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How job seekers should use a Headhunter

Job seeker


By: Bill Wednieski

Are you too busy to look for a new job? A headhunter can be an invaluable resource – we save you the time you don’t have and bring opportunities to you. Best of all, we can get you the most money that is realistically feasible. Looking for a job is generally an unpleasant experience so having an independent advocate just makes sense. Great headhunters provide helpful advice along the way and navigate the way before finally negotiating your offer for you.

Tips for job seekers

Before you jump in and start working with a headhunter, you need to understand what is that we do and exactly how we do it.

Timing. We generally can’t get you a new role by the following week. The moment you start thinking about moving on from your current role is when you should reach out to a headhunter. This makes you a “passive candidate”. Be patient as it often takes six months to a year to get out of your current position to a more desirable one. Fact: Passive candidates or candidates that were not even looking are hands down the most attractive to employers. 

Communication frequency. Don’t reach out weekly to see what’s happening in the market. Great headhunters know how to market you and likewise, the opportunities you will thrive in. These opportunities don’t open up every day and we don’t just find people jobs. Instead, ask the headhunter how frequently you should check in.

Ask if you can help. It’s a two-way street. Make sure you’re being helpful to the headhunter too. After you’ve established a dialogue to help the headhunter to get to know you, what you can do, and what you are looking for, ask them what they’re currently working on. If you have a candidate in mind that may be a great fit, then make a connection or provide a name with contact info. Make sure to be clear if you want the headhunter to disclose that you are the source of the reference. 

Do your homework. Find a recruiter that can actually help you find the job you’re looking for. The truth is we can’t help everybody. For example, I don’t help forklift drivers get new jobs and we don’t often place new college graduates. Companies don’t pay us to find candidates they can find on their own. We suggest asking around your network if a friend or trusted colleague has a referral. 

Job seeker homework

Interview them. Evaluate whether you want to work with this person and their firm. Sometimes the recruiter can be obnoxious or simply does not get what you do or why what you do is a coveted skill. Sometimes the firm does not have a great reputation or they don’t work the searches you are interested in. Check out their job board and read their reviews.

Bill Wednieski is the Managing Director for The Headhunters. Learn more here.

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