What’s the difference between a football agent and an executive head hunter?

It’s called tapping up in the game an attempt to persuade a player contracted to one team to join another with out first seek the permission of their current employer (Who would of course not give it). Alternatively the manager of another club publicly expressing admiration for someone else’s player. The message being we want you come and join us. 
Alex Ferguson didn’t like players agents. He accused them of unsettling his players, suggesting they could get more money elsewhere, that they weren’t being appreciated, that they were undervaluing themselves, that maybe they had been too long in one place and as a result were being taken for granted. These agents suggested that they shouldn’t let misplaced loyalty result in missing out on a great career opportunity. That they owed it to their families to secure their future by getting a better deal, accepting a fresh challenge and making the most of the fact that their skills and experience were much in demand. Did they realise that they  were being underpaid compared to other top players at other clubs?  Of course these agents had a vested interested in a player moving to another club as they would receive a fee for arranging it. 

Is this so different to the practise of Head Hunters who ring up out of the blue and say the post hasn’t yet been advertised but will be shortly and this ambitious organisation is looking for someone like you. We have been following your career to date and are impressed with your achievements. Alternatively they say we are looking to fill a top job in a prestigious organisation and your name has come up several times when we have spoken to some pretty influential people in the business. From what we have leant you would be a very good fit for this post. If you have a few moments I would like to tell you what a great opportunity this is. I will email you the link with more information. Don’t take too much notice of the salary there is more on offer for the right person and the package is very generous. Perhaps I could ring you in a day or two when you have had a chance to look at what’s on offer and I could walk you through the recruitment process. The next step if you’re interested would be to meet up for an informal chat. 

This is not a new practise but following the pandemic with more organisations chasing fewer good candidates for senior management posts recruitment is more competitive. This is leading to increased anecdotal evidence of senior managers who were not actively seeking to change organisations being tempted away. Sometimes when they have only been in their current post a short time. I recently heard of a case where a senior manager accepted a post and was head hunted by a third party whilst working his notice! In another case an executive had only been in post a month when he was tempted away by a bigger offer. Is this ethical? 

Blair Mcpherson former Director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

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