As one of the top 1% of headhunters globally, I learned (the hard way!) that when offers and relationships go awry, it’s usually down to one culprit – a lack of transparency. Burned by experiences with unethical or ineffective recruiters, candidates try to keep everything hush-hush, which can directly lead to unnecessary drama and mistakes.
Here I’ll share 3 Things You Should Always Tell Your Headhunter* to help you on your journey.
*Your headhunter, aka recruiter, is an external agent working to fill the position, very different from an internal recruiter, talent acquisition staff, HR person, or any other full-time or part-time/contract employee of the job you’re interviewing at. Companies need this external support (and pay chunky fees) due to challenges and limited bandwidth/expertise to fill the role internally.
Granted that you’ve interviewed your headhunter, and now trust them as a reputable, ethical, and trustworthy person who is a legitimate representative of the client, #1. Be transparent about where else you’re interviewing at to help leverage competition to your advantage. This is so crucial because it helps put pressure on the client to interview you faster and makes you look better! Who doesn’t want to talk to a candidate who’s interviewing at the company right next door for the same role? If they want him/her, it’s likely we’re going to need him/her too! My clients always got excited if one of my candidates has multiple offers. Human nature centers around wanting what others have, in every facet of life, no less recruitment!
TIP: I recommend telling your headhunter the name of the company(ies) you’re interviewing at. This makes the threat feel real, and psychologically there are competitors to bid out. Putting a name to the opponent always makes the situation more exciting and whet everyone’s appetite for you! This also reduces instances of duplication where your headhunter may be talking about you one day to a perspective client, not knowing you already applied.
2. Compensation information! I’m talkin’ the whole sha-bang. I want to know your base salary, bonus, stock/equity situation if any, and any other financial rewards you get at your current role or in your last position. Sometimes, I even ask if you get some special healthcare/pension benefits because all those should be taken into consideration when looking at potential offers. If you’re about to get a promotion, tell me your expected new salary too!
The reason is, your current compensation is your market value to any external employer. It is arguably the core tenant of what dictates your future salary. Formal salary bands between companies are vastly different because compensation packages include various components that may or may not be equatable across the board. The only sure thing is your current market value plus any additional salary/perks you’d like to incorporate into your offer to consider a move to another firm.
Only in extremely rare cases will I even consider working with a candidate who doesn’t share their salary information. Personally, I always have to trust my candidates to truly work well together and vice versa. Your headhunter can tell you what companies will realistically pay based on your unique circumstances. Furthermore, how your compensation compares to other candidates in a similar position. Even on a direct application or a call with HR, you’ll be asked to disclose your salary information, so just be honest and tell your headhunter from Day 1 so there are no surprises and everyone is on the same page.
In relation to that point, #3. Competing offers also help boost your current market value more, so tell your headhunter the details regarding salary, bonus, stock, and any perks whether that’s work-from-home, free wifi, discounts to major retailers, and any and every thing that could translate to a quantifiable amount. Your headhunter can then literally lay out the competition’s offer terms, which truly puts the client on the offensive. Obviously, don’t use competing offers just for numbers’ sake because this isn’t like an eBay auction; you can’t keep going around pushing everyone for their best price. The strategy here is to leverage all offers for your TOP choice only.
TIP: In today’s age of high employee turnover and even higher costs to replace talent, companies generate counteroffers to retain staff. Tell your headhunter everything you know about your current company’s counteroffer practices. If your firm typically increases salaries by $X for employees to stay in their role, then ask for $X plus a premium to switch firms. Theoretically, you can run out any day and get employed in a similar role for more money, thus don’t waste your time (and everyone else’s!) obtaining a new offer if you just want to push your employer’s hand. Use your energy instead to be transparent and ask for what you really want.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more professional and personal branding advice, read:
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