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Can a Headhunter Help You?
Employment agencies and executive search firms can supplement your job search efforts. But before you enlist the aid of a recruiter, know what you're getting yourself into.
While nothing can replace your own job search efforts, there is some help to be had. Recruiters (also called headhunters or placement specialists) can supplement your search.
The rules of the game
This relationship creates an inherent conflict of interest for headhunters. On one hand, they are motivated to develop a long-term relationship with employers by carefully screening candidates. On the other hand, some recruiters may pressure a job seeker into accepting a less-than-perfect offer just so he can collect the placement fee.
With that warning in mind, here are some tips on dealing with placement agencies and executive search firms.
Evaluate an agency before you let it represent your professional image. The best endorsement is a recommendation from someone who has used its services before. Otherwise, find out if the agency has been in the business for at least a couple years, and check the local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed.
Once you narrow down your choices, you will have preliminary interviews so that you and the recruiter can get to know each other. Ask plenty of questions to gauge his knowledge of the market. A good agency should be aware of trends and hiring practices in your field, and should be able to assess your marketability.
Executive search firms
That said, we are in a very atypical job market. Many employers are struggling to find employees, and are turning to headhunters more frequently to find qualified candidates. Recruiters are on the look-out for talent more than ever. Take advantage of this chance to get yourself noticed by a headhunter.
Again, we don't suggest you replace your own job search efforts with a recruiting service. But one of the keys to finding a position is simply getting yourself exposed to what's available, and recruiters may be able to put you in touch with job opportunities you otherwise would not have access to.
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