Headhunting

Headhunting; a compliment or harassment?

These days there seems to be numerous negative comments and blogs about recruiters with it appearing to be open season on dissing the recruiter and the work they do.   Are recruiters the bottom of the bottom?

Recruiters have a bad reputation, and let us be honest about it – just like HR folks, used-car salespeople and attorneys, that bad reputation was earned. Nearly every job-seeker has a story about being spurned, mistreated, dissed or ignored by a recruiter. That doesn’t mean that every headhunter or third-party recruiter is an aggressive, greedy villain.

Plenty of ethical and hard-working search partners put brilliant job-seekers together with forward-looking hiring managers every day.  Whether an internal or agency recruiter, their commodity is talent. They are engaged to find suitable people that fit a brief for a company that either doesn’t have the time, network or ability to find suitable candidates themselves.

How do recruiters find talent? Via on-line job boards, newspaper and magazine advertising their existing database or via their network.   Job boards are only good for finding active candidates looking to make a move. Newspaper ads are mostly government roles and with a long lead time for sourcing candidates this way, makes it ineffective for many companies and roles. Many times above the line advertising is a branding exercise for the employer and/or the recruitment company.

For the most part, most recruiters work within a specific industry or job function and very few are generalists, (meaning they recruit across all industry/job function). Being a sector specialist brings benefits to both candidate and hiring manager, with the recruiter being able to add real value to their clients and candidates.

What does it take to become a sector expert? Talking and networking with a lot of people in the industry/sector they specialise in. They need to nurture and build their network and find out who’s who in the zoo. A senior recruiter can have up to a thousand candidates/people they continuously communicate with. One third are happily employed, a third are not looking but open to future opportunities and the final third are actively looking to make a move. It takes time to build a network of suitable candidates and clients in a sector. To do this they need to talk to a lot of people and build long lasting relationships with both candidates and employers.

Dealing with a recruiter is kind of like paying your insurance premium, no one wants to pay the premium or entertain a call from a recruiter when things are going well. But when things change they can become your best friend. In the current market of downsizing and offshoring is it such a bad thing to spend a couple of minutes talking to a recruiter when they call?

If a recruiter makes a call or sends you an email to introduce themselves or ask for your help why not take a couple of minutes and see what they want or need. If you can assist, great, if not, then advise so. Take the opportunity and ask them what they specialise in and their background as it might be of benefit in the future for you or someone else you know.

To discuss or learn more give Michael Boyd a call on +61 400 454 019 at Career Crossroads International Pty Ltd, www.careercrossroadsintl.com and Student2Career Pty Ltd, www.student2career.com . We assist graduates through to executives to fulfil their career goals and aspirations.

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