Having spent last few years of my career in staffing and recruiting industry, I’m asked all time by friends and relatives if I can help them find a more desirable job. I’ve helped my fiancé get a job, helped my college buddies get jobs after graduation, and even helped a few high school buddies find jobs having not seen them for years. It’s a real joy in recruiting when you can help someone find a job that positively impacts their life. But fact of matter is, not everyone has opportunity to work with a headhunter. I would say that only a small percentage of career moves are made at hand of a headhunter. So what do rest of us do when we find ourselves in a dead end situation and no one to conduct hunt for you?
I’ve heard lots of gimmicks, tricks, and tactics for aiding process and I’m sure you’ve heard a few yourself. Do any of these ring a bell? Sending out resumes on extra thick paper, memorizing most dazzling answers to commonly asked interview questions, wearing a brightly colored outfit to your interview to be memorable, and list goes on and on. I honestly don’t know if any of these things help or hinder hiring process, but I do know that I’ve never met a professional headhunter that coaches his candidates by taking them shopping at Old Navy and picking out seasons brightest colors to wear to an upcoming interview.
So what things do professional headhunters do that puts them in position to move CEO’s from one company to another and get paid to do it. Here are top 5 things that top dog headhunters do in search and placement process that you can incorporate to your own job search tomorrow.
1. Network – Now I know you’ve heard this one a million times before, but first thing that a headhunter does in morning is make 20 calls to people they know and find out where jobs are. Only rookies wake up every morning with nothing more to look forward to than a few dozen agonizing cold calls. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Who do I know that I could talk to about finding a job…I don’t know anyone.” Well, in headhunting 101 you learn that it’s not who you know that matters, it’s who they (your contacts) know that counts. It’s okay to call every person you know and tell them you’re looking for a new job. Everyone excluding your boss and other people at your office of course. Make a list of 100 people that you know, pick up phone, and start talking to people. Ask them if they know of any companies hiring people in your area of expertise. If they don’t, ask them if who they know that might know of some openings. Let me give you a tip about how to supercharge your networking. Pick up book “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. In it, he describes three types of people in social circles. One of those types is called a “connector”. This is type of person that seems to know everyone. I bet if you think about it, you probably know one or two people that everywhere you go with them, they know someone. Well, every person on your list knows one or two connectors and if you ask question ‘who do you know that might know of something?’, you’re bound to run into a few of these extraordinarily well connected people. Your network stops when you stop asking ‘who they know.’
2. Email Everyone on Your List – This is similar to networking, but you have to take a different approach when networking through email. Here’s a strategy that I have found to be pretty effective. First, an example of what that email might look like.
Not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve recently started looking for a new career. I wanted to see if you could help me with this arduous process. As you know, I have been with PrideStaff doing Business Development (or whatever it is you do) for last two years. It has been a good experience and I have been given several promotions and opportunities along way. However, I seem to have run into a glass ceiling and don’t see any more opportunity for advancement here.
I’m writing to ask two things. First, if you know of any openings in my area of expertise, at your company or at any other that you know of, I would greatly appreciate any referral you could give me. Second, if there is anyone you know that might have knowledge of any openings in Business Development, I would really appreciate if you would forward this email to them along with my resume that I have attached.
John, any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if there is any way I can reciprocate.
Mike Nacke Director or Business Development PrideStaff
The reason this email is so effective is because it conveys warmth, it details your credentials, and it directly asks for referrals. Feel free to use this email yourself, just make sure you insert your own name and credentials before sending it out.
3. Harness Power of Internet – One of most tedious and frustrating tasks that you do when looking for a job is scouring internet job boards and corporate web sites looking for new openings. Talk about frustrating. In an intensive job search, you should be looking at about 100 different companies that you would like to work for and if you’re checking every site daily, that’s a lot of wasted time. I know that 100 might sound a little high, but by utilizing a few online tools, you can easily keep up with activity of well over 100 companies. To accomplish 100 company mark, first determine industries you’re interested in. Most of you probably want to stay in industry you’re in right now, but if you’re thinking of changing, understand that this is a very challenging move because direct industry experience is #1 factor headhunters use when moving people from one company to another. After determining what industries you would like to work in, find out their SIC code listing and cross reference that to find all companies in city that are operating under that SIC code. If you’ve never done this before, you may have to do a little homework, but it should provide a good company list to start with. There is a more recent industry classification system known as NAICS codes that you can use as well, just stick to one you’re more comfortable with. If you’ve chosen a few industries and utilized one of code systems to find a cross section of companies in town, you should have a substantial list of companies that will be foundation of your search.