Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is a "headhunter" or "recruiter"?

Job Headhunters And Recruiters
What is a "headhunter" or "recruiter"?
A headhunter is actually a professional placement specialist or executive recruiter. What they do is they get a request, typically from a client company, and the company will say, "We're looking for an executive or a professional who can do XYZ. Please help us find this individual." The executive recruiter at that point will either go into their database of candidates and/or they will actually recruit or headhunt at other companies to find the most appropriate individual or individuals they can introduce to their client company, and hopefully get them placed.

How does a headhunter or recruiter get paid?
Typically a headhunting company will be paid by the client company, and that's always the way that you want to go if you're an applicant. So if you are thinking of using an executive recruiter or headhunting firm to help you with your job hunt, be sure to ask them, "Are you employer paid or are you applicant paid?" And the most reputable headhunting firms are going to be company paid.

What are guidelines for working with a headhunter or recruiter?
With job headhunters and recruiters, the most important thing to remember about working with a headhunter is that they are in the business of sales. Headhunters make their money by every placement that they make. Most reputable executive recruiting companies are the ones who have good relationships with high quality client companies and who are looking to recruit top level people. Therefore it's very, very important when you're interviewing with those types of companies to find out what their track record is and what types of companies they typically work with. Do they have areas of specialization that they place? It is very important because obviously if you're in accounting, you don't want to be recruited to be working with an executive recruiting company who places people in the healthcare field. So you must ask recruiters a lot of questions.

What are guidelines for working with a headhunter or recruiter?
A good head-hunter or executive recruiter is going to spend the time to really get to know you and what your needs, goals and objectives are; not just for the short term, but also for your long term career plans. The last thing that an executive recruiter wants to do is place a candidate with the client company (remember that the client company is the one paying the bill) and then have one or both parties be unhappy after a few months. They are really looking for that long term win-win relationship, between the candidate and the client company. So, if you paint a very honest picture for the recruiter you're working with, he or she can then take that picture of you to the client company and that's going to ensure that long term success for you.

How do I find a headhunter?
With job headhunters and recruiters, the best way to find a really good headhunter is through referral. Find some other people who have worked with a headhunter and get the name of the specific recruiter that they have worked with. Additionally, you can also call around to other employment agencies and find out what types of relationships they might have with executive recruiters. Certainly you can go to the internet but you might not always get an honest picture of who this company is going to be, so your best bet is to contact recruiters armed with a lot of questions. And be sure that those recruiters answer your questions to your satisfaction.