8 Tips To Help Candidates Work Best With Recruiters

Note: Do your candidates really know how a search consultant works and what they can do for them that they can’t do themselves? Knowing what we do, and how to best work with a headhunter makes better candidates and can lead to quicker and easier placements, not to mention less time explaining things to novice (and even more experienced, but still naive) candidates.

In this article, Jorg Stegemann explains how candidates can best work with a recruiter. Link to this article and point your candidates to it to save yourself time and headaches.

Want to know the best ways to use a headhunter? Do you know why you should use one? A good recruiter has what you have not: inside information and knowledge of jobs that will never be advertised.

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Here are eight tips on how to choose a headhunter who will help you take your next career step:

  1. Choose a specialist rather than a generalist: If you have made your career in IT, find a headhunter who has done the same and is dealing with IT professionals daily as she will have a sound understanding of what you do for a living, what her client is looking for and how to coach you in the best way.
  2. Confidence is good, control is better: You should not disclose confidential information about your employer or yourself during the initial phone contact. The term “executive search” is not protected and there are people out there who collect resumes just to fill their database, but without any job for you. Your career is precious and should be treated that way, right?
  3. Rare goods are the most precious ones: You should not use more than three recruiters maximum. If your resume is presented to the same employer by two different headhunters (and it happens more than you might think), it is bad for you (=desperate) and for us (=no control of what we are doing).
  4. Failing to plan means planning to fail: Don’t be late or come to the interview with your recruiter (these are only sometimes required) in a dress that is inconsistent with your profession and then tell us, “Yeah right, but you are only the recruiter.” If you get us into your corner, we will fight for you!
  5. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” (Thomas Jefferson): If you lie to us or avoid telling us everything, we will usually find out by experienced questioning or during the reference check. If this happens (normally for the last salary and the reasons for leaving), the interview is over and we will never again work for you. We are like doctors: we must know everything — and then we decide what we do together.
  6. Like us or leave us: I rarely recruit candidates for my clients if I do not bond with them. After all, we are sales people and if we like you, we will fight for you. If you do not like or trust us, see someone else as it will probably be the same for us.
  7. Use us wisely: A professional recruiter will counsel you on the presentation, resume, and will prepare for the client interview with you. We already know why the guy before you did not make it, what the challenges are and what it takes to succeed in this company. We have talked to your potential boss before you. If we do not give you all this information, insist on it.
  8. Be a better networker than we are: Even the best headhunters only find a job for about one in ten candidates they meet. And if you don’t get the job we have contacted you for, make sure we call you for the next one! When your recruiter tells you, “I will call you on Friday” and then doesn’t, call them. Remind us of our commitment;  be strong and remind us of your existence every six weeks or so by sending an email, a LinkedIn message or industry information (“Mary, I found this article and thought of you. Best, Jorg”).

Conclusion: A professional headhunter with solid business ethics will be much more efficient in your job search than you alone. We are both looking for the same jobs: you for yourself and we for our candidates. Use us wisely and we can be a catalyst for your career.

Jorg Stegemann is the CEO of Kennedy Executive Search & Consulting, one of the top 25 networks of independent executive search firms, with offices in Europe and the USA.

A headhunter and business writer, Jorg has 25 years of international work experience. Since 2001, he has successfully managed 350 in executive search and recruitment assignments and counseled hundreds of international clients and candidates.

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