk to people in your own network who know the company.

Visit the headhunter's LinkedIn profile and check their experience, education and any recommendations from previous clients or candidates. It can give you a sense of the headhunter's expertise and credibility in the industry.

You should also research the company the headhunter represents so you can get an idea of ​​how attractive it is. You should be especially aware of headhunters from foreign companies, as several IDA members have been contacted by fraudsters on LinkedIn posing as headhunters.

How to recognize scam inquiries from abroad (In Danish)

Ask for references

It is also a good idea to ask for references from previous candidates or employers with whom the headhunter has worked. You can ask for contact information of previous clients or candidates so that you can get their perspective and experiences with the headhunter. This can give you a more objective assessment of the headhunter's credibility and success rate.

By performing these steps, you can obtain a more comprehensive assessment of a headhunter's credibility and reputation. It's important to remember that while these steps can help you form an opinion, it's always a good idea to trust your gut and use common sense before jumping into a collaboration.

What are typical steps in a headhunting process?

Being contacted by a headhunter is just the first step in the hiring process. If you are interested in continuing, you must go through a series of interviews to qualify whether you are the best candidate for the job.

The process will always vary depending on the specific headhunter and employer, which is why it is always a good idea to communicate openly with the headhunter so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect in the process and what specific steps need to be followed.

If you are headhunted, the process may include the following steps:

Initial screening:

The headhunter carries out an initial screening to assess your suitability for the position. It can be a phone conversation or an initial meeting where the headhunter asks you questions about your experience, skills and career goals.

In-depth interview:

If you fit the criteria after the initial screening, the headhunter will typically arrange an in-depth interview. This interview can be a longer conversation where the headhunter will explore your experience, skills, achievements and personal characteristics in more detail. The purpose is to match your qualifications with the requirements for the position and find the best match.

Evaluation of your personality profile:

The headhunter assesses how you as a person fit the company. This may involve asking questions about your values, work style, management methods and ability to work in a team. The aim is to ensure that you fit into the company's culture and can thrive in the environment they offer.

References from previous employers:

The headhunter may check your references by contacting previous employers, colleagues or clients to confirm the information you have provided and gain further insight into your performance and work ethic. Checking references is a common practice to validate your claims and create confirmation of your professionalism.

It may be a good idea to clarify whether you are interested in the position before letting the headhunter obtain references.

Presentation for the employer:

If you are still considered a good candidate after the interview and the reference check, the headhunter will present your profile and your qualifications to the employer. This may involve the headhunter preparing a comprehensive candidate profile or recommendation and presenting it to the company as a potential candidate for the position.

Possibly additional interviews:

The employer may choose to conduct further interviews with you to assess your suitability and give you the opportunity to learn more about the company and the position. It may include meetings with various stakeholders, including managers, team members or other key individuals.

Job offer and negotiation:

If both the headhunter and the employer are convinced that you are the right candidate, you will receive a job offer from the company. In the negotiation, you can use IDA to advise you on the contract and salary conditions.

Have your employment contract read through by IDA's legal advisers

What questions should I ask a headhunter if I get contacted?

When you are contacted by a headhunter, it is important to ask relevant questions to gain a better understanding of the opportunity and evaluate whether it is suitable for you. Here are some questions that can help bring clarity.

  1. What is the purpose of the contact? Ask the headhunter to explain why they are contacting you and what specific opportunity or position they are presenting. This will give you a clear idea of ​​what is at stake.
  2. What is the company profile? Get information about the company, including its size, industry, culture and values. This will help you assess whether it is an employer that matches your preferences and career goals.
  3. What are the job description and requirements? Ask for a detailed job description, including responsibilities, expected results and required qualifications. This allows you to determine whether you have the right experience and expertise to fill the role, and whether it is a job that you will thrive in.
  4. Who is the employer? Get information about the employer, including their reputation and reputation in the industry. You can also ask about the company's short-term and long-term goals to get a better understanding of their vision and direction.
  5. What development opportunities are there? Ask about the opportunities for professional development and career growth within the company. It's important to know if there's room to expand your skills and advance your career if that's something you value.
  6. What is the salary level and working conditions? Ask for information about the salary and compensation package as well as other working conditions such as working hours, holidays, insurance benefits, etc. This will help you assess whether the financial and working aspects are in line with your expectations. 
  7. What is the onboarding process like? Not all companies are equally good at integrating new employees, and therefore it is a good idea to clarify how they prioritize the process.
  8. Who is my contact person? Ask for the name of the person responsible for the recruitment process in the company and the possibility to speak with them. It will give you a chance to learn more about the company and the role and ask specific questions of the direct contact.
  9. What is the timeline for the process? Get information about the time frame for the recruitment process, including interview dates, expected decision and any deadlines. That way, you get an idea of ​​how quickly the process is expected to develop.
  10. Are there other candidates being considered? Ask the headhunter if there are other candidates also being considered for the position. This can give you an idea of ​​the level of competition and how far along in the process you are.

How can I prepare for a meeting or an interview with a headhunter?

You are not guaranteed the job because you have been contacted by a headhunter. You must continue to prove that you are the right candidate for the position. It is therefore important that you prepare thoroughly for the first meeting with the headhunter.

You can't prepare for everything, but if you can tick the following points, you've come a long way.

Read the job posting

After you have spoken to a headhunter, you will often be sent a job advertisement. It sends a really bad signal if you haven't read the job posting before the first interview. By reading it thoroughly, you can enter into a more meaningful conversation about the content of the job, and you can ask more qualified questions.

Prepare a presentation of yourself

The headhunter will need an insight into who you are and what you have achieved in your working life so far. Take the time to review your own career, including previous positions, projects and achievements. Identify your strengths, skills and experience relevant to the current opportunity. Consider your career goals and what you are looking for in a new position.

Also prepare a good elevator pitch about yourself, where you explain in 30-60 seconds why you are a relevant candidate for the job.

Get answers to your own questions

Prepare some questions for the headhunter. This shows that you are committed, but it is also your best opportunity to clarify whether the job and the workplace suit you.

There are three things in particular that you should ask about:

  • The position: What tasks are there? How do they see your role in the workplace? What does a typical working day look like?
  • Success criteria: What does it take for you to be successful in the position? What are the biggest obstacles to your success?
  • The culture: What values ​​does the workplace have? How are working hours organized and how much flexibility do you get?

In principle, it is best to wait to ask about the salary until a later time, when you have found out whether you are interested in the job. It can also send a bad signal if it appears as your primary motivation for changing jobs.

On the other hand, you must clarify with yourself how much you want in salary to be satisfied, so that you can answer clearly when the subject is brought up.

How to prepare for the salary negotiation

Show your motivation

It can feel a bit artificial to have to explain the motivation for a job that you have not actively applied for, but where the headhunter has taken hold of you. Nevertheless, you can show that you are motivated in the job by phrasing yourself in the following way: "I have a job that I am really happy with, but when I read the job description, I became particularly interested in..."