During my last year of graduate school, I (and many others like me) became the prime target of a band of ruthless, money hungry headhunters.
Not the kind trying to separate my head from my body, but the kind that wanted to make money from the knowledge stored in my brain. Naturally, I wanted to do the same thing considering I had spent all those years in college and I had student loans to repay.
Since our interests were mutually beneficial — me getting a job ASAP and them working like mad for a finder’s fee — I decided to work with them.
At first, I was skeptical about their efficacy, as well as if it was in my best interests having someone who I didn’t know calling up human resource managers telling them how awesome my skills were and how beneficial of an employee I would be. Hindsight being 20-20, those fears were incredibly unfounded considering a solid headhunter is often viewed as a strategic asset to a hiring manager, and their confidence in a potential “new hire” can be exactly what you need to set you apart from a stack of faceless resumes.
In my case, headhunters helped me land two different positions that I’m quite certain I would never have gotten (much less known about) without their assistance. They were that valuable!
Reasons you should use a headhunter/recruiter
- A headhunter’s services are free for job seekers. Most headhunters are paid a percentage of your first year’s annual salary by the company who hires you. You do not pay a single cent.
- Recruiters only get paid when you get hired. A recruiter’s number one goal is to get you hired. Until that happens, they don’t get paid. So they will do their very best to educate you, prepare you, and coach you through all aspects of the interview and hiring process.
- Minimal time investment on your part. You will only be required to invest a small amount of time to get a headhunter working on your behalf. Perhaps a twenty minute phone conversation to get them acquainted with your skills, relocation preferences, and a general “get to know you” conversation.
- Let someone do the leg work for you. Instead of randomly applying to every job posting on Careerbuilder.com, allow someone else to do all of that for you. Headhunters will likely know the human resources managers and/or hiring managers directly, so instead of being another faceless resume in a stack of eager applicants, give the recruiter the chance to sell your skills directly to the people making the hiring decisions. Let them become your cheerleader!
- Good recruiters have a ton of industry contacts. If you work with a seasoned recruiter, or one that works within a recruiting agency, they will know dozens (hopefully hundreds) of hiring managers who work within your field. If you don’t get the first position you interviewed for, they will likely have a few more in mind or know of several more that will open up in the future.
- Headhunters can get you a higher salary. If you’re lacking in negotiating skills or fearful of asking for more money, a headhunter can be a great middleman. Not only does his paycheck get bigger, but he probably knows exactly how far to push your potential employer in terms of your compensation.
- A recruiter can help you improve your interview skills. It’s in a recruiter’s best interest that you get hired, and they will probably know the types of questions you will face in an upcoming interview. Anyone can answer the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question, but they will likely know specific questions your interviewers will ask once you get on site. Think of it like knowing the exam questions prior to taking the exam.
- Headhunters have access to unpublished or hidden jobs. There are a few companies who prefer to keep some of their prized job openings out of view to the general public. They do this various reasons, but if you don’t have access to these jobs or know they exist, you certainly can’t interview for them. Having a headhunter with access to these jobs is probably one of the few ways you can get access to these jobs.
- Confidentiality can be crucial. In the new world of social media, it’s not a far fetched possibility that your current employer could find out your searching for a new gig if you’ve posted your resume to every jobs board on the web. In a perfect world, your current employer wouldn’t take it as a negative, but it could certainly lead to some awkward moments in the elevator or some animosity down the road. No reason to burn bridges unless absolutely necessary.
- Recruiters share information with other recruiters. Some recruiters often trade information for the good of themselves, or for their company. So if one recruiter might not have the perfect job for you, another contact or team member might. Since the first objective is to get you a job, all parties win in the end.
As you can probably guess, I’m highly in favor of using a recruiter to complement your job search regardless if you’re a 20s something college grad or a 20 year industry veteran. Their networking ability and expertise is far too valuable to ignore.
From my own experiences, I received a 15% to 20% salary increase each time I used them and I never went into an interview without being extremely well prepared. They are, in my humble opinion, a must have in any job search.
How about you? Have you had a similar experience? Perhaps a horror story? Please share in the comments section below.