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Using a headhunter

#1 Using a headhunter
26/05/2010 16:19


How can one establish whether a headhunter has genuinely been engaged by a client , or is simply planning to speculatively fire off your CV for a position that the company's advertising?

To put it another way... I saw a position advertised by a headhunter, sent my CV across and had an initial phone chat with the guy. He told me who job was with, and afterwards I went on to the company's own website and saw the job advertised there - job spec was exactly the same, word for word.

After previous bad experience with headhunters, I'm tempted to apply directly to the company through their website, but I'm worried about the etiquette of this - well, not the etiquette so much as possible complications of them receiving my CV both directly and through a headhunter.

Any thoughts?

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#2 RE: Using a headhunter
26/05/2010 16:55

Mars A Day to RayBan (#1)

Even where a client has engaged a HH they will usually still take steps to try and source the role directly if possible, both as a means of reducing cost and because the advertising itself helps to raise their branding profile in the market. If the HH passed along the client's internal job specification then of course it would be identifical - it's the same document after all. What you need to pay more attention to is whether the HH is able to impart additional inisights or information about the role/company etc. Someone who is just intending to fire your CV into the nevernever without a mandate will be both unlikely to have sufficient understanding of the client and role to do this, and be likely be unwilling to invest the time in talking you through the role anyway (where would the benefit be?).

The etiquette of approaching a client direct after giving a HH permission to act on your behalf is that the client will simply honour whichever submission came first, so if the HH submitted your details with an extensive report aligning you closely to the role prior to your direct application, the HH will still be seen to be representing you. The only consequence for the applicant will that it could (and I say could not will) make you look desperate, or raise questions about your integrity as an individual, and will almost certainly make that HH think twice about contacting you again.

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#3 RE: Using a headhunter
26/05/2010 18:31

RayBan to Mars A Day (#2)

Thanks Mars for your reply. I'm meeting with the headhunter on Friday so I'll grill him thoroughly about his insight into the role and his relationship with the client (I note that his is not the only recruitment firm advertising the position).

I would certainly prefer to apply for the position directly, but to be fair I only became aware of it because the headhunter's ad, so I suppose that in that respect at least he's earning his keep.

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#4 RE: Using a headhunter
27/05/2010 08:34

Mars A Day to RayBan (#3)

Well I hope it goes well RayBan - try to keep an open mind, not all HH are sharks in pinstripes (checks to see he is not wearing pinstripe today), and if you build a good rapport with them you could make a very useful contact. Bear in mind that the minority of cowboys give the majority a bad name.

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#5 RE: Using a headhunter
02/06/2010 16:35

recruiter too to RayBan (#1)

A retained search consultant will have been paid money to find a candidate which means the employer trusts them. If the employer recruits direct they will still get a fee.

If they are NOT retained that doesn’t mean they don’t have a very strong and “value add” relationship with the employer which could be of great value to you.

The fact that they are advertising direct or using other agencies doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have a good relationship with the firm or that they aren’t happy to pay an agent’s fee.

It would be very underhand to approach the employer direct as without the agent’s (perhaps misplaced!) trust and openness you wouldn’t have known about the job, as you concede. Certainly you could kiss goodbye to that agent ever working with you again. We have candidates on files we never work with for just that reason.

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#6 RE: Using a headhunter
02/06/2010 16:47

Mars A Day to recruiter too (#5)

Recruiter Too I was assuming that the term 'engaged' was covering both retained and non-retained recruitment, the implication being that a strong relationship exists between HH and client company.

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