How to hire a headhunter to find a job

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How to hire a headhunter to find a job

As a career coach, I get asked by job seekers several times a month, “where can I hire a head hunter to find a job for me?”

This question often comes from job seekers who are either tired and worn out by the job search or by job seekers who are uninformed about how to find a job in today’s job market.

What job seekers don’t realize is that “headhunters” are not hired by job seekers  or candidates they are hired exclusively by companies and organizations.  When I tell job seekers this they then follow-up asking “why don’t headhunters work for candidates, you know like an agent does?”  Here is what I tell them based on some market research I did.

First I looked back to see if there ever was such a service – what I found was that about 15 years ago there were 2 firms in the Twin Cities market claiming to do this.  They charged clients upwards of $20,000 and didn’t place anyone.  Both firms closed under the pressure of the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General for making false claims.

Second, I looked at the market to see which professions do use “agents.” What I found was that very specialized professionals like actors and models and very high wage earners like  professional athletes use agents.   The typical job seeker is neither of those.

Then I even asked my colleagues who are recruiters, “why can’t candidates hire you directly to find them jobs?” The response was, candidates aren’t typically willing to pay a headhunter 30% of their base salary to find them a job.

I asked my Human Resource colleagues what they thought about job candidates hypothetically being presented to them by an agent.  They universally said that they would want to deal directly with the candidate because how a candidate presence themselves and approaches their search is very telling as to what kind of employee they would be.  They also noted that they like to see a candidates hustle in the job search vs sitting back and having an agent do all the work.

And lastly from a career coach’s perspective, when prospective clients ask us if we would work as agents and find them jobs, I ask them if they would be willing to pay 30% of their base salary for such a service.  Their response, ” if I can pay you once I land.”  I reply, ” we would then no longer be a career coaching firm, we’d be a collection agency.”


About the Author:

Cultivating Careers was founded by Karen Kodzik, a Career Consultant who has worked with individuals in transition for over 13 years. Karen meets professionals at various points on their career path and works with them to gain a clearer sense of where they want to take their careers. Karen Kodzik holds a Masters Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Karen couples seasoned counseling skills with a solid business acumen. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries to successfully reaching that next point in their career.