If you have considered working with a third party recruiter, executive recruiter or headhunter for your job search you’ve likely wondered how the process works and what is in it for the recruiter.
I asked Charlie Brown, recruiting manager with Robert Half Finance and Accounting in Lexington, to address some common myths associated with working with third party recruiters.
The titles of headhunter, executive recruiter and third party recruiter are often are used interchangeably, Brown said. Headhunters typically do “pinpoint recruiting” which involves a candidate search for a professional with a very specific experience and skill set defined by the company, also referred to as the client. Like a headhunter, an executive recruiter does similar candidate searches, but with a focus on executive level positions. A third party recruiter may recruit candidates for temporary, temp-to-hire or full-time/permanent employment opportunities.
Myth 1: A headhunter’s goal is to find a job for you.
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Actually, Brown said, a third party recruiter’s primary goal is to “be the absolute best resource possible for their candidates and clients. This goal is achieved by establishing strong working relationships build on trust, and to fully understand the needs and desires of the candidate and client.”
Ultimately, a headhunter seeks the perfect match between a candidate and opportunities provided by clients. Third party recruiters often advise job seekers on market trends and best hiring practices such as valuable interview techniques and resume feedback.
Remember, your jobs search is ultimately your responsibility, but recruiters can certainly help move the process along.
Myth 2: Job seekers will likely have to pay fees for headhunting services.
Brown advises that candidates should not pay for recruiting services. A third party recruiter should be a free resource for job seekers. Company clients, not candidates, pay headhunters.
Myth 3: Headhunters are seeking the best candidate at the lowest salary.
A headhunter’s job is not to seek the most qualified candidate at the lowest salary for the particular company client. Brown said, “A successful direct-hire/permanent-placement recruiter (headhunter) sets the following goals: find the best job for their candidate and find the most qualified candidate for their client, based upon specific desires.”
Brown described the current market as candidate driven given the decreasing unemployment rate. This means that it is critical for companies to pay at least market value to retain talent.
Another interesting fact: Sometimes third party recruiters do not disclose the company name during the search. Brown said that in some cases companies will want their search to be confidential. For example, an executive may plan to retire or move to another role, but not yet want that information shared publicly. In those cases, confidentiality is important to the client. Once the search is no longer confidential the headhunter will, of course, share the client name.
When asked what advice for job seekers utilizing headhunting services, Brown suggested candidates be honest. Do not exaggerate qualifications, education, salary information, etc. He also suggested candidates work with a recruiter that specializes in the industry or type of work you are seeking. For example, Brown focuses primarily on accounting and finance opportunities.
Remember to treat headhunters in the same way you would treat a hiring manager of a company; have a positive attitude, follow up consistently, and remain professional at all times.
Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Counselor by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization. Join her on LinkedIn or email her at Amanda.Goldsmith@uky.edu.