Many job-seekers hesitate to use a headhunter for their next career move.
What a pity, as a successful external recruiter has something you don’t: inside information on companies that interest you and the knowledge of vacancies which will never be advertised.
However, there are some rules to respect. Here is how to use a headhunter—written by a headhunter.
1. Go for a specialist than a generalist. If you work in IT or consumer goods, find a recruiter who deals with IT people every day as she will understand both what the hiring company is looking for and what you are talking about.
2. Make sure a recruiter is who they say they are first. Do not send confidential information about your employer or yourself before having met the recruiter or knowing the company they work for. There is some bad practice out there, and there are companies that collect the resumes filling their database and send them out to companies without an assignment and without your approval. Maybe to your boss?
3. Don’t rely on too many recruiters. Do not work with more than around three headhunters. “Rare is precious,” and we only get our fee if we present a candidate who has not yet been sent by a competitor which, alas, may happen as outlined before. A second point to think of is that you might make a desperate impression if you’re reaching out to too many recruiters.
4. Be as prepared for my meeting as you would be for an interview. I see candidates who arrive late to my office, are ill-prepared, or are carrying an outdated resume. When they show up they’ll say, “Yeah, I never would have done that for the real interview but you are just the recruiter.” Prepare for every interview as if you have to convince the person in front of you that you’re worth hiring.
5. Be honest. Do not lie to us, especially about your salary or the reason for leaving your previous job. We will likely figure it out through reference checks or clever questioning. We might stop the interview and blacklist you. We are like doctors: let’s talk about everything and if there are bumpy parts in your career, we will discuss that and try to figure out how to explain it to the hiring company.
6. Like us or leave us. Sympathy is a pretty easy thing. If you do not like us, it is probably the same vice versa. I rarely recruited people I personally did not like. We are humans and networkers, but also sales people. If we like you, we will be more convincing when talking about you to our customer. If you do not like the recruiter you’re working with, meet a competitor and to be deleted from the former’s records.
7. Know that you deserve plenty of feedback. A successful headhunter will give you feedback on your resume, your presentation and will prepare your interviews thoroughly. We met your potential boss long before you’ll get to, so we know what it takes to succeed there and why the job is vacant. Ask for this information if your recruiter does not give it. You are a client, too, and deserve the same service as the company that pays the bill.
8. Keep in touch. Even the best headhunters place only 1 in 10 candidates they meet. Maybe you won’t make it to the interview for the job you applied for, but staying in touch with your recruiter can help you get the next promising job opening that comes along. The biggest lie recruiters say is, “I will call you on Friday.” Nine out of 10 times, they don’t. Swallow your pride and remind us every three to four weeks in a respectful yet firm way of your existence: send us an email, call us or message us on LinkedIn.
A good headhunter with a nice track record and solid values can be far more efficient in your job search than you alone. Our job is to find the next one for you. Do not forget that we have the same goal: if you get the job, we get our fee. Use us wisely and we can be a catalyst for your career.
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