Despite the current glut of job openings in the U.S., many job-seekers can still struggle to find the right job. Unfortunately, there are so many different options for marketing yourself as a job candidate these days that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. In fact, some job seekers can be so caught up in those options that they focus on the wrong job search avenues. The good news is that there’s one type of job search assistance that can almost always make your search more effective: a headhunter. If you can find a headhunter with the right industry contacts, that can give you a real advantage in your job search efforts. But how do you find a headhunter? Here are five tips that can help.
What a Headhunter Does
It’s important to understand the headhunter’s role. To begin with, a headhunter is simply a recruiter who works for companies that fill open positions. Sometimes, these people work for headhunter companies who provide the service for other companies with open positions. At other times, headhunters work directly for a company, helping them to locate the best job candidates.
The main difference between a headhunter and a recruiter is that recruiters prefer not to be called headhunters. The reality, however, is that their role is the same. They work for an employer and are the active recruiting arm for the company’s hiring department.
Like the recruiter, a headhunter actively seeks out job candidates who can be defined as passive job seekers. In most instances, those candidates are already employed elsewhere. The headhunter relies on his network and other resources to identify top talent and recruit them for a company with an open position. As a result, the headhunter’s role is to work for the company, not for the job seeker.
How to Find a Headhunter
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get noticed by headhunters. Because they are often hired by companies that don’t actively post advertisement for open top-level positions, they almost always know about opportunities that the average candidate may never see. If they become aware of you and recognize your talent, that could lead to unexpected job opportunities. Of course, that assumes that you have done everything you can to make yourself noticeable. Chances are, that is not the case.
To get noticed, you should focus on creating an impressive online presence and bolster those efforts with outreach to recruiters. These tips can help.
Optimize Your Online Presence
You should begin by optimizing your online persona. The easiest way to find a headhunter is for him or her to find you. That requires a great online footprint that showcases you as an expert with real talent in your field.
Start with LinkedIn, since that is a common resource for all recruiters. Create a vibrant and engaging LinkedIn profile and get as many quality endorsements as you can. You should also create a great resume and make sure that you place it on top job boards.
While you’re at it, re-purpose your social media accounts to bolster your professional persona. Get rid of controversial postings on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites, and focus on posting more industry-specific, professional content. Try to view all your social media activities as part of a larger personal branding effort. A quality personal brand can make it easier for top headhunters to find you.
How to find a headhunter on LinkedIn
Of course, you don’t have to just be passive on LinkedIn. Thanks to its search and messaging features, you can use the platform to reach out to headhunters.
You can search for recruiter firms using the “search firms” feature if you need a list of headhunter companies or individuals.
You can even go to their individual pages and follow them to view the types of jobs they list. Finally, you can message them and try to establish a relationship that could get you on their radar.
Here is a quick step by step to find headhunters or recruiters on LinkedIn:
Head over to the search box on LinkedIn and click on “Search for people”.
Click on “All Filters”
Your going to enter information into the following 3 fields:
You would then enter your location and industry. For “Title”, you would enter “Recruiter” or “Headhunter”
You should see a list of dozens (if not hundreds) of recruiters in your location and industry.
Here’s an example of a solid introductory note you can send to the headhunter:
Emailing a Headhunter:
As a long-time marketing consultant in the Fort Worth area, I am interested in learning more about the types of positions you typically handle. My goal is to further develop relationships within my industry community. I would appreciate any suggestions you may be able to offer, and can return the favor by referring candidates from my network to you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Use Google to Search for Industry Headhunters
Google and other search engines offer a great option as well.
Use keywords like executive recruiters, employment agencies, and headhunters to search for agencies and individuals who recruit for open positions. Be sure to use localized keywords to ensure that you find recruiters in the right area.
In addition, use industry identifiers to find a headhunter who recruits for your industry.
Let’s test this out:
We typed in “accounting headhunters NYC”
We got a few local results for different staffing companies:
You can then check out the company website to see how you can get in touch with a headhunter. Many times the website will have a section for job seekers:
Consult with Professional Association Job Listings
If your industry has a professional association, it will often have job listings on its website or in any publications.
Often, recruitment agencies will advertise on those sites or magazines. That can be another useful way to find a headhunter. Conferences and other professional gatherings are sometimes attended by these recruiters as well.
Ask for Referrals
Finally, never be afraid to ask for referrals. If you know someone who was recruited for a position, ask him or her how they were able to find a headhunter. Better yet, ask them for the name of the recruiter or the agency.
That can provide you with a contact person and a potential lead-in when you make contact. If possible, try to get someone you know to recommend you to a recruiter. This is one way that you can use your professional and personal network to best effect.