In Does the headhunter own my job interviews? we explore where headhunters fit in the recruiting equation — when employers contact the same candidates on their own. Who “owns” the candidate and who “owns” the job interview?
The best question that’s come up in that discussion is, What value does the headhunter add? to recruiting and hiring?
The answer goes back to the employer. If an employer wants to do a sound, thorough search for the best candidates to fill a job, the employer will not post the job. (Do you really want 10,000 applicants? If yes, why? Back to Personnel Hell with you.) The employer will conduct its own quiet search, or use a headhunter to conduct it.
In this case, the headhunter has an exclusive on the job. It’s not posted. The employer isn’t doing the search. Nor is any other headhunter. Basically, no one else knows the job is open. One headhunter, chosen by the employer, under a contract, is handling the search.
I imagine all the personnel jockeys tugging at the underwear wedging itself up their butt cracks. Oooh… How silly not to post the job! How will the world know about the job? You’ll miss tons of great people!
Yep. You’ll miss lots of tire-kickers and the “recruiters” who drive them around the job boards. No job posting. That’s where the headhunter adds value. That’s what the headhunter is paid for.
Here’s what you need to know: Only the best headhunters get assignments like that. The rest are scraping job listings and resumes, trying to talk their way past one another and past the employer itself.
So, you want to know how to screen headhunters that contact you? Ask the headhunter, “Do you have an exclusive on this job?” If the headhunter claims yes, ask who the hiring manager is. If the headhunter has an exclusive assignment, he’s got no worries about divulging his client’s name. The hiring manager isn’t going to “go around him.” The headhunter has a contract. The headhunter controls the interviews at that point. And you’re not competing against tire-kickers and the “recruiters” who are ferrying them around the Net.
If the headhunter doesn’t have an exclusive, or is worried that someone is going to beat him to the placement, you’re probably wasting your time. Hang up.
(For 62 more myth-busting answers about nagging headhunter questions: How to Work With Headhunters… and how to make headhunters work for you.)