Love them or hate them, at some point in your life you may find yourself working with a headhunter. Let’s face it; an experienced headhunter can search more efficiently for jobs than you can. Plus, a headhunter has something you don’t have — inside job market information AND knowledge about openings that you will never see advertised.
It’s helpful to understand how a headhunter operates. Simply, their goal is to match you with the right job so they can collect their fee.
We asked Scott Craighead, a top headhunter (who is also a Mënaji Skincare fan) with the firm WTW Associates in New York to share some advice on what to expect when working with a headhunter. Here’s what he had to say.
What Is A Headhunter?
“Some headhunters will find you jobs, not all! If they are retained search professionals who fill senior level positions ($150-200k+ depending on geography) they spend most of their time building relationships with senior executives at corporations in the hopes that they will be hired to find the next senior level executive.
These firms are not motivated to find people jobs. But if they are contingency recruiters ($75-150/200k+/-), they may be more likely to help introduce you to their clients since there are more of these mid-level positions and these firms probably have more client relationships, with the demand to fill those positions more urgent. So ask how they are compensated and how they work with people looking to further their careers.”
How Should You Engage a Headhunter?
“Don’t call! Email them. Recruiters are busy and are focused on building client relationships and finding candidates. So email them your resume, tell them your current compensation, and why you’re contemplating a job change. It’s important to contact recruiters who specialize either in your function (HR, finance, marketing, tech, etc.) or industry (consumer, pharma, manufacturing, etc.). And aim high, contact the most senior person at the headhunter’s firm. If you share a mutual connection on LinkedIn, mention that as an icebreaker.
What Are Today’s Trends with Job Search?
It’s all about LinkedIn! If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you won’t get a job! Today, 277 million people have profiles with most being professional based in the U.S. This is where recruiters look for candidates. Build up your professional network of who you know on this platform since you will be viewed on both your connections + the connections who you share with recruiters and other professionals in your area of expertise.
One final note, the biggest mistake people make is that they spend too much time responding to job postings – Which is like winning the lottery, many apply, with only 1 winner (typically!). Instead, identify companies of interest and approach them directly — email the person to whom you’d report, suggest a phone discussion, should it go well, circle back in a week and suggest getting together. Building a relationship with a potential boss may take time but it can pay off in the long run and having the right job is generally worth the wait.