I had another job seeker email me last week, they wanted to talk to me so I could understand their employment situation and WORK FOR THEM to help them find a job. OK, that would be great BUT you don't want a recruiter to help YOU find a job, they get paid by the hiring company to HUNT DOWN HEADS (qualifying heads I might add) to find THEM people for their jobs! If a recruiter finds the right head, the recruiter gets paid. Recruiters ARE Headhunters and don't forget it!
So keep this in mind when you send emails to headhunters that you just want to talk to them about your situation and you want to enlist their help. Headhunters will go out of business if they engage fully in this behavior. Why? It is quite terrible to say this, but most of these people that are asking for help really want a therapist or a sounding board to talk about their employment woes. Combine this true need, believe me Headhunters do get it, with the fact that a recruiter only has so many jobs and almost 100% of the time when job seekers are reaching out in need, we don't need them or at least not right now. The nice Headhunters (I do think I may be one of those!), feel badly for the person but we just can't take the time. We usually say, please send me your resume and I will call you if we get an opportunity. Believe me, we will call you IF we have a possible job fit! If you are right for a job we will hunt YOU down because we are meat eating carnivorous creatures; we ARE Headhunters!
There are two types of Headhunters and you must understand the difference. Both of these varieties are third party recruiters to the hiring firm and we often have several jobs running from different companies. We usually fall into two tribal groups (hey, got to stay in theme here!).
The Contingency Headhunter (known as the most primal tribe)
- This group is made up of true meat eaters, not a vegetarian in the mix! They work for nothing unless they deliver a head to the chief (the hiring company) AND that head gets hired! Period, that is it.
- This headhunter make 0 money unless they make the placement AND that head stays around for typically at least 90 days or they replace for free or, gasp, they have to pay back ALL or almost all the money on a percentage scale.
- Hiring companies will often, especially during this downturn, treat Contingency Headhunters like they are a dime a dozen (if the headhunter allows it and in this economy there are many that allow it!). Why are these headhunters possibly treated so poorly by some firms? Because the chief doesn't have to pay a dime to any of them for the hunting, they only pay the Headhunter that brings home the bacon...e'r I mean head! So some companies will freely hire out even more than 5 Headhunters at a time on their open jobs! Wow, this is when a Headhunter does start acting like a cannibal! They are scrambling over each other to get sometimes the same Head to call them back first and get you submitted to the chief. Funny enough, some of these same companies complain that the recruiters are just throwing resumes (heads) at them! E'm wonder why!
- The last point on this list is that as the economy declined more recruiters were thrust into this extreme cannibalism as hiring companies took advantage of the business climate. The better ones (I consider myself one of them) began to depart from this extreme tribal activity and went to work for different chiefs that were more picky about their Headhunters! You know, the smarter ones that carry sharper knives!
The Retained Headhunter (the upper crust)
- This Group is retained by the Chief to hunt heads. The Chief has decided that this Headhunter is truly a Great Hunter and knows his tastes (what he likes and what he does not like), for that the Chief is willing to give the great one some money up front BEFORE they conduct the hunt and the privilege of being the ONLY hunter!
- The Chief has a great relationship with this Great Headhunter and not only does he pay him money up front before the hunt (usually 30% of the total fee), but he will also pay him another 30% IF the Great Hunter produces an agreed upon number of heads that are deemed worthy of a first or second round interview by the Chief! Guess what, if the Chief NEVER hires even one of them, the Great Hunter does NOT need to pay it back! I must add, that if that happens a number of times, the Chief will move onto another Great Hunter although!
- Usually when or if the Great Hunter brings in the right head that gets hired, the Great Hunter get's paid the remaining 40% to close the contract. This is known as "a third and a third contract". There are variations certainly and the Headhunter is paid between 20% to 30% of the total annual salary of the head that is being placed (commissions, bonus and etc. is NOT factored into the salary).
So there you have it, the truth; Recruiters are Headhunters and you NEVER PAY THEM to help you find a job, NEVER! The Chief pays THEM to find the right head. Recruiters sometimes will do resume consults, career counsel and other definitive job seeker services and will charge you for those services BUT if they tell you that they will find you a job based on those services and want you to pay them when you secure the job, then look hard and long at that career consultant, they are just a Crooked Headhunter in sheeps clothing!
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