Recruiters & your job search.

Although most people have heard of recruiters, headhunters and search consultants, not many people have a clear sense of what it is that we do. To that end, here’s an excerpt from a fantastic article written by Valerie Fontaine and Roberta Kass, which was recently published on Find out exactly what a search consultant can (and cannot) do for you.

If you find this excerpt helpful, be sure to check out the Full Article

What a Headhunter Can Do

The benefits of using a recruiter are many. A recruiter knows who is looking, exactly what they are looking for, who to contact, and many of the specifics about the prospective employer, its business and personalities. A good recruiter will streamline the process for both the candidate and the client by narrowing the options to only those that are a reasonable match.

The recruiter will brief you and debrief you, assist you with polishing your resume and interviewing skills, hold your hand and facilitate the process from beginning to end. A recruiter is there to address the questions and concerns of both the candidate and the prospective employer and can intercede when it might be awkward for the parties to do so directly. The headhunter will keep things moving and on track. Headhunters often have access to job openings that are not publicly posted. A good recruiter also has inside information about the prospective employer’s organization and the specific position.

The recruiter’s role is to find and present the individuals who most closely meet the requirements set out by a client. Headhunters do not set the parameters of the search, and are wasting everyone’s time if they submit candidates who are not on point in virtually all respects. It is important to understand that, generally speaking, the recruiter’s clients will pay a fee only for outstanding candidates with the requisite experience plus the right personality and cultural fit.

What a Headhunter Cannot Do

A recruiter cannot create a job opening that doesn’t exist. Since the search consultant’s reputation with clients is based on presenting only candidates who are an excellent match for the job specifications, do not expect them to send your resume if it is not almost exactly on point. No matter how much your recruiter likes you, the search firm cannot afford to risk its client relationships by submitting candidates who are not appropriate for the job.

Similarly, headhunters have a difficult time representing candidates who are making a radical career transition. If you are leaving a practice area where you have lots of expertise for something new, a prospective employer may be less than enthusiastic about paying a headhunter’s fee for an unproven commodity. In that case, you would be best served by giving significant thought to your transferable skills, and approaching the employer directly. If you make a strong argument, you may convince an employer to take a risk — but your chances are greatly improved without a recruiter’s price tag attached.