How to Hire a Headhunter to Find You a Job

headhunter hiring a candidate

When looking for a job in today’s competitive job market; you need all the help you can get. This is where a headhunter can do wonders to your career success. But how do you know if the headhunter will be a help rather than a hindrance? Choosing the correct agency to represent you is vital when you are job searching. Professional agencies can help you to improve the way you present yourself to potential employers, and assist you in finding positions not advertised online or in newspapers.

So, how do you know if the headhunter is the real deal? Read our guide to learn how to separate the professionals from the rookies and how to get the most out of your job search.

How to Hire a Headhunter?

There are several steps that you need to take before you settle on choosing a headhunter. These are the 3 most important:

Identify Your Firm

Make sure you pick your recruiting agency very carefully. For example, if you’re looking for a job in science and pharmaceuticals you need to make sure you choose an agency that has a good relationship with companies in that field; otherwise, you will just be wasting your time and theirs.

Use an Online Recruiting Agency

Make sure you utilise online jobseeker tools in order to find recruiters by speciality and location. You could also network through acquaintances to see if they have any suggestions.

Do Your Research

Start off by conducting a general Google search to find information about the firm you are thinking of using; there will likely be a healthy list of services and reviews about the executive agents. Be sure to ask your contacts for their personal recommendations and experience, too. They may be able to point you in the right direction and also put a suggestion in with their recruiter. LinkedIn is another resource for finding possible headhunters.


Benefits of Hiring a Headhunter

There are numerous benefits to hiring a headhunter. Here are some of the more enticing ones:

You’ll Spend Less Time Applying for Mediocre Jobs

Without a qualified headhunter, you may spend unnecessary time posting your CV online and applying for every job that seems like a good fit – but is really a waste of your time. Headhunters get to know you well, and have a better understanding of what the hiring company is looking for; they can help you target your search to find unique jobs that fit your skills, qualifications, experience and expected salary.

Higher Salary

Most of us crumble under pressure when asked “what is your expected salary?” obviously we want a good wage, but don’t want to come across demanding or unappreciative. We tend to leave an interview questioning whether the amount we gave was too low. When you have a recruiter, you don’t need to worry about that tough topic. A headhunter will negotiate the salary on your behalf and will usually tell you the range before they even send your CV. Companies often pay headhunters based on a percentage of the first year’s salary so it’s a win-win situation all around.

You Have Access to Unpublished Jobs

Many positions that recruiters have aren’t published online, so you have the added bonus of applying for more positions. They can assess your skills and also recommend positions you may not have considered previously.


If you want to keep your job search discreet, you can trust a recruiter not to share your CV online. They will keep your CV private and only send it to potential employers.

Honest Assessments

A recruiter is stretched for time and only wants to put the best fit forward. If they think you are not suitable for a position they will tell you. This is beneficial for you as it will help you narrow the positions that you should be aiming for.

Questions to Ask A Headhunter

Choosing a recruiter that will give you the most help in your job search is vital. A good way to find out if the headhunter is right for you is to ask the following questions:

How Long Have You Have Been Recruiting?

Why: you need to find out how experienced they are and whether they are known within the industry. If you opt for a new recruiter or company, it can actually hinder your chances as the employer won’t value their opinion.

What Is Your Recruiting Specialty?

Why: You need to make sure this aligns with the type of job you are seeking. If not, opt for another headhunter that will be able to sell your skills.

Do You Have Client Companies That Are Looking to Hire Someone With My Experience and Skill Set?

Why: It’s important to know if they can match you with one of their clients – if not, it’s time to look elsewhere.

How Many People With My Background Have You Helped Place in the Last Six Months?

Why: Their success rate is crucial, it shows how well they are at their job and how good they are at matching job seekers with employers.


Should You Pay for a Recruiter?

In most cases, the answer is no. If a recruiter or headhunter asks you to pay them, then it’s important to find out exactly what they are offering to do for you; for instance, traditional recruiters are paid directly by the hiring companies and, therefore, should not be charging job seekers.

There are, however, companies that offer job searching as a service. They manage all aspects of your job search from start to finish, by finding relevant jobs, filling out the applications, networking on your behalf, and so on; in this case, the companies are paid directly by the job seeker - not the hiring company. If you don't have the time, energy or - most importantly - the know-how, then paying for a recruiting service could be a wise strategy.

There are also a handful of recruiters that offer additional services, such as resume writing and interview coaching, as a side gig.


Tips to Help You Impress Your Headhunter

With such a large candidate pool, you must ensure that you stand above the crowd and build a good rapport with your personal recruiter. The below tips will help you achieve these results:

Be Selective with Who You Choose to Represent You

Many candidates make the mistake of sending their CV to a number of recruiters without doing their research. This can cause a problem if two different recruiters are putting you forward for the same job. Forbes stated that “a lot of employers wouldn't take that chance. They'd pass on you because they'd be squeamish about getting in the middle of a two-recruiter time-stamp dispute.”

Dress to Impress

Whenever you meet with your executive agent, make sure you are following the correct dress code. You want them to view you as a hiring manager would. The more presentable you are, the more the headhunter will want to put you forward as you’ll be a good representation of them.

Send Thankyou Notes

Be sure to thank your recruiter after every interview. It shows that you would do the same for the employer and it means they will remember you when other roles come up (if you’re not successful for the current one).

Be Honest

Always be honest with your hiring agency; if you have applied for a position yourself tell them. If you have other interviews do let them know. They will value you for your loyalty and respect.

Have you hired a headhunter that helped you bag your dream job? Drop us a comment below to tell us your experiences…