To use a headhunter or not to use a headhunter…

I remember being asked this question by a candidate during the crazy days of 2006.  Our country was in the middle of an economic boom.  The 9/11 economic hangover was fading and dot-com bust was a memory.  I made a recruit call one afternoon and a candidate asked me why he would use a headhunter when he could walk across the street and get an offer at pretty much any firm he chose.  After I squelched the urge to hang up on the egotistical candidate with the holier-than-thou attitude, I realized it was a fair question in his mind even if it sounded arrogant.  Why would you use a headhunter?  The old what’s in-it-for me…

  1. Hollywood personalities and Sports Stars have an agent negotiating their contracts while they do what they do best- why wouldn’t you want someone negotiating to help you get the best offer while you are focusing on your job?
  2. When you go on an interview on your own, you are walking in blind.  A good recruiter will give you the inside scoop on the personalities of the people you will meet, the hot buttons of the hiring managers and more information than you can glean from a corporate website.
  3. A good recruiter can help you mentally prepare to nail the interview.  We always get such positive feedback from our candidates on our interview prep because the comfort level increases with knowledge.

The key component to all of this is the phrase “a good recruiter”.  It is very important to work with a recruiter that you like and more importantly that you trust.  As with all industries, there are professional and ethical recruiters who know the marketplace, who are masters of their niche, and will look out for your best interests…..and there are those who do not.

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