1. We don’t really work for you. “We work on commission for the hiring company,” says Julie Labrie, president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions in Toronto. That means headhunters will always be more interested in making their clients happy than finding you the best possible job or pay package. In fact, headhunters are paid up to 22% of your first year’s salary by the hiring company for placing you.
2. That job we advertised isn’t available. Some headhunters keep appealing jobs listed that aren’t vacant anymore. What they’re trying to do is build a stable of candidates at the expense of anxious job hunters, raising false hopes at an already tense time “Only apply to the freshest positions—not something posted six months ago,” advises Labrie.
3. Your friends will probably be more helpful. Networking is always the best way to find employment. Surveys consistently show that nearly 27% of respondents said referrals were the biggest factor in external hires, while headhunters account for only 5%. Always be sure to send emails to close friends and colleagues to see if they know of any opportunities.
4. I can jeopardize your current job. If your headhunter has your current employer as a client, your resume my unexpectedly land on your boss’s desk—and you could be out of a job. “Always ask if your current employer is also your recruiter’s client,” says professional resume writer and career empowerment advocate Annette Richmond. “If they are, don’t work with them.”
5. Until last year, I was a car salesman. There are no rules regulating headhunters, so opening up shop is pretty easy. “There’s no certification, and there’s no licensing body,” says Richmond. A good recruiter specializes in a certain industry, goes out of his or her way to understand your career goals, and keeps you up to date on what’s happening with job openings—calling you at least every three days.