If you’re looking to switch jobs, it’s smart to go through a headhunter or recruiter. These people often have access to jobs that aren’t advertised and can speed up the hiring process.
But before you call one up, you need to know how they operate.
“As a career management coach, it’s always surprising to me that even senior level job seekers often don’t know that ‘headhunters’ work for the companies, not the candidates,” says Bettina Seidman of SEIDBET Associates.
“Clients sometimes say: ‘I’ll just contact a headhunter who will get me a job.’ Headhunters aren’t career counselors … they’re motivated by earning the commission.”
To find out how to increase your chances of landing a job through a headhunter, we spoke with several executive recruiters and career coaches to get the low-down on the errors job seekers make.
'Headhunters don't typically work with job candidates that are unemployed,' says Terri Lee Ryan, a career coach and author.
'Companies don't pay them big money to present workers that aren't gainfully employed. In this market there are many good workers on the sidelines, yet companies still want to see candidates that are gainfully employed and on the 'top of their game.' This is why I tell workers to never quit their job until they have a new one.'
'These days, you never know if your job could disappear tomorrow,' says Erik M. Tomasi, Chief Operating Officer of DTG Consulting Solutions Inc. 'Anticipate the problem before it happens by networking and responding to headhunters, even when you're happy with your current job.'
Following up with a thank you note or email to remind the recruiter of your skills is appreciated.
What is not appreciated are numerous phone calls or emails requesting an update on your status.
Being assertive is a good thing, but be careful of coming across as desperate, warns Ambrose. 'Being desperate or overly insistent can make a candidate seem insecure about their abilities,' he says.
'Even if you're unemployed, the secret to getting a job is acting as if you don't need one.'
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