General discussion



By Ironspider ·
Ok, I'm sure this title has been used 100 times on here already, but being a headhunter myself, I'd like to make a few points.

1. Only about 20% of the positions in companies are actually posted, whether it's on the web, newspaper, forums, newsgroups, or what-have-you. The other 80% includes things such as exclusive job orders for certain recruiters, inner-office job orders, not currently funded job orders, and not currently brought to the attention of HR.

The exclusive job orders are given to headhunters that have built up a solid career of finding the kind of people that the hiring manager wants and are not shared with the public.

Inner-office should be self explanatory.

Not currently funded orders are just that, the budget hasnt been set yet, but HR has shared this job with recruiters as something that may happen in the future, thus the recruiter will try to find someone that fits to tempt the company into allocating money for that person.

Not currently brought to the attention job orders are such things as someone in the company is sitting there thinking "hmmm, if only I had such and such, I'd goto HR and request this position to be filled." Many times recruiters will present someone to a company and Bing! that person will be like "Hey!, I was just thinking I could use someone like that."--Instant fill of a job that didnt exist yet.

2. Recruiters can always call and talk directly to hiring managers. There's none of this submit to the company and hope your resume doesnt get lost or tossed because your cover letter didnt impress someone, and there's none of that "Login in to submit your resume here" (What? I have to create an account and fill out 16 pages of questions just to submit my resume?)

3. Any recruiter that doesnt spend at least 30 minutes to an hour exploring opportunities with you, finding out exactly what you do, what you want, and how the recruiter can make this happen, is worthless and do not work with them. Numerous IT recruiters [the ones I've had experience with at least, but not all of them] are just in it to quickly find a fit or to try to force a position on to a candidate.

So anyone that wants to continue to speak out against headhunters and say that there is no use for them, you're only selling yourself short.

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Comments on headhunters

by JamesRL In reply to Headhunters

1. Depends on the company...
I've worked in many companies where all full time jobs are posted, and most contract jobs are posted. In my company, no one talks to a headhunter about a job until the requisition has been approved, so there is money allocated to hire.

Having said that I was almost hired by another company(well known), but they left the req till last and things changed - they acquired another company and all new hires were suspended. I know the manager was keen to hire me, and we were all frustrated, but I could wait a year.

2. In my company, and others I've worked in, HR starts the process once the job has been approved, and I only work with headhunters once the job description has been sent.

3. I've had lots of experience with headhunters calling me at home with a hot lead and wanting to forward my resume on. I've never once had an interview unless I've met with the headhunter and spent time with them.

There are good headhunters and bad ones, same as any profession.


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Not once in my twenty plus years in IT

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Headhunters

have I ever dealt with the head hunter of the type you claim to be.

I've dealt with shed loads of the ones you don't want to be associated with though

Based on what you've said ,you are the exception. You are selling yourself short by describing yourself as one.

Most of them are pimps who can't use word search correctly, failed badly at geography and know less about IT than my dog.

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shed load

by Ironspider In reply to Not once in my twenty plu ...

[And now you're all thinking Cobra? WhoopieDo! I can program in C/C++/Pro*C/Visual C++.NET, VB.NET, Java (J2EE), Javascript, HTML, LAMP, PHP, Hibernate, XML, Korn/Bash Shell Scripting, ERWIN 4.1/3.5/3.x, Oracle Designer, ETL tools Informatica PowerCenter 7.1.4/7.1.2/6.2/5.1.2, PowerMart 7.1.4/7.1.2/6.2/5.1.1/5.0/4.7.2, ETL, ETI, OLAP, OLTP, Data Reports, Cognos Impromptu, Power play 6.6/7.x, Oracle 9i/8i/7.x, MS SQL server 2000, SQL, SQL Plus, PL/SQL, SQL Loader, TOAD 8i, Unix Shell Scripts, Developer 2000, HTML 4.0, Sun Solaris8, and HP-UX.]

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No I saw that as a requirement

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to shed load

and had to pass on the job, there's at least two of them I have no experience in you see.

Here's a simple test

Unmissable opportunity.
London based firm requires a developer, three years experience in Visual Studio 2005 and .NET experience (.net 3 a bonus), must know SQL or SQL Server, ASP, PHP, HTML, Java or Javascript. Great chance to progress your career up to 23k.

Then send it to a guy who started commercially in 1987 with no gaps in his CV.

Points awarded for the number of errors in the above.

Oh and my cv concentrates on what I've achieved , not what with. I've had to headhunt myself most of the time.

I note you are US based, so foresee potential difficulties in a business relationship.

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I've seen them from both sides

by mdhealy In reply to Headhunters

I've seen headhunters from both sides. In 1998 I was hired at my current employer through a headhunter, and in 2005 my wife was hired at her current employer through a different headhunter. Since 1998 I've also interviewed a number of candidates for positions with the Company. I've also had conversations and email exchanges with various headhunters. As with any profession, they vary.

Readers should be aware there are two main types of headhunter; the most expensive for the employer are "retained search" companies who are hired by an employer to fill a specific slot. Other headhunters interview candidates and then shop them around to possible employers. The thing to remember about a retained-search firm is since they are looking for a specific profile, you will either fit it or not fit, and if you don't fit that specific profile they will not spend much more time on you.

Also, in most cases a retained search firm gets paid X dollars up front, X more on hire, and a final payment after the employee has been working there for a while; I believe the headhunter who found me for my current employers in 1998 got their final payment from my employers a year after I was hired.

As with any profession, the good ones ain't cheap (for the employer, the candidate doesn't pay).

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the good ones aren't cheap

by Ironspider In reply to I've seen them from both ...

I'd have to agree, the cheap and cheesey "recruiters" that charge flat fees or 10-15% of the first year salaries are a dime-a-dozen. They burn through candidates like toilet paper squares dipped in a lava stream. If you have the skills (or anything remotely similar) they want to speak to you now. They'll tell you where you need to go, what salary you'll be paid, and when you need to be there. If you have a problem with any of this, that "recruiter" will never speak to you again (this doesnt stop future "recruiters" from the same agency calling you for future jobs, only to discard you like used gum if you don't fit.) In short, they have a job and need an assembly line of people to fill it.

Real recruiters charge 27-33% fees from the companies. We call someone and ask for all their worldly desires in a new position and actually search for that position. Now don't get me wrong, most recruiters don't sit around calling everyone in the phone book to find a person to find a job for; the majority of the time we'll search for people to fit a position, but if a candidate doesnt fit, s/he isn't discarded, but interviewed to find out what the candidate wants. For instance, I just did a search today, called roughly 2 dozen people to try to fill this position: 3 candidates fit the requirements and desired the position; 8 were left a message; 10 fit the requirments or came pretty close but didnt desire the position and were either interviewed on the spot as to exactly what kind of future position would make them happy or a future interview time was scheduled; and the other 3 were completely not a fit and were either interviewed on the spot as to exactly what kind of future position would make them happy or a future interview time was scheduled. Therefore I picked up 3 people to submit to the position and 13 new passive candidates for future positions, all with a 2-4 page interview on file. The 2-4 interview page allows us to make a perfect match between the hiring manager/company and candidate [sorry to sound like a dating site].

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My experience with the bulk of shoddy recruiters

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to the good ones aren't chea ...

They farm cvs.
wordsearch them with wider and wider criteria to get a hit.
Bulk email the lot of them
Then wait for the spammee to ring back and tell them if they think it's a good match.

When the bubble was growing my phone was non stop, now it's either a mailshot, or me hitting the job posting sites and ringing the recruiter.
The latter is how I've got the bulk of my jobs.
Even being inactive on the market for two years I still average about 10 email shots a week.

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Send a bio instead of CV

by mdhealy In reply to My experience with the bu ...

I have a brief biography ready, then when a recruiter cold calls I can ask for what details they are willing to provide about the opening and send them just the bio. Only in the event of serious interest will I send an actual CV. The bio gives them sufficient information to judge what sort of positions I might fit in future, but ensures I'll be in the loop before they can send my CV to an employer, which gives me a little more control.

Actually, most of my experience with the search process is from the employer's end rather than from the candidate's end, since for two people in their forties my wife and I have rather little experience with jobhunting. As an undergraduate I went to about four on-campus interviews, was hired, worked for a few years, then went to grad school. Out of grad school I went to Yale Medical School where I was a Postdoc for a while, until a headhunter found me there in 1998 and I started with my present employers. In the meantime, my wife (whom I met in grad school) got her first real job through a faculty contact, then worked as a freelance editor for five years before getting her current job through a headhunter. So I have never actually done a real job hunt myself, and my wife has done one real job hunt.

But during the same period I've been on the employer's side of many searches. When I was a grad student the faculty in my department actually took our input into their hiring decisions quite seriously so we participated fully in the process of selecting new faculty. And since 1998 as an industrial researcher I have interviewed numerous applicants for various openings.

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My default cv is sort of a bio crossed with a resume

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Send a bio instead of CV

Enough jargon get to hit in a search but enough accomplishments etc to catch the eye of those who don't know what it means or even better for those whom a string of key words indicates naff all.

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It's way too late and I am way too tired.

by Tig2 In reply to Headhunters

But some input for you.

I use recruiters- hopefully for good and not evil. They can be great partners in my search for the next contract.

That said, I was contacted by a guy today- about two hours after I had accepted an offer and start date. The work he was contacting me with had very little to do with my actual skill sets. I have actually spoken with other recruiters about this opportunity and KNEW it was not a match.

I offered to send his contact and req to others that I know to be in the active market and better fits. When I received his note, it was bitter and sarcastic. I don't need that.

I personally am a bit tired of Indian companies that insist on sending me their reqs for $20 an hour on crap (read no benefit, no hire) "opportunities" that I would have to relocate several states to take when I am not even remotely suited to those reqs. And $20/hr is not even a conversation starter.

I am a tad tired of companies that are willing to drag my tail all over creation and not even begin to follow through on the crap they brought me into the interview process to discuss.

I have a short list of recruiters that I will talk to. I am sick of being badgered on my cell- killing minutes that I pay for- by some person that can't comprehend "no". Anyone else can talk to my voice mail.

I am good at what I do. Being a contractor isn't a sign of being a wh*re. I am really tired of it being taken so.

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