Executive Recruiting
The truth about executive recruiting: Can headhunters really help your job search?
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The truth about executive recruiting: Can headhunters really help your job search?

Most people believe that executive recruiting professionals such as headhunters hold the key to a successful job search. This belief is based on a common misunderstanding of how recruiters are paid: executive recruiting professionals are not paid to help people with their job search – headhunters are actually paid to fill open positions by the companies doing the hiring. Although this may seem like only a subtle difference at first glance, the ramifications for an average job search can be huge.

Executive recruiting firms and their individual headhunters are paid by client companies looking for candidates, not by candidates completing a job search.

Executive recruiting firms and their headhunters are paid by their client companies to help them find suitable candidates, not by candidates who are looking for help with a job search. This common misunderstanding can lead to a lot of frustration on the part of both the job seeker and their recruiter. Many times when a job seeker gives their resume to a recruiter they expect that the recruiter will go out and try to find them a job, as well as provide immediate and frequent follow-ups. When they aren't called back right away, many people think that either the headhunter forgot about them or that they just weren’t good enough to warrant a return call.

In reality, most executive recruiting offices receive hundreds of resume submissions per day. Their headhunters enter each one into a database for future reference, but they just don’t have the time to follow-up with every job search hopeful. When they are hired by a company to fill a position, they go to their database and search for the most qualified candidates. They will then contact only the most promising ones, which means most people in their database don’t get called until an opening comes along for which they would be a perfect fit. This is what leads to long wait-times between calls from a recruiter.

Keeping in mind the volume of resumes that executive recruiting firms and their headhunters deal with, a candidate might serve their job search better by sending their resume to a smaller firm. These firms will have just as many contacts and will be able to get them just as high a salary as a large firm could. Even if they don’t have any qualified leads at the moment, they may be able to take the time to open a dialogue with candidates regarding their career goals and future plans.

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