In today’s business environment, clients are paying headhunters ridiculous fees, more often than ever, to recruit staff to their organizations. There has never been a more constant, incessant, and aggressive push by headhunters who Inmail, message, and stalk you in an effort to woo you to consider making a career move.
Here’s how you should handle headhunters who reach out to you:
#1. Understand the job search ecosystem and where headhunters sit. Headhunters, hiring managers, human resources, and talent acquisition staff are ALL different. Headhunters are a type of recruiter who operate as a 3rd party hired gun to fill a specific need. They are NOT human resources or talent acquisition, as you can read here.
Headhunters are paid by the client, but they’re actually more friendly to you than you think. All headhunters know that, without our candidates’ consent to go to work, we don’t get paid! Therefore, we need to negotiate a deal that YOU, the candidate, will be satisfied with. Otherwise, you don’t take the offer and we have nothing to gain.
Therefore, you should view your headhunter as a partner during the process.
However, #2. Know that MOST headhunters are not great at their job. Our industry suffers from high turnover as well as low retention. Many headhunters don’t last in our business. Many are also phonies who are just spammers and scammers. You shouldn’t agree to partner with random headhunters who you don’t know. You need to make them earn your business and the right to represent you.
Therefore, #3. You should carefully vet who you give out your intimate details to. Interview your headhunter as I show you here. Instead of avoiding all headhunters because you had one bad call, you should connect with them and interview them yourself. Above all else, don’t hate the player, learn the game.
Modern white-collar professionals who plan on working for an additional 10-15 years will no doubt come across headhunters in your careers. Some more than others, since headhunters tends to congregate in the most high-candidate-need markets such as the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field. As tempted as you are to write off all headhunters due to your need to “stay put” and how “good” things are going, don’t forget that the worst time to look for a job is when you NEED to.
So, stay on top of your network. Know, vet, and connect with headhunters IN ADVANCE of when you need to. You never know when they’ll be of use to you and your network. Part of your strength is to share your network with others so even if you aren’t ready to make a move, you should help others connect, so it’s good to know the best headhunters (if any) in your career.
If you need career advice or think that headhunting is an interesting career for you or someone you know, connect with me on LinkedIn to find out more information.
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