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Headhunters 101: How They Can Help You Find Your Dream Job

A headhunter? Billy the Kid called and he wants his lingo back! The term headhunter sounds like something related to the Wild West, so let's use that metaphor for our overview of modern-day, professional headhunters.  

Wanted: Dead or Alive

A headhunter is a person who gets paid to find potential employees for a company. Unlike recruiters or job consultants, headhunters are actively involved in the search. In our Wild West imagery, recruiters and job consultants are like sheriffs and deputies, as they mainly focus on workplace renegades with issued warrants. In other words, a recruiter will overview searching job applicants and connect the right applicant with the right company. Headhunters act like a posse, actively and aggressively pursuing anyone who may potentially become Wanted. They are on the look for the best potential employees, no matter where these might be: currently working, searching for a new job, or finishing the educational process.  

Them there hills are headhunter country!

Because headhunters get their reward not only by matching the company with the right hire, but also by presenting a worthy list of options for the business to choose from, they can mostly be spotted in industries that can afford to pay for a good potential employee selection. This typically includes fields such as medical, technological, engineering, finances or higher levels of general business. However, headhunters are becoming increasingly popular and their use more wide spread.  

Sniff the tracks!

If you want to turn yourself to justicethat is get that great jobmake sure you lead the right headhunter onto your trail. But remember, headhunters leave tracks behind as well. You will want to examine their tracks to see, where do these lead. Although headhunters may work on either a contingency or retained basis, they never search out of their own accord, but rather represent a company or organization and their search requirements. This means that headhunters are mainly interested in how precisely a possible applicant matches the company's requirements, and much less focused on the overall aptitude of the applicant.  After all, headhunters are not like sheriffs and deputies, they work for themselves and turning you over for a reward is more important to them than actually bringing you to justice. In fact, even if you get a headhunter pursuing you, your chances of landing a job are still only about 15-30%. So, make sure that your headhunter has a good record to show for.

Lead 'em to your tracks!

But remember that headhunters do not work for you. Their job is not to match qualified job searchers with good jobs. They operate in the style of "we'll find you if we need you, but don't go looking for us." However, there are ways you can help attract a headhunter to your tracks by making your presence in the professional sphere loud and clear. Participate in seminars and find opportunities to speak publicly. Create good networking ties in the industry and be on a lookout for a valuable mentor. If a mentor is a well-known professional figure, his or her proteges will automatically become a point of interest for many headhunters. Also, maintain a strong presence in the online world. Start a professional blog to show your knowledge, skills and innovative ideas. Use social networking hubs like Lindedln, which headhunters often scavenge for good candidates. Remember to keep your online presence in such places highly professional.

Don’t look the headhunters in the eyes, unless…

Many headhunters resent working with “wanna-be” job applicants. Approaching a lone headhunter at a bar stool without appropriate backup only spells trouble. Rather, contact the company of preferred employment first and ask them to provide you with contacts for their recruiters and headhunters. With a personal reference to the “boss,” the headhunter will be happy to buy you a drink.

Get the respect!

If you want to hang out with the wolves, you better learn to howl like them too. The headhunters are not looking for a work-in-progress, or a protege, they are after the real thing. Avoid all greenhorn mistakes, such as inappropriate attire, unprofessional conduct or non-confident attitude. You should treat your initial meeting with a headhunter like the actual job interview. Provide the headhunter with a well styled resume, and don’t forget to include an eye-catching summary of your credentials on the top of the cover letter or resume. Present everything that is unique to your professional path, such as your own publications, links to your appearances in media or public speaking experiences at professional seminars.

Give the headhunter a piece of your mind!

Headhunters will work for anybody and everybody. This means that they may not have expert knowledge about your industry or specific job requirements. Therefore, it is crucial that you communicate your needs and intentions well. Otherwise, you can well find yourself in a county with overcrowded jails or no presumption of innocence code.

Keep in touch!

Don’t just expect that the headhunter will do all the work for you, without your active engagement. Call your headhunter periodically to inquire about the progress of his search and about the things you could do to increase and better your chances of success.   References: // // // Writer Bio: Vita Talbott; a home-schooling mother and a part-time writer with interests in history, education, traveling, linguistics and philosophy

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