Olivia: All right, guys. Today, we want to cover a really common misconception and it has to do with how executive headhunters can sabotage your job search. A lot of times when you’re the executive and you want to start your search, the first thing you do is you reach out to those headhunters, and you let them know you’re looking. There’s a few things wrong with that. Kevin has got the executive headhunter perspective and background, so he’s going to speak to that more specifically.
Kevin: The number one thing to remember is that headhunters don’t work for you. They work for the client companies whom are paying their retainers, or paying their search fees. I say all this not only having been a headhunter for more than a decade, but we have some fantastic relationships with search firms. Our talent agents are connected in with a lot of the country’s top search firms.
But, like everything else, not all headhunters are created equally. You got some good ones out there who are going to be very forthright, then you’ve got some folks who maybe are going to be less so. Some things to look out for are, number one, the relationship that they have with their clients because there’s a very large fee, sometimes 20, 25, 30 upwards to 35% of your base salary, or even a fixed fee that might include additional compensation that comes along with you being hire. So there are additional expectations in many cases when companies are considering working through a search firm with you. That’s just one thing. You want to make sure that they have a really tight relationship.
Another thing that you want to check in on is are you truly ready to start getting out there and explore because here’s something that a headhunter does not want to do. They don’t want to put you in front of their client when you’re not fully committed to making a change yet. I understand that you don’t know until you start to have exploratory conversations whether or not you’re going to make a shift, but if you’re really just kind of putting your toe out in the water, you can sully your relationship, particularly with the top headhunter who doesn’t want to put you in front of their client until they know that, given the right opportunity, you would move.
This is one of the many reasons that Olivia and I put together the Should I Stay or Should I Go workbook. It’s more of an executive guide to help you kind of work through that criteria of should you stay where you are, or should you go. A slightly shadier headhunter might push you to go when you should stay. Both Olivia and I will tell you flat out, it’s much easier if the opportunities exist inside your current organization to stay there and grow, than it is to make that shift. Not only is it difficult professionally to make shifts. There’s additional wear and tear on your family. There’s going into other … sometimes it’s a relocation, a myriad of things that go on. It’s not something that we take likely, nor we advise our clients to ever take lightly.