Get headhunted in Dubai


This post will give you information on getting headhunted in Dubai. It is aimed at people who are SKILLED professional workers working in a qualified profession. Find out what things you can do and what managers want to make you stand out from the crowd.

In this post you will learn how to:

  • Get headhunted at your current workplace
  • Get noticed by companies in Dubai
  • Use Social Media to get noticed

Trying to find a job in dubai is not easy at the best of times, mainly due to the nature of the country’s employment system. It relies on a small amount of Recruitment Agencies  or companies who have their own HR and Recruitment departments. Secondly the current economic crisis worldwide has reduced departmental budgets causing recruitment ‘freezes’ until things settle down. However, this has not stopped people trying to move to Dubai to improve their life.

The information below is for people wishing to get head-hunted who are in current jobs or who are unemployed – NOT for people who wish to apply direct. Please see our post on why you can’t find a job in Dubai.

Getting Head-hunted by Recruitment Companies in Dubai

See our List of Recruitment Agencies in Dubai.

The best way to get headhunted in Dubai is to apply and work in a company that has an office in Dubai. The aim is to try to get a transfer to the office. (Provided the job you have can be done in that country).

Recruitment Companies will not just head-hunt anyone, you need to have the skills they need in Dubai, and need to have extensive experience in the roles they are offering.

Recruitment companies research online and through their database of people, will find suitable candidates and roles.

Most companies who are in Dubai will have links with their base headquarters in their home countr.

This may even include workers and managers who fly back and forth – these people will have links back to where you work in your home country.

So its important to know which people are the influencers in your company.

Things to do!

The early bird catches the worm!

If you are working in a company which has an office in Dubai and have skills to offer a company in Dubai get involved early on. Speak to managers and calling up HR Departments in Dubai.

If you are NOT currently working and want to get headhunted in Dubai you have to contact people YOURSELF. Do not rely on other people to do it for you. Contact recruitment companies and managers yourself to give yourself the best possible chance of being noticed.

Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile which is up to date and shows you are interested in working in Dubai. A lot of HR departments in the U.K and the U.S look at linkedIn profiles, as it is a readymade CV database.

Make sure your profile stands out and is easy to read.

Companies want to see at least 5-8 Years experience for any skilled job in Dubai, as they do not want to spend their time training you up on systems you should already know about. You need to be able to hit the ground running and start from Day 1.

You can also look at other strategies for getting your name out there but if you want to get headhunted in Dubai it is about knowing people and having experience.

Getting Headhunted in Dubai by Multinationals

The most popular method that employees that get head-hunted in to work in Dubai is via a multinational with satellite offices in Dubai.

Companies such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, KPMG, PWC, and such companies all have middle eastern Offices. They service the local population and their specific business set.

Multi-nationals have the money, and resources to be able to expand their operations to the middle east – which is why it is the perfect place to be head-hunted.

They have a structured way of applying to jobs, with an interview and selection process which is usually in your home country.

If you are working at a company in your home country and wish to move to Dubai the first step is to approach your line manager and inform them of your interest in moving to the middle east.

Getting Head-hunted at your Current Workplace

If your company has an office in the middle east and you can move into a team there, it’s important you keep up to date on what your company is doing in the middle east and if they have vacancies in the region in your job sector.

In Dubai, Managers will internally headhunt based on skills that are already in the company.

These can then be transferred to another office – so if you are interested in moving, its best to let your manager or supervisor know as early as possible (obviously not as soon as you have joined!), so that when a vacancy does come around in Dubai or the middle east, YOU are the first option in your department.

  1. Find out what projects your team is working on in Dubai
  2. Contact current/past employees and see how they got to work in Dubai
  3. Join and see what its like working in Dubai
  4. Match your current skillset with what the team is working on in Dubai

If your current work place does not have an office in Dubai, then you need to ask yourself what you want. In the long run you should move to a company which does have offices in Dubai. You should not leave your current job and hope to get a job in Dubai by staying unemployed. 

Using Social Networking Sites

Keep up to date with things going on in the industry you are trying to target by:

  • Liking posts by companies in Dubai on Facebook
  • Following groups on LinkedIn in Dubai
  • Keeping up to date with company news of Dubai Companies
  • Tweeting about industry news on Twitter
  • Tweeting about your excitement about developments in the company you are targetting
  • Sharing posts about Dubai related companies and news
  • Post updates about Dubai related companies and news
  • Interacting on Groups in Facebook related to the company
  • Being a proactive commenter on forums related to Dubai and the company
  • Ensuring your connections on LinkedIn are solid connections and reliable
  • Having recommendations on Linkedin
  • Posting your previous work on Facebook where possible

What are Managers looking for in Dubai?

An important point is that Managers in Dubai want someone who can start immediately.

They dont want to spend time training, and want staff who can work with little support. You may find the support structures in the workplace you enjoyed back home are not the same when working in Dubai.

The ability to adapt and change to your environment is very important in Dubai. The Emirate consists of arab speakers as well as other languages.

Being open to change and able to learn fast are two of the most important things to consider if you want to get headhunted in Dubai.

Coupled with this, you need to have the skills to do the job.

Get yourself qualified, for example if  you are going for an I.T position in SAP you need to be able to demonstrate you can do that job properly and with relevant experience, which is usually 5-8 Years.

We spoke to a leading hiring manager for IBM in Dubai. They told us managers are looking for:

  • Pre-Qualified ready to start employees
  • Pre-trained with little need for assistance
  • Fully IT Literate
  • Fully English literate including writing and verbal communication
  • Well-Rounded individuals with varied interests
  • Employees interested in living in Dubai
  • Adaptable employees
  • Technically sound employees – you need to know your stuff!
  • Employees wanting long term employment with no gaps in employment
  • Employees with a “full” personality – confident and able
  • Team players, but able to take on single responsibilities
  • Employees that have initiative to do above what is required

Where are you from?

If you live in a country that does not have a major city with multinational companies, then you will probably not get headhunted for a job in Dubai. You will have to apply directly to the company. Please see our post on finding a job in Dubai by applying directly.

Is it easier for Americans?

People living in the United States, Canada and Americas will find it much easier to get headhunted in Dubai.

Many large corporate companies which have offices in the United States will have corresponding sattelite offices in Dubai.

It is very important that you do proper research beforehand and find out what kind of differences you will encounter when working in Dubai as your home job may be very different.

For example, an IT contractor doing a Network Support job may find no difference in his job when moving to Dubai as the systems may be the same, but an Accountant will come across new laws and different taxation methods for the local country.

India and Asia often send construction workers and labourers via agencies who are head-hunted locally within their home country – skilled workers in these areas are found the same way as Western countries.

Typical Example for Job Offer in Vodafone (Dubai)

  1. CV has been sent to Agency or HR Department of Company in Home Country (For example U.S)
  2. HR Agency in Vodafone U.S calls up prospective candidate and arranges interview in Home Country
  3. Home Country liases with corresponding office in Dubai and arranges Telephone Interview with Candidate
  4. Dubai Office arranges face-to-face interview time and date and confirms via Email to Candidate
  5. Candidate goes to Dubai for Interview and/or Assessment Centre
  6. Candidate is selected and Job Offer is given via Email or Letter (can take up to 2-3 Months in some instances)
  7. Candidate begins job in Dubai on set date.

In Conclusion

The bottom line is be proactive, make sure your skills match the job role you are looking for in Dubai. Get involved on the internet as much as you can in discussions about the industry and Dubai in general. To get headhunted in Dubai is not a small task – you will need to make sure you are pre-qualified for the job you want to get noticed for.

Have you been headhunted in Dubai? What happened?

Salman Chaudhry is a leading online marketer and web expert with a keen interest in Dubai. is a website providing helpful news and reviews, hints and tips for people wanting to live and work in Dubai.