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You Are Here: Career Resources > Job Search > Relating With a Headhunter

Relating With a Headhunter

It always pays to network, whenever you can, with a headhunter. No one else will be able to teach you how to get a new job, or even prepare for a job interview than someone whose job is to look for jobs for other people. Not to mention the probability that no one else will be able to match you up best with a good job that not only matches your skills and needs, but your personality as well. What's more, most headhunters offer their services to you (the jobhunter) for free, as they get paid by the companies that hire them to find good talent. The secret of benefiting well from a good headhunter's valuable and free service is to have your resume make it to his current database.

In general, you have to remember that headhunters do not look for jobs in the way that jobhunters do. If you want really connect with a good headhunter (and eventually have your resume saved in his office PC), you've got to understand well how he or she works. Below are some facts and tips that might help you out in dealing with a headhunter:

  • Most headhunters specialize in a certain field.

Some will deal exclusively with requirements in the IT field, while others specialize in filling in Sales Positions for client firms. Be sure you're hooking up with the right one.

  • Be sure your resume spells out skills that read clearly.

Its imperative that you state clearly and explicitly what kind of skills you can offer. Your resume is not being read by an HR professional in a company you're applying for; its being read by someone with an eye for skill. Trim your resume to the essentials, do away with the personal tidbits, don't waste the headhunter's reading time. Be sure that your resume can be easily classified according to skill, level of experience, etc.

  • Good Headhunters do not play the "numbers game".

They don't succeed in filling in positions by sending as many resumes as they can for each single opening. They do so by finding the good few that match, then briefing them on what the company needs. These people do not hunt using high-powered shotguns; they source out requirements and candidates with a single-shot sniper-rifle attitude. This means that they work hard for each vacancy they need to fill, so they expect you to do so as well in return. Listen well to their advice whenever they coach you for the interview, because it will benefit you both.

  • If you were set up for an interview by a good headhunter, expect more than HR.

Don't always expect an interview from HR or Personnel. Headhunters usually go directly to the department heads who head those divisions that need people, so expect to be drilled heavily on your skills. If you're an IT professional looking for greener fields, expect a lot of your interviews set up by headhunters to be with IT Managers, CIOs, database Administrators, etc. And chances are in this situation, you're not being rated here on your interviewing skills; you're being considered for your working skills.

  • Look for recruiting firms on jobsites and submit your resumes there as well.

These firms, populated by headhunters, always welcome new resumes to grace their resume banks. They usually go by the name "Executive Search Firm", "Consultants" or "Placement Agency". This is also always the first database they consult before sourcing out for more resumes in other places, like jobsites.

  • Be prepared to go "all the way".

When you get set up for an interview, go. And be prepared to leave for a new job when this happens. When you bail out on a headhunter after you get accepted by his or her client, chances are you'll get blacklisted for wasting the headhunter's time and effort. Remember, it's the headhunter's job you're talking about here, and in the same manner that you wouldn't want your work (and in most instances, reputation) to be slacked by other people who don't deliver. Don't ask them to submit your resume and work hard to set you up when you're not actively looking for new employment. If you've been set up for a job or company you'd rather not leave your current job for, politely ask the headhunter to pass you over until the next requirement that matches.



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