Is it worth using a headhunter for your next career move?

If you’re thinking about taking your next step on the career ladder you’re probably considering the best way to get that plum job.

Should you be using the services of a professional headhunter or would you be better off applying direct?

Here’s a reminder of some of the benefits of using a recruitment specialist, which may help you arrive at a decision:

You could miss out on your dream job if you go it alone

You should be aware that only a small percentage of positions are ever advertised. These days, around 75% of vacancies are filled through personal recommendation, word of mouth or using the services of a professional recruiter. So if you take the DIY approach you could be missing out on some of the best opportunities. Choose a well-connected headhunter who specialises in your industry and can tell you about opportunities you don’t know exist.

A headhunter saves you time

We all lead busy lives and a headhunter does the legwork on your behalf, saving you hours, if not days, on research and job applications. They get paid by results so it’s not in their interest to put you forward for positions to which you’re patently unsuited. A headhunter worth their salt will take the time to get to know you as an individual, your strengths and career aspirations. They will filter the numerous vacancies available and present you with those that are a good match for your skills, experience and personality.

The ‘halo effect’ ensures you’re taken seriously

Employers trust their chosen recruiters, particularly if they have a track record of finding candidates who’ve worked out well for them in the past. So if a headhunter recommends you for a post it instantly boosts your credibility and positions you ahead of the pack.

Allows you to keep your intentions secret until the time is right

For obvious reasons you may want to keep your plans to yourself until you’re actually ready to move. Headhunters maintain strict confidentiality and using one means you don’t have to announce to the world on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook that you’re thinking of leaving your job. Instead, you can rely on them to quietly and discreetly put you forward for suitable openings.

Friends with benefits

A good headhunter does far more than simply tell you about potential job opportunities. As recruitment professionals, they know the latest job search strategies and techniques, employment trends and what employers are looking for. They will give you the inside track on the company and position, give interview tips and advise you on how to present yourself well to increase your chances of success.

Likely to negotiate a better deal than you can do yourself

Even those lucky individuals with the highest levels of self-esteem can sometimes find it difficult to tackle the tricky topic of remuneration. As third parties, headhunters have no such qualms and, as a bonus, come armed with extensive up-to-date knowledge of the marketplace, making them ideally placed to negotiate on your behalf.

In the UK, employers typically pay recruiters a fee based on a percentage of the candidate’s first year salary, which gives them a financial incentive to negotiate a better package than you are likely to do yourself. Furthermore, headhunters are generally paid by results, making them more likely to go to great lengths to close the deal for you.

“Matching individuals to the right career opportunity is what headhunters do day in, day out”

Industry commentators have long forecast the death of recruitment agencies and headhunters in the face of competition from job boards, in-house recruitment teams and social networking. But, despite this gloomy prediction, the industry continues to grow as employers recognise the need for recruiting specialists to find talent for companies – and to help that talent become more employable.

The average person changes jobs just six times in their career but an experienced headhunter will make hundreds of placements during the course of their own career

Matching individuals to the right career opportunity is what they do day in, day out, so they can offer you invaluable help and advice. And this is not necessarily a one-time event. Make the effort to nurture the relationship and it could pay dividends not only for the current job move but throughout your whole career.

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