Using a recruiter or a headhunter can be a great advantage during your job search.
For starters, an experienced headhunter can help steer you in the right direction if you’re unsure of your next career move. Specialist recruitment agencies can also present you with specific opportunities in your industry, or open you up to new roles or companies you may not have considered.
Recruitment consultants are also valuable during tougher market or economic periods, in that they can give you a realistic picture of what is currently happening in terms of job opportunities, salary benchmarks and comparisons for your role, changing skills and qualification requirements, or even key client insights for your specific job function.
But like all professional relationships, it takes effort, investment and transparency to get the most out of partnering with a recruiter or head hunter. Here’s what to consider when working with one to find a job.
Top 5 tips for finding and meeting with a headhunter
Look for a headhunter with expertise in your industry.
Research and identify headhunters from job agencies that work within your industry and/or role function, as they will have existing relationships with clients and businesses aligned to your career path, therefore they are better placed to find you a suitable and well-matched role.
Remember, honesty is the best policy.
Be upfront and transparent with your headhunter so they can find a suitable role. This means clearly communicating your job, career, and salary expectations. Transparency also extends to sharing whether you are applying for roles directly or using other agencies. And, if you are no longer interested in a role or have decided you’ve changed your mind, you need to inform them immediately.
Listen to their guidance.
Take on your headhunter’s advice and insights, as it will help improve your chances of landing the role. Whether it’s about the company you’re interviewing for and how to prepare for an interview or improving your resume. If you interview for a role and are unsuccessful, seek their feedback on how you can improve for next time.
Maintain a professional demeanour.
Present yourself to a headhunter like you are meeting your potential employer. This way, they have insight into your professional demeanour and whether you give off a strong impression with that particular employer – they’ll be able to provide further tips or reassurance to help you have a successful interview.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Always maintain open communication with your headhunter around any other opportunities in the pipeline, as well as previous roles and companies you have applied for. Again, if you have engaged with a head hunter and they’ve put you forward for a role that you are no longer interested in, inform them immediately so that you don’t ruin your relationship with your headhunter and the employer.
5 most common recruitment myths busted
Myth 1: You need to pay to use a recruitment agency’s services
Headhunters are paid a fee from the company hiring a candidate, not from the candidate themselves. Because of this, recruitment services are always free of charge for candidates. Generally, the recruitment fee is calculated as a percentage of the candidate’s salary, which incentivises a headhunter to help candidates secure the highest salary possible.
Myth 2: Headhunters only care about numbers
A common misconception is that recruitment is just about getting as many candidates filled into roles as quickly as possible. It’s not often obvious that the business of recruitment is based on client services. So by placing a candidate into a suitable company or getting the fit wrong, both parties will be unhappy and a headhunter risks losing that client. Because of this, headhunters invest their time into finding the right candidate fit to ensure all parties have a satisfactory outcome – and hopefully a long-term investment.
Myth 3: Headhunters have no actual impact on the hiring process
Headhunters and hiring managers within a company often work closely together to find the right fit – and hiring managers highly value the opinion of their headhunters. If a headhunter believes you’re a great fit, they’ll pass this feedback and their reasons on to the company.
Myth 4: Headhunters will only put candidates forward for posted positions
While headhunters normally put candidates forward for posted positions, from time to time, they will put candidates in front of companies that may not be actively recruiting but come to mind because of a role or skills shortage that they have identified. Headhunters also keep in touch with their network to uncover any upcoming opportunities that haven’t been listed yet, as they could learn about a position that’s an ideal fit for you.
Myth 5: Headhunters don’t care about the candidates
Although headhunters are technically hiring for external companies and clients, not the job applicants, this doesn’t mean they don’t have candidates’ best interests at heart. If a candidate is happy and motivated in their new role, this inevitably impacts their performance, retention and importantly, the satisfaction of the employer. Some professionals have also been placed by the same headhunter into different jobs throughout their career, so it pays to maintain good relationships with their candidates.
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