October 8, 2008

Tuesday Tips: How to Hire a Headhunter

Let’s face it.  This isn’t the easiest time to be looking for a job.

One way to get a leg up in this super competitive (some might say "seized up") job market is with the assistance of a headhunter.

A headhunter, also known as a recruiter, will work with you to find the right job with the right company.  Headhunters are often tapped by firms to find new executives job search. These professionals will then go out to find and recruit seniors level people to join a new company.

Most of you, however, aren’t in the position right now to be tapped by headhunters. You can still get access to the professional services of a headhunter, though, by sending in your resume and setting up a meeting with a local headhunter.

Who Pays a Headhunter?
Recruiters are typically paid by the company, rather than the employee.  If IBM is looking for a new Assistant VP of Marketing, IBM will contract a headhunter to identify and recruit a group of stellar candidates.  When IBM hires one of these candidates, the headhunter gets paid.  And the job seeker get a great new job!

How Do You Find a Headhunter?
To find the right recruiter for your, start by zeroing in on the industry you want to work in. Headhunters specialize their services in specific fields — whether that’s technology, finance, medicine or sports.

* To find the right recruiter for your field, contact your industry’s professional association; it will likely have a list of recruiters by region or even state.

* Network with colleagues outside of your company. They might know about new jobs opening up — and which recruiter is looking to fill them.

* If you are looking for your first job, set up a meeting with your campus Career Planning Center. These counselors can help you hook up with local or industry-specific recruiters.

* Get online and start checking out Internet directories.  Here are some good places to start:

Interview the Interviewer
Once you have identified headhunters within your industry (and geographic location), the next step is to set up meetings with each of them.

When you are sitting together, remember that you are interviewing the headhunter as much as he or she is interviewing you. Ask the recruiter about his or her process and track record.  Check references. Make sure that you have confidence and trust in this person.

Keep Pounding the Pavement
Even once you have found the right headhunter, you cannot rest on your laurels.  Yes, your recruiter is actively looking for a job for you.  But he or she does not have access to every job every where.  That’s why you must continue to be extremely active in your job search, which means constantly networking, checking job boards and sending off resumes.

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