Gary Redman of NOW recruitment shows how to respond if you are wooed by a headhunter
As the construction industry continues to buck the prevailing economic trends, employers are having to work very hard to hang on to their star performers, making suitably qualified and experienced candidates harder to find.

As a result, many companies are using "search and selection" – also known as headhunting – to find the right candidate. This gives you, the employee, the opportunity and power to dictate your own terms and conditions.

So how should you respond if you have been headhunted? And more importantly, how do you maximise the opportunity and make sure the move is the right one for you?

Before a recruitment consultant calls you, it will have done its groundwork. Agencies are normally asked to find a professional for a client on the basis of particular experience, a role or a specific name. Candidates who are decision-makers, with a high industry profile or regularly quoted in the press, are targeted most regularly. As you climb the career ladder, your profile within the industry may well rise and, in turn, reflect well on your current employer. Naturally, this will create interest from your company's competitors.

When a headhunter calls, you will usually know within the first 30 seconds who they are and why they're ringing. You might well be within earshot of colleagues, but don't let them find out you're talking to a headhunter. Tell the headhunter you're at work and answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no". The key is to remain calm, stay professional and keep things to yourself in the first instance.

Being headhunted is an immense boost to anyone’s ego, but do not let your ego get the better of you

Everyone that's ever been headhunted will agree it's an immense boost to his or her ego, but do not let your ego get the better of you. Think about the offer carefully. Ask yourself whether you would have thought about moving if you hadn't been headhunted? Are you unhappy with the prospects in your current position? And does the new job have more to offer than a big pay rise? If the answer to any of these questions is "no", don't hesitate to turn the offer down.

If you decide to take the offer forward, the agency will send you more detailed information about the company and the position. At this point, take the time to do your own research. Remember that the agency wants to convince you to take the job to earn its fee. The internet is always a great tool for looking up further details, including past press coverage about a company (check out the archive at this site).