The motivations that many recruiters have are frequently questioned by job hunters. In this video, I’m asked to address 1 of the basic questions that job hunters have. Is the opportunity being presented to me real?

Read Full Transcript

I received a question from someone that basically translates into, "How do I know a headhunter and their opportunities are legitimate?"

1st of all, I think they misuse the term, "headhunter" because I sense that this person is a little less experienced than most. For C suite professionals, the headhunters that they are dealing with are 100% legitimate. Even the question, the word "legit." What does that really mean? Are. You questioning whether they have the job that they're actually pitching to you? Why would you question that? "Because in the past I spoke with firms and they never got back to me."

It's certainly possible that you weren't qualified in their mind for the role that they were presenting. You know, you didn't fit in some way or have the skill or knowledge for the position. People create this myth of legitimacy around recruiters because they think they've been lied to. Trust me. If a recruiter can get you the interview they will get you in the door.

The reason they don't get you in the door is (1) you don't have the skills the client is looking for. That is reason number 1. They are doing this is "social work." They are not working for government agencies collecting checks. They are they are trying to fill positions so that they earn a fee/commission. That's the way it works.

Even with the retained search firms, the issue comes down to, yes, they have a portion of their money in advance, , but they are not going to be able to work with that client again and certainly not have the opportunity to present the people unless they are effective. I think a lot of the criticism of search. firms whether it is the contingency firms or the retained firms, comes down to a misunderstanding of what they do. Recruiters don't work for you. Headhunters don't work for you. They work for an organization that pays them.

So let's use the assumption that your junior individual trying to figure out whether this job that's being presented to you is pure fantasy. Why do you think they would do that? What's in it for them to do that? Oh! I know! You get into their database! The database now is LinkedIn. They don't need you for that. It's not like the old days when contingency recruiters try to get your resume into their system. There are 500 million people and counting in the LinkedIn database. If it isn't for that reason, why do you think they might have an "illegitimate job?"

To trick you? For what purpose? To have you take a job? Let's talk to the client and find out the position is right for you. The answer is NOTHING!

Let's put this notion of legitimacy aside, whether it's with the contingency firm. Whether you're dealing with someone less experienced, they are just parroting back what they've been told by more experienced people there. If what they're parroting back to you doesn't sound right, ask them questions they may just run off and as someone else in order to get the answer for you. Yes questions. If you're not satisfied with the answer, that's okay. Don't follow through on the job.

With the retained firms, ask away! You are dealing with very experienced and seasoned people who have no interest in line with you because they know that after your on board in a leadership role, you will destroy them. There is nothing in it for them to do that.

Put aside this notion of whether the headhunter was legitimate or not. By the way, size of the search firm or size of the agency is completely irrelevant in this equation. Just because a firm is big means that they're going to tell you the truth? They have been successful for some period of time; that's great; they've satisfy client needs. However, not everyone who has taken a job to that firm has been completely satisfied. It's just the nature of life.

The short answer to your original question is you never can tell. The more textured answer is that there is very little reason to doubt it because at the end of the day, there is very little in it for the search firm. After all, your resume already exists in the biggest resume database imaginable (LinkedIn) annual ultimately find out the truth from the client anyway.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and leadership coaching.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I on function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn http://bit.ly/thebiggamehunter

He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle for $.99 and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

Are you interested in executive job search coaching, leadership coaching or life coaching from me? Email me at JeffAltman@TheBigGameHunter.us
and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

About the author

4 Responses
  1. Maurice Levie

    Very good question- in a down market the cruiters still have to look busy, and any opening will become a ‘project’. I have seen 20+ different agencies try and put out for one FTE job. Unless you are in a hot job market assume oct-February is famine, the rest feast

    1. Jeff Altman

      calendar year corporations, October is when the budgets are approved and interviewing begins for January hires. As for 20 different firms (or 10 or 5) advertising the same job, that happens all the time. Contingency firms and their “recruiters” take any order throw it on their website and job boards and pray for a response. True recruiters don’t do that.

  2. Maurice Levie

    Very good question- in a down market the cruiters still have to look busy, and any opening will become a ‘project’. I have seen 20+ different agencies try and put out for one FTE job. Unless you are in a hot job market assume oct-February is famine, the rest feast

    1. Jeff Altman

      calendar year corporations, October is when the budgets are approved and interviewing begins for January hires. As for 20 different firms (or 10 or 5) advertising the same job, that happens all the time. Contingency firms and their “recruiters” take any order throw it on their website and job boards and pray for a response. True recruiters don’t do that.

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: