You are a trusting person. You believe head hunters actually have an employer that matches your background and experience. You think you know this because the person calling you seems to know more about you than you expected.
Highly educated and experienced professionals do not know what some Recruiting Firms do to make money when times are tough. You need a job and some firms imply they have a job or a job lead so you will come see them giving them time to sell you job placement services (counseling) for a fee; sometimes a huge fee.
Let’s take a look at 3 deadliest mistakes professionals make when they receive a call from a head hunter.
3rd Biggest Mistake – You have not prepared a written job search plan. If you did you would list many different channels of distribution of your background and experience (your resume) including the names of reputable search firms whose mission is to work only for employers and not candidates.
2nd Biggest Mistake – You go see a recruiting firm without first finding out “how they make money” and all there is to know about the company (other than their paid website). You are not positive they actually have a paid search for a person with your education, background, and experience. You don’t know if the firm gets paid by both candidates and employers. You have not looked up the firm in the most recent online edition of the Kennedy Directory of Executive Recruiters available free at most public libraries.
1st Biggest Mistake – You don’t ask the firm’s (headhunter) representatives the right questions. Here are some:
1) “Are you a retained or contingency type firm?”
2) “If you do both types of searches, what other services do you provide to employers and candidates?”
3) “When you counsel those looking for jobs, do you get paid by the candidate and the candidate’s new employer?”
“If you do, will you refund the candidate what she paid you?” “Will you put that in writing?” If you don’t get the answers you want, end the conversation.
What to do instead: Be so well informed before you talk to search firms that you will sound confident and competent on the phone. Most reputable such firms will be impressed with your professionalism and hope they can help you connect with a great employer so that when you land the job you will later use them to find new people to join your team.