As I was getting out of the Navy, I enlisted the help of a headhunter agency who specifically helped Officers get jobs with Fortune 500 companies. I had no clue as to what was going on outside of the big grey war ship I was working on. What is a headhunter? Headhunter firms approach companies offering to prescreen potential candidates for jobs prior to interviews at the actual companies. Services range from simply marketing your resume to specific companies to holding your hand through the entire process. I’m going to talk about the full-service kind.
The headhunting process is a lot like Patty Stranger’s Millionaire Matchmaker process. A headhunter will start by marketing to potential candidates. They offer wonderful services such as resume writing, interview preparation and even interview wardrobe guidance. They actually know the types of questions you are going to be asked by their client companies and they will coach you.
The headhunter will interview you to find your interests, strengths, experience, location preferences, salary requirements etc. They are really good at picking up on marketable qualities that you yourself may not even be aware of. Once you’ve been type-casteded, you will be presented with some job options. You will select the ones you like and then its time for grooming.
The headhunter will provide presentations either with or on the behalf of the companies’ hiring staff. They will give you a feeling of work culture and job responsibilities. These presentations are made to make your mouth water. Then comes time for the specific training for each of your interviews. I remember in the pharmaceutical industry job interviews it was common to be presented with, “I want to buy a pen. Sell me this pen.” The untrained responce would include something like, “oh, this pen writes smoothly and activates easily with a click!” The interviewer is looking for someone who responds, “well, what kind of pen are you looking for?” The interviewer then gives parameters of their ideal pen and the candidate presents the pen in that fashion requested. Trust me, I had no idea how to properly pass that test. The headhunter is going to get you to the level of sophistication required.
Then come the actual interviews with your selected companies. After each interview the headhunter will talk to you and the potential employer to see how it went. The company will most likely contact you directly with any follow-on information such as a second interview or to turn you down. Once the job offer is in place, you have officially been accepted by the company to be hired. This is when negotiation can and should take place. I will talk about that in a later post. Headhunters can even assist you in getting the most out of your negotiations. They can even talk to a company to encourage more compensation if the company wants you and you are on the fence. Now that you have an offer that you love, you accept the offer. Congratulations!
So, how does a headhunter make money? The headhunter is compensated when the company hires you. The compensation is usually a percentage of your salary and is not paid out until 3 months or so of consistent employment.
Why should I use a Headhunter and why they are awesome :
1. Their services are FREE: resume writing, interview coaching, negotiation wardrobe prepping.
2. They have a foot in the door with companies. Use that connection!
3. They act as a middle man to get you a job-they do a lot of work for you. Its in his or her best interest to get you hired!
4. You want to try a new job genre where you have ZERO direct experience. Headhunters will be able to get you in front of these employers based on selling your applicable experience and putting their name on the line.
Some things to consider:
1. You are limited to the companies they can offer and the ones THE HEADHUNTER thinks you will fill. Yes, they are incentivized to get you hired. No, they are not incentivized to make your dream job come true. There could be jobs they have that are not offered to you based on the headhunter’s needs to fill.
2. These are jobs are out in the market, not ones you get through “who you know.” (discussed in an upcoming article) There may be something else out there that they just don’t work with.
So, after multiple screenings by my headhunter firm, they offered me a job as a headhunter. What?! Well, thank goodness, because I was beginning to wonder why they had been screening me for so long and really withholding potential job positions!! I had started in the direction of working with other headhunting firms! I took the job and learned the secret world of jobs that I will be sharing with you.
Have you used a headhunter? What were their strengths/weaknesses? What specific opportunities were you given?