Headhunting chefs sounds like a very aggressive, if not indeed sinister pursuit. The headhunter pursues their quarry, meanwhile the chef innocently gets on with their job, time passes, then one day an e-mail arrives, or a phone call comes through and the chef is asked if he might know a chef suitable for a particular job, and then the job details follow.
This question could, of course, be an invitation for the chef to nominate him or herself for the job. Okay, that’s not always the case, sometimes a cigar is, just a cigar but I think you know what I mean. And sometimes a request for somebody’s opinion on chefs, for a job vacancy, is just that, it’s a request for an opinion on leads for a chef job vacancy and nothing more. However sometimes that’s not the case and its actually you who’s the target of the job approach. This is very often the case but a lot of chefs miss their cue and an opportunity. Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve covered the subject of head hunting chefs but previously our focus wasn’t on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a search.
Signals and Signs that you’re the Chef being Headhunted
So how can you tell the difference between a genuine information request and an approach to you, aimed at you, and intended to uncover your willingness to consider the position yourself? The answer is that you can’t, or at least not with 100% certainty. There are subtle signs though which, if you know what to look and listen for, often give the game away. One giveaway is the extent to which you know the recruiter. Have you ever met in person or is this strictly a virtual relationship where you connected on Twitter, Viadeo or LinkedIn or some other network?
If it’s the latter the next test is, have you ever interacted much on the platform or not? The more interaction you’ve had with each other the trickier it is to tell whether this is an attempt to headhunt you, or whether your opinion really is being sought about chef candidates for the vacancy. The less you’ve interacted the more likely it is that you are the target for the job. If you’ve had little or no prior interaction, or chat, with this recruiter then its time you began deciding whether you liked the details of this particular chefs job, or not, because almost certainly you are “it.” You’re the Chef the recruiter is attempting to hustle into declaring your interest. Are you interested? Now’s the time to decide.
Known Unknows and why you’re the targeted Chef anyway
It could be that you know the recruiter a little better and don’t wish to blow your “professional capital” too early in the conversation by an open declaration of interest. There are two way’s you can play it now, you can play the “game of chicken” and attempt to get the recruiter to blink first. The way to do this is to blankly declare that: although you’d love to help them find the right chef, you can’t think of anyone suitable who’d be interested right now. That might force the recruiter to try to avoid wasting the call, or message, and to ask you, point blank, whether you’d be interested yourself. Alternatively you can provide a couple of suggestions and pay attention to the recruiters reaction. The less enthusiasm they display, for each of the chefs you suggest, the greater the odds are that they’re really waiting for you to say, “you know what?…I wouldn’t mind a crack at that job myself.” The chances are that they’ll be thrilled and will quit dancing around the issue and start talking right there and then. And guess what? Even if none of the above applies it’s still likely that if you declare your interest that the recruiter/headhunter would welcome this declaration from you. Why? Because very few recruiters, or head hunters, will risk the goodwill of a professional connection by soliciting such advice from a Chef if they wouldn’t be happy for that chef to declare themselves for the job.
The only exception to the above is if there is a large gulf between your rank in the kitchen and the rank for the chef position the recruiter, or headhunter, is trying to fill. So if you’re a Chef De Partie and you’re being asked to recommend someone for a Head Chef or Executive Chef position then the chances are that, this time, the recruiter isn’t trying to tease a declaration of interest from you but is sincerely looking for information only. For everyone else though it’s time to decide whether you like that position you’re hearing about because, almost certainly, a declaration of interest from you won’t be rebuffed. Are you interested?
Photo by exquisitur