How to find a headhunter or recruitment agency

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Headhunters and Recruitment Agencies

Conducting a job search and you require some extra help to achieve your goals? A search firm, an employment agency, or a headhunter can offer the kind of help that you require. However, you must begin by taking the time to know the chief differences between them. Understanding their differences will enable you to establish the resources that they can all offer.

For most people, the terms used to refer to the companies and the people that make their living from helping job candidates to achieve their dreams are confusing. The issue is further compounded when some of these firms choose to employ the terms in an interchangeable manner.

Nonetheless, the most essential factors that you need to understand about employment agencies includes:

  • Who is the specialist working for, is it you, or is it the company?
  • Who will need to pay them (the employer or yourself)?
  • What kind of assistance can they offer that other services or people can’t manage to offer?

Types of Employment Agencies

The first thing you need to do during a job search is to differentiate between the various players available in the recruitment world. Try to understand each player, including determining their role in this industry before hiring a recruitment agency or headhunter to assist with your job search.

1. Headhunter/Recruiter

A search consultant, headhunter, or recruiter refers to the professional that you will be working with, in the course of your search.

Alternatively, you could also apply for a job opening or send your professional resume for a certain job position that the recruiter intends to fill.

Pro Tip: A headhunter looking to recruit you may approach you and request you to apply for a job opening in a company that they represent.

2. Search Firm/ Executive Search Firm

An executive search firm can be skill-specific (e.g., information technology or accounting) or industry-specific (e.g., retail or banking). For this, there exist 2 kinds of agencies:

1. Retained Search Firm: This kind of company is one that tends to have exclusive partnerships with companies. Often, these are used when recruiting for senior-level positions where the recruiter is provided with a specific timeline to fill an opening. The retained search firm gets their expenses paid, in addition to getting a percentage of what the employee will earn. They get to earn money regardless of whether that candidate is hired or not.

2. Contingency Employment Agency: Contingency agencies get to make money when the candidates they had recruited are hired by the manager. Companies in this category are mostly used when conducting low-and midlevel employee searches. In certain cases, the employer may require them to forward a large batch of employee resumes.

3. Employment Agency

A typical employment agency is one that will help job seekers to find some work. It helps to make advance inquiries to determine whether the firm will charge you. Some are paid by the company looking for employees. In most cases, it will not make any economic sense to use an agency that will charge the job seeker.

How to Find a Recruitment Agency or a Headhunter

Recruitment agencies are good resources when a person is searching for a job. In the course of your career, chances are that you have already interacted with some headhunters. Unlike your conventional hunter, a headhunter isn’t someone you will find clad in camo. This makes it easier for you to spot them on platforms such as LinkedIn.

Recruiters or headhunters are merely middlemen whose job description includes connecting hiring employers to suitable job candidates. From this, you can easily get to see how a headhunter can be considered a job candidate’s closest friend. The main question here is: how will a recruiter know that you are in the market for a job?

1. Ensure that Your Presence is Known

Candidates with active LinkedIn profiles are already off to a great beginning. According to a 2017 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report, social networks act as great talent sources, in addition to internal hires and referrals. What this means is that if you aren’t currently working in a company or have access to personal connections, you should do what you can to utilize social networks.

Having perfected your LinkedIn profile, the next step is to head over to your dashboard. Try to locate the “Career Interest” category and change your job status to “Actively Applying.” It’s a move meant to inform recruiters that you are open to listening to new offers.

As you continue to explore personal preferences, you will also need to make updates that reflect the industries and job titles you have an interest in. This will also include specifying the preferred company size, type of work, and job location. It’s the kind of information that enables a recruiter to determine whether a candidate is a good logistical fit.

2. Make Your LinkedIn Profile a Target

Having informed recruiters that you are open to receiving offers, the next step is to provide your LinkedIn profile with some much-needed juice. You can achieve this by properly optimizing it for the keywords in your industry. Note that there doesn’t exist an exact science that can assist you to establish which keywords are the best to target in your job search.

You should, nonetheless, think about the skills and experiences that recruiters might be targeting. Sift through past job descriptions of your target industry to enable you to familiarize yourself with common hot-button keywords. Make sure that your profile features all these buzzwords.

Additionally, try to update your profile on a biannual basis with new job descriptions, promotions, or job titles.

3. Take Stock of Your Current Surroundings

As you continue waiting for the recruiters to come to you, you should also feel free to engage in some headhunting yourself. Consider approaching recruiters who may be best placed to assist you with the job search. Even though the process of locating and choosing a recruiter tends to be time-intensive, your focus should be on ensuring that you make all the correct connections.

A search for headhunters can take on several approaches:
I. For candidates that would prefer to work for a given company, they are advised to use LinkedIn and other related tools to check whether they have internal recruiters/headhunters.
II. If you would prefer to work in a general industry, e.g., marketing or media, your best bet is to work with external headhunting firms and agencies which often work with many employers. Check whether there are local firms in your area before connecting with national agencies.

4. Strive to Make Meaningful Connections

You must make some personal connections, regardless of whether you are the one reaching out to recruiters or vice-versa. An important rule of thumb for all the job-seekers is to ensure that you always respond.

A recruiter may contact you with what they deem the ideal position for you. However, after going through the provided description, you may conclude that this job isn’t what you want. Rather than choosing to ignore this inquiry, be sure to respond. A good response will involve thanking the recruiter, and then furnishing them with details related to your career goals.

Candidates interested in reaching out to recruiters will need to follow this same etiquette. Start by introducing yourself and then sharing your job experiences. Finish by letting the recruiter know your intentions. This approach can be applied by considering a coffee meet up or a get-to-know-you phone call.

Try to make the meetup or the phone call personal to improve your chances of being remembered when a job opening does come around.

5. Survey Your Current Situation

As with everything else in life, there are numerous pros and cons that come with working headhunters. What’s the most important thing that you have to remember when working with a headhunter? Even though the recruiter could be your closest friend in your search for a job, keep in mind that they will still earn an income whenever they send a candidate to an employer.

It’s why it’s recommended that you consider taking a step back every once in a while to survey your current situation. This will assist in ensuring that your interests remain at the front of the line at all times. While the headhunter may have done their best to sell you the available position, ask yourself whether this is what you want?

As a candidate, you shouldn’t shy off from doing some digging of your own or from asking questions you consider crucial.

6. Routinely Practice Your Networking Skills

Patience is an important quality when searching for a job. You shouldn’t deem yourself a failure if headhunters don’t come rushing to you upon announcing your availability. Become persistent and at the same time be willing to take an initiative. Apart from following up with the headhunters and recruitment agencies, you will also need to keep your professional profiles, e.g., LinkedIn updated at all times.

In most cases, the efforts you apply to your job search will pan-out in no time.

Wrap up

A headhunter get make your next job search a more time-efficient experience should your role be specialized. Make sure to do your due diligence work while looking for an agency or headhunter so that you are able to find one whereby you can build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.