by Bill Radin

Executive recruiters (also known as headhunters or search consultants) have firmly established themselves as a visible and highly valued fixture in today’s employment landscape. Through their aggressive matchmaking, headhunters affect the careers of individuals, the lives of their families and friends, and the profitability of entire corporations.

No one knows exactly what the business world would be like without the influence of headhunters, but one thing’s for sure: sometime in your career, you’ll either receive a call from a headhunter, or initiate contact yourself. In either case, you should learn how to work with them effectively and take full advantage of the many benefits their service provides. Here’s what you get from establishing a relationship with an executive recruiter:

Greater exposure.

Headhunters not only maintain a myriad of existing contacts within your field, they can also scout out new companies you never heard of.
 

Increased efficiency.

Headhunters are obsessive networkers; they spend their time researching and penetrating the job market. Their knowledge can save you time in identifying and pursuing prospective employers.
 

Personalised public relations.

Employers generally look more favorably towards a candidate who is professionally recommended. Headhunters stake their reputations on the quality of their candidates and will always present you in the best possible light.
 

Confidential representation.

Some job search situations require a great deal of discretion. For example, you may want to explore an opportunity with your present company’s direct competitor. In such an instance, a headhunter can present your background confidentially, thereby protecting your identity and eliminating (or at least minimizing) your risk of exposure.
 

Authoritative career consulting.

Headhunters can help you determine the job or career track that’s right for you, based on current market conditions and your own values and abilities. They are also in a unique position to walk you through (and monitor) each step in your job changing process.
 

Private training.

Headhunters can give you practical, time-tested suggestions on how to strengthen your resume and improve your interviewing technique. In many ways, a headhunter acts as a personal coach.
 

Third-party representation.

As experienced brokers, headhunters find ways to put favorable deals together and iron out differences you and the hiring company may have regarding your salary, benefits, and relocation package.
 

In addition, working through a headhunter can actually improve your chances for success once you’ve been placed. That’s because the search fee the hiring company paid the recruiter represents a sizeable financial investment in your future success – an investment worth protecting.