Jul 172014

We all know that executive recruiters work on behalf of their clients. How do you really know if your headhunter cares about you getting that job?

That headhunter could not do their jobs, if they did not take the time to develop positive and nurturing relationships with potential candidates. Let’s face it, an ‘out-of-the-blue’ call from an executive search consultant or a job recruiter can be life-changing.

If you are one of the lucky ones, who gets roped in by a caring headhunter or job recruiter, hopefully these seven (7) attributes, discussed in this article, will aid your assessment of adopting your headhunter for life in facilitating your career next steps.

This article is a companion to the continuing series, Need a Job? 10 Tips to Talking With Headhunters, featured this week on LinkedIn Pulse Career: The Next Level Channel.

70 percent of Americans dislike what they do for a living.” – Y Scouts, Executive Headhunters

In addition to the 10 tips, inside that article is an extremely valuable 2014 executive search industry brief outlook by the Association for Executive Search Consultants (AESC), which I have made available here. This executive search industry outlook report will be helpful for you to be better prepared to have a productive talk with a caring executive recruiter, who can change your life hopefully for the better.

I want to take this moment to once again thank the many LinkedIn readers for their engagement of that companion article. I do hope you find this one equally as engaging.

I have had the pleasure of talking with dozens of search consultants throughout my professional career. Along the way, I have developed some extremely close relationships with some extraordinary executive search professionals, not only while I was working with them in meeting my own job search and placement needs, but also in our other professional pursuits and collaborations.

I have come away from these relationships extremely enriched in so many life-changing ways. So, this morning I felt compelled to write this companion article of practical takeaways, I would like to share with you, particularly looking through the lens of a job-seeker, working with a caring headhunter, as the initiator of a compassionate ongoing professional and personal relationship for life.

Job-seeker questions that typically shape and frame our discussion.

Do busy professionals really care about whether or not that headhunter, who has just called you, really cares?

Or, would they simply be hoping to ease an oftentimes contentious struggle between an executive candidate and the headhunter, on the one hand, and the headhunter and their client, on the other hand. And, never shall the two hands meet in a proper handshake, until you, as the candidate, are ‘THE ONE’, the client organization wants in the job.

Can you get too cozy with a headhunter?

On the other side, can a headhunter be too close with a candidate to be subjective enough among many other equally-qualified job-seekers of the position?

While at the same time, can a headhunter be objective enough for the client’s needs and wants for the position?

550 Billion Dollars in lost productivity is due to poor engagement at work.” – Y Scouts, Executive Headhunters

What is the proper balance of professionalism for a compassionate headhunter to maintain, while serving as an ‘honest broker’ between the job-seeker and headhunter’s client?

What do you think? If you have been seeking a new job, what are your burning questions about finding headhunters that care about you? And, if you have not found any compassionate and empathetic headhunters, what is holding you back from drawing them to you? A better question still, what is holding caring headhunters back from you?

Photo Credit: Paul Eisenstein, Leadership Search Consultant, Y Scout

Here’s what I believe.

What I have found in the last decade of managing my professional career is that job-seekers tend to care about one thing in particular: a caring headhunter to help them through their extremely difficult and nerve-racking job search process. Homes, families, purposeful fulfillment and lifestyles are on the line here. Branded organizations are depending on healthy relationships, taking place between job-seekers and recruiters right underneath their brands and corporate seals.

The kind of headhunters that receive roaring applause among job seekers are ones that made the candidate feel better at the end of the day. Headhunter compassion comes from a genuine sense of how a candidate feels, particularly as the candidate engages the recruitment, talent acquisition, and on-boarding services the headhunter is providing underneath the corporate brand of the client organization.

58 percent would trust a stranger over their boss.” – Y Scouts, Executive Headhunters

In my managerial economics class at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, I learned that job-seekers and headhunters are four things: they’re smart, they’re savvy, they’re risk averse, and they’re self-interested. Inside an intermediary process between many job-seekers and a client, a headhunter has to work extra hard to also be compassionate and empathetic.

In my managerial psychology class at Chicago Booth, I learned that motivations and incentives drive the economics of fulfilling a job search, talent acquisition, and on-boarding process with the client organization. The hallmark of a good headhunter is to keep the search out of the ‘concept of trouble’. Yes, at Chicago Booth, we speak of trouble, as a concept of economic opportunity cost. Else if one does not pay attention to trouble, the headhunter will have to start over and repeat the search for their client organization at the headhunter’s cost.

Trouble begins in the realm of the ‘small things’ that go on between the job-seeker and the headhunter, not the large more obvious blunders that may appear during the job search and placement process.

Headhunters get into trouble with job-seekers by consistently getting away with doing the small hurts, knowingly or unknowingly, until enough of the small hurts gotten away with become so commonplace that a failed search begins to emerge.

Now, the headhunter has fallen into trouble with their search, akin to an Enron oil crash.

65 percent of folks on the job would gladly take a new boss over a raise.” – Y Scouts, Executive Headhunters

Human compassion in the job search process draws upon a proper combination of managerial psychology, as well as, managerial economics of executive recruitment and job placement. This is especially so in the age of demographic shift and heightened engagement and outreach by branded client organizations to an increasingly diverse pool of prospective job-seekers and on-board employees.

Job-seekers can watch for this human compassion to know if your headhunter cares about YOU.

Given all of this, here are seven (7) ways to determine if that executive search consultant or job recruiter you are working with has your best interests in mind:

1. Empathy in asking questions is ‘The Hallmark Calling-Card’ of good headhunter service.

An empathetic executive search consultant or job recruiter demonstrates an understanding of the client and can effectively describe the opportunity they are presenting for you.

Such a heartwarming headhunter is an extension of the corporate brand in actively recruiting you into their client organization. This requires a distinct way of conveyance of ideas and an engaging approach to talking with you about how you are a ‘proper fit’ for their client organization.

That proper fit calls for asking questions during an empathetic conversation that allows you to discover as much about yourself, as you discover more about the headhunter, as a human being serving their client organization, as a humane workplace.

Photo Credit: Brett Farmiloe, Co-Founder & Advisor, Y Scouts

This empathetic engagement of the job-seeker by the headhunter inside their job recruitment experience is about a study of the candidate as much as the client.

Equal time is also given to work-life balance for YOU in all phases of your headhunter experience, including the front-end recruitment conversations, onto the interviews and talent acquisition procedures, and finally to the on-boarding process in the client organization.

Headhunter attention to work-life balance, as a proper fit for YOU, is essential in this fast-paced, dynamically risky, and uncertain workforce, nowadays, as you contemplate spending the next 4-7 years of your life working under the executive recruiter’s client organizational brand.

Good headhunters will share with you, both the bad and the good, about working with their client. Although skillfully, they will oftentimes refer to this as “challenges and opportunities.”

2. A headhunter that cares can talk with you honestly about the money that you need.

A caring headhunter works with you in strategically establishing the value proposition of the job you are seeking inside their client organization.

Afterwards, they can seamlessly transition in an honest dialogue about compensation that you need. In most cases, they cannot really disclose the client’s compensation range, because who would not want to be at the top of the salary range.

However, a headhunter, who cares about you, can give you a sense, as to whether or not your current compensation and on-boarding expectations, are in-line with what the client is prepared to offer.

A caring headhunter does not lead you on to a path where the end is full of surprises in regards to compensation and on-boarding packages.

During the final negotiation, the caring headhunter does not want to strategically capture your value and talent for the client, and then start to rope you in, only to finally let you slip away by losing you on price.

3. Honest headhunters give you honest feedback about your honest job application.

Experienced executive search consultants and job recruiters will provide you awesome feedback on your resume. They recognize that those of us who are considered as “high-value candidates,” might not necessarily have an up-to-date resume.

While they may have already researched your background in detail, great headhunters, acting as ‘honest brokers’, will still want to see an honest resume. If they have ideas on how to improve your resume, this is great feedback to have, if you don’t get the job. At least, you will have a better looking resume that has been finely tuned up at no-cost to you.

An exceptional search consultant and recruiter will take the time to provide some honest feedback on your resume, even if you are not being considered for one of their client opportunities.

4. A valuable headhunter has a nose for a valuable job for you.

Some headhunters will “find” you and “rope” you in. A great executive search consultant or job recruiter has the ability to look much deeper inside your career progression and determine how their opportunity fits in you career and perhaps take you to the next level.

Many headhunters will offer you various positions that represent a step up. Some positions will be indirect leadership through senior staff roles, as an ‘honest broker‘ in client organizations. Other positions will be more direct-line leadership of manpower, money, machination, and mobility.

Or, if it is a lateral move, it might be in a company that is in a better performing industry than the one you are in currently.

Or, the headhunter might present an opportunity that is geographically attractive for you.

In essence, be assured that the executive search consultant or job recruiter will have meticulously researched your background as if it were their own. This is because, such a gem of a headhunter, is “into the job to win the job” with you and for you..

Most of all, the headhunter that really cares about you will present an opportunity, which is such a ‘strong fit’ for you, that you will think they were reading your mind.

Photo Credit: Max Hansen, Co-Founder & CEO, Y Scouts

5. You know a headhunter really cares about you, when they regularly keep in touch.

Considerate headhunters will keep you apprised of where you are in the search and recruitment process. This is one of the trickiest things for a search consultant or job recruiter to do, because they are usually juggling multiple candidates, who are just as great as you. Concerned headhunters will tell you when you can expect to hear from them, and they will invite you to periodically “check-in,” if you don’t hear back from them.

6. Doubts, fears, and concerns, you may have about your job search, are not a problem to a thoughtful headhunter.

Kindhearted headhunters will take the time to listen to your doubts, fears, and concerns, as you get farther into the process, and the idea of taking a new position starts to become a reality.

A benevolent search consultant or job recruiter can arrange for special benefits and things that will help you make a decision – such as arranging a tour of the city for you and your spouse or domestic partner, getting information about schools, meeting with real estate brokers, or speaking with other current and past employees.

Engaging recruiters should be able to come up with creative solutions to address any doubts or reservations you might have. Such empathetic job search professionals want you to be happy and a good hire for their client organizations.

Moreover, they have an implicit promise alongside a clear motivational incentive to produce a successful search and placement for their client. Because, if you don’t work out, they might have to redo the search at no cost for their executive search firm or job recruitment firm.

7. Caring headhunters will enthusiastically pull you into only great client organizations of great mission and purpose.

The best headhunters, gladly and willingly, rope you in, for your good life and your good career. Not for just that one good job, and then disappear.

Of course, you will develop a special bond that endures with these caring professionals. These search consultants and job recruiters will delight in your successes as you grow. They will want to keep in touch with you.

And, when the day comes that you might find yourself needing help with a job change again, they will be right there for you with the same caring enthusiasm for moving you to the next level of your career.

They cannot recruit you from the client, where they placed you, because that would violate their Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Code of Ethics. But, a caring executive search consultant and concerned job recruiter can help you, if you have moved on, or if the company does not exist, or if you have already left.

These highly ethical and moral-mined search professional adhering to AESC standards will serve as a confidential sounding board to help you think through the next phase of your career. Among the best headhunters, you will indeed value their advice.

I have for sure. In fact, a number of executive search consultants are my mentors and career advisers, continually helping my along, as I consider an array of next steps for both my professional and personal life.

These empathetic, feeling, concerned, kindhearted, considerate, caring, and benevolent headhunters have made me who I have been, what I am today, and who I am becoming tomorrow. This is because they as much have roped me into their lives, as much as I have roped them into mine — for life, in all of my purposes of life.

Mission and Purpose of Y Scouts, Executive Headhunters, Photo Credit: Brian Mohr, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

I want to close this article with the best example I have discovered that exemplifies the mission and purpose of caring executive headhunters we discussed herein:

We believe that life is a gift – and that in life, we are meant to discover, develop and share our unique gifts and talents with others in ways that contribute towards a better world for us all.

We believe that “who you are” and “what you do” should not be separate and unintegrated parts of You, but rather one and the same. We believe that those who “do who they are” have discovered their life’s purpose and are walking their path every day. Most of us call this activity – work.

Our purpose is “To Change WHY the World Works”. We help leaders and companies come together to work towards something meaningful, something that we deeply care about, together.

We are executive recruiters, networkers and connectors who support companies and people in creating cultures and communities through a shared sense of purpose and meaning, to come together and work towards something bigger than just a paycheck and a bottom line.

We are committed to working hard – every day – to transform the recruiting industry – to transform Corporate America – to help create a future where people can join an organization, group or cause and fully express and develop their Unique Self.

We are committed to a future where organizations are collectives of inspired and fully engaged people whose contribution creates a tsunami of value and abundance allowing us all to thrive.

We are here to take a stand for the future that you are committed to creating through your life’s work.


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