The Basics

2. The $30,000 Strategy

The Basics
You're Wrong
$30,000 Strategy
Job Hunting Skills
Mistakes That Kill
The New Interview
Back to The Basics

We all know the Traditional Job Hunting Strategy: write your resume, read the want-ads, mail out resumes and spread the word that you're looking. Go on as many interviews as you can, be able to explain where you see yourself in five years and what your biggest weakness is, and wait by the phone. Somebody will call you. Eventually.

In today's dollars that strategy is worth, oh, about $0.50. That's the cost of the paper you printed your resume on, the envelope and the stamp. Well, maybe it amortizes out to a buck-fifty or so. After all, you used Crane's Bond and hired a resume writer. Had it printed on a 2,540 dpi Linotronic. Maybe you stapled that baby to the top of a box of pizza and sent it to a prospective (and hopefully hungry) employer using the Next Day Singing Gorilla Delivery Service. And oh, yeah, you read the number one best-selling job hunting guide written by that famous human resources expert who has a Ph.D. in Counseling Science, earns $125,000 filing resumes for Superfluous Systems, Inc., and gets paid whether you win a new job or not. You know the guy -- his grandfather invented the Traditional Job Hunting Strategy everyone uses.

Hey, it's a desperate market. You do what you've gotta do. You spend what you've gotta spend. How about $30,000?

Thirty grand!? (And you thought you were spending a lot on that Singing Gorilla!) Who could possibly know anything about matching people up with jobs that's worth $30,000?

Headhunters get paid a lot to be right.
That's what companies routinely pay headhunters. If you make $100,000, the headhunter earns around $30,000 to apply his methods and techniques to find you and match you up with a client who needs to hire a very talented new employee to take care of some very important work. Even if your salary is $30,000, the headhunter's fee will be about $10,000. Not peanuts.

If you're lucky enough to get a call from a headhunter, all this costs you nothing, obviously. The employer pays. But few people ever hear from a headhunter. Why? For the same reason very few job hunters ever get a call back from an employer with a job offer. Your work skills have to be right on the money, or a headhunter will never bother with you.

Even when the headhunter calls, you're still competing with other candidates he or she is presenting to the same client. The point is, you don't need a headhunter. What you need is to understand and be able to use the headhunter's approach and techniques -- that $30,000 strategy.

The headhunter's strategy is so powerful and worth so much because the headhunter has a point of view that's radically different from that of the typical job hunter. The headhunter is totally focused on making a perfect match between the candidate and the work. There is nothing "shotgun" about his approach. There is no luck. No reliance on any rules. What matters is what the client needs to make her business wildly successful -- and the headhunter sets out to find and deliver it in the form of the perfect worker.

This headhunter will tell you what distinguishes the headhunter's approach -- and his point of view -- from that of the typical job hunter.

The following advice is free. It's still worth about $30,000, though, because it will get you started on how to be your own headhunter.

Getting a job vs. doing the job.
First off, don't go looking for a job. You wouldn't know it to look at the want ads and job boards, but companies aren't in business to give out jobs. When you send your resume to someone you don't know who doesn't know you, you're looking for a handout. You're wasting your time and the manager's.

Instead, start by understanding how your skills can profit a particular business. If you can't explain this to a prospective employer, why should he or she hire you?

Most job hunters project the attitude "I'm looking for a job" rather than "I'm here to do the work you need to have done". This can kill you in an interview. There is a big difference between looking to get a job, and offering to do a job. A good headhunter has a tremendous edge because he selects and prepares the candidate who can walk into the meeting with the employer and do the job, right there in the interview.

Obviously, this takes some research. Headhunters do a lot of research, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Unlike most job hunters, headhunters don't sit by the phone, waiting for someone to call back on a resume. The headhunter seeks to control all aspects of the deal, so that every candidate he submits hits the ground running in the interview and is desirable enough to hire.

Make doing the job in the interview your goal. The interview isn't an experiment or a fact-finding mission. It's not where you go to "learn more about the job," even though that's how most job hunters view it. Don't go on an interview unless you are prepared to control it, and to demonstrate your ability to do the work.

Next: Job Hunting Skills




The contents of this site are Copyright (c) 1995-2015 North Bridge Group LLC.
All rights reserved. This material is for personal use only. Republication and redissemination, including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Ask The Headhunter, Fearless Job Hunting, the ATH logo and other ATH titles are trademarks or registered trademarks of North Bridge Group LLC and Nick A. Corcodilos.

User agreement, legal information and disclaimer.

Visit the Ask The Headhunter Blog and sign up for your free subscription to the weekly Ask The Headhunter Newsletter.

We welcome comments and
suggestions. Please email to
Ask The Headhunter.












Learn to say NO when employers demand your salary history!

Job Hunting

Overcome the
daunting obstacles
that stop other
job hunters dead
in their tracks!

Nick's newest!

Parting Company
How to leave your job

Don't miss these

Answer Kits!

How to Work
With Headhunters

..and how to
make headhunters
work for you!

How Can I
Change Careers?
It's not just for
career changers!
It's for any job
applicant who
wants to
stand out!

Keep Your Salary
Under Wraps

How to say NO
when employers
demand your
salary history,
to make them
say YES to
higher job offers!



I just downloaded
How to Work with Headhunters. Excellent! I will recommend that each of our Executive MBAs get this book. It's a very comprehensive treatment of every aspect of recruiting, search firms, career management firms and more. I especially like the Back of the Napkin section at the end. Looks like you thought of everything!

Susan Dearing
ProMBA Career Management Center
Anderson School of Management