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Hiring Secrets from a Lazy Headhunter


12/16/2011 11:43:18 PM

Hiring Secrets from a Lazy Headhunter By Skip Freeman, "Headhunter" Hiring Secrets

Winning a job in this economy, where thousands compete for every opening, is anything but easy. As a “headhunter,” I am 100% commissioned. If my methods don’t work in filling a job with the best candidate, I don’t eat. You see, career counselors or outplacement firms earn their fee whether you get a job or not. Generally their advice is solid but doesn’t differentiate you from 95% of the other job seekers out there.

I have filled over 30 positions this year. I know what works in this market . . . and what doesn’t! Both in my weekly articles and in our book, "Headhunter" Hiring Secrets, we take the current methods (secrets) that are working for us as “headhunters” and reframe them so that you can employ them for yourself as a current (or future) job seeker—and get hired!

Because the rules of the hiring game have changed forever in this economy, our methods are anything but mainstream. Not only do they get people hired, but, in parallel, we receive a lot of “reaction” from readers. Two of my recent favorites are, “I adjusted my entire job search approach and went from having no interviews to two offers,” and the one I want to share next.

The following response was from a blog I wrote not too long ago that has received over 10,000 “reads” and generated over 100 comments and direct emails:

“Your article disgusts me. Clearly you are a lazy (emphasis mine) recruiter. You can make a lot of money finding someone like me a job and from your blog I can tell that you wouldn’t even bother (with me). I despise your kind.”

In this particular article, I emphasized why many job seekers never get a call back from “headhunters,” hiring managers, corporate recruiters, et al., in this economy. With thousands of people applying to every job opening, the vast majority—and I see this every day—do not brand themselves as being exceptional in any meaningful way. They brand themselves as “someone looking for a job” instead of someone who is a results-delivering, action-oriented top candidate who can make a company money or save a company money, and are therefore deserving of being contacted by “headhunters,” hiring managers and/or corporate recruiters.

Contrary to what the person who made the comment to my recent article (as well as so many other job hunters!) believes, a true “headhunter” is NOT in the business of finding anyone a job! That is the role of career counselors, outplacement firms and staffing agencies. My job is to find the best talent for a client company’s open position(s). (And, just coincidentally, it is the hiring company who is my client, not the job candidate.) I spend most of each and every business day on the phone seeking out top talent, networking with people in my recruiting niche and calling people who are currently doing the job for my client’s competitor. In parallel, I post many of the open positions I am trying to fill on the Internet as well as in other forums. These postings generate a virtual avalanche of responses. In any given week we generally receive over 600 emailed résumés and 50 to 100 voice mails.

Do I respond to each and every one of these emails and voice mails? Of course not because it is physically impossible to do so. Yet the suggestion the commenter is making is that, because I don’t respond to every person who reaches out to me, I, therefore, am lazy. He goes on to state that it is my job to interview the job seeker and figure out how I can place them. So, if that’s the reason I am lazy, then, yes, I am guilty as charged. But the brutal reality is this: Due to the overwhelming number of candidates responding to postings, “headhunters,” hiring managers and Human Resources professionals are only going to focus on the candidates who proactively and up front have clearly branded themselves as representing the crème del a crème in today’s job market.

Consider becoming a ‘lazy’ job hunter

So, how about you, the job hunter? Are you working hard at finding a new career opportunity but also finding that your search is stalled? Are you not getting interviews or job offers? Maybe you should consider becoming a “lazy” job hunter! How? By not continuing to do the same things over and over that consistently produce little to no results. Just as I work only with the tools, techniques and secrets that get jobs filled, likewise you must learn and then faithfully execute the tactics and secrets that will get you hired more quickly than everyone else.

Here is how you can get started on becoming a “lazy” job seeker: STOP branding yourself as “someone looking for a job.” Instead, START branding yourself as someone who deserves a serious look. That means branding yourself as someone who is willing to try some of the new and different approaches that are actually working in today’s brutal job market. STOP doing the same things over and over and expecting different results! Does this approach truly work? In a word, yes! For example, I have already received an email from a reader of last week’s article who has gotten an interview using the “headhunter” tactic featured in the article!

I do hasten to add that none of the approaches I recommend to successfully differentiate oneself in today’s job market are necessarily easy to implement. It takes a lot of hard work, imagination and creativity, and, yes, sometimes even courage, to properly implement them. As always, there are no guarantees, but the payoff for those candidates who step out and brand themselves as being different, courageous and results-oriented will generally be enormous. In next week’s article I am going to present another, very powerful and workable approach that cuts through the “clutter,” gets the attention of hiring managers and increases your probability of landing the interview. After all, until you get an interview, you won’t be hired.

Stay tuned!

About the Author

Skip Freeman is the author of "Headhunter' Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed... Forever!" and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.

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