Maybe you’ve been passed up for promotion. Perhaps, your job has gotten stagnant. Or, maybe you no longer feel challenged by your current role. Whatever your reason for deciding that it’s time to start searching for a better career opportunity, there will inevitably come a time where someone asks you if you’ve reached out to any recruiters.
While, “have you reached out to any recruiters?” might seem like a straightforward question, it’s not always the easiest one to answer. This is because not many people can easily differentiate between an in-house recruiter “recruiter” and a headhunter “recruiter.”
An in-house recruiter is a talent acquisition specialist who actively screens talent for their specific organization. An agency recruiter, on the other hand, or a headhunter as they are more commonly referred to, screens and markets prospective candidates to multiple companies. Whenever someone asks you if you are “working with recruiters”, it’s a sure fire bet that they what they mean is “are you working with a headhunter or recruitment agency.”
There are a number of benefits to working with an agency recruiter. Most notably, doing so gives your resume a clear trajectory straight into the inbox of the hiring manager. Additionally, an agency recruiter should be able to provide you with an accurate depiction of exactly what it is that the company is looking for, interview tips, and also insight on how to best negotiate salary and total compensation. Most agency recruiters work on a commission structure, so the more money they are able to negotiate on your behalf, the more money they will get once you’ve received (and accepted) a job offer from one of their clients.
Typically, headhunters seek out the candidates who they deem to be the most placeable. You might receive an unsolicited email or phone call to your cellphone or even your work extension and, you may feel blindsided or that this contact came out of nowhere. But, the truth is the recruiter has put time and effort into finding you, based on a number of calculated search parameters, and they see you as a highly probable fit for an opportunity that they’ve been contracted to fill.
Most recruiters will utilize a number of different channels to source top talent – But, it’s up to you to make sure that you are easily found.
Make Yourself Noticeable
First thing’s first, is your resume up-to-date, because if it isn’t, you’re behind the competition. If it is, reach out to your network and let them know that you’re looking. This will increase your likelihood of getting referrals and help you create a list of organizations that might be hiring someone with your skills.
What about your social channels? Are they current? Professional? Filled with just the right amount of fluff? What about your personal website – Do you have one? If not, you might want to consider using any one of the available free or low cost web-hosting platforms to build one.
Once you’re confident that your social media platforms accurately represent you, you will want to revamp your LinkedIn profile, making sure to include targeted keywords that not only grab the attention of anyone reading your profile but also appropriately showcase your skills and experiences.
Decide Which Recruitment Agency is Right for You
If you haven’t worked with a recruitment agency before, you might want to start by asking friends to refer you to a recruiter they may have used in the past, or if there are any HR professionals in your network, consider asking them if they’ve partnered with any particular agencies. If you aren’t able to obtain a direct referral, a quick Google search will turn up countless results.
Before trusting any recruiter to help you further your career goals, take some time to carefully research the recruiter and their respective agency online to determine whether or not they are able to help you. Not all agencies are created equally, and they don’t all cater to the same type of niche. Start your search by researching agencies that specialize in the industry you are in or actively seeking to enter.
From there, delve into the geographic reach of the agency. You will find that some agencies cater to the national or even global community, while others only work with local candidates and organizations. Lastly, determine what level of service the agency provides. Do they work with temporary workers? Do they offer full-time opportunities? What about professional or director level search?
Throw Your Name in the Hat
Once you’ve found an agency that you’re confident works in your industry, services your location and has opportunities suitable for your level of knowledge and experience, grab the wheel and reach out. Most experienced recruiters are extremely active on LinkedIn and their profiles can be a wealth of information. Take the time to research the recruiter you are working with.
You might choose to send a LinkedIn message or an email (you can normally find their direct contact information on the agency website.) Or, if you know that a particular recruiter or agency caters to your niche, you go choose to upload a resume straight to their career portal. This will ensure that your information finds its way into the CMS system and that recruiters can quickly find you should something that matches your qualifications come available.
As your comfort level with using headhunters to enhance your job search grows, remember that it’s best to have a tough skin. Never take anything personally. It might happen that another candidate is a closer fit for an opportunity they’ve presented you for, but that doesn’t mean they won’t reach out to you once another opportunity come available.