Should You Use A Headhunter to Snag A Job?

by bcope

If you are trying to snag a job you want to use all the resources available. Should that include a headhunter? The following guest post argues against it but I have a different opinion. First lets see what David has to say and then I’ll share my thoughts.

Despite claims that things might be looking upward, the outlook in this country has been stagnant for quite some time, with layoffs happening almost daily. If you’re among the new wave of unemployed, you’re no doubt hungry to get back to work.

But even if you’re desperate, do not make the mistake of shelling out a ton of cash and using a headhunter to find a job. That may have been worth it at one point, but times have changed. It’s still necessary to use all your resources and get creative in your job search, but both of those are possible without going broke. Here are some reasons not to pay someone to find you a job.

1. Headhunters Are Overrated

People who say they will find you a job are typically better at selling themselves than they are at finding you an actual position. Most are slick at playing on the emotions of candidates, who are likely reeling from the loss of their jobs. Oftentimes, headhunters falsely hype the potential of their services, providing things that are largely unnecessary to a proper job search. Or they charge for things you could easily do on your own, such as using social-media to find a job. Many times, headhunters play the role of cheerleader and not much else. Keep your money in your pocket, and find a friend or family member for emotional support.

2. Headhunters Are Overpriced

A paid placement service can run you as much as $3,500 – money you clearly need for other purposes, especially now. A few years back, I was wooed and ultimately “convinced” by a headhunter that cutting him a check was a good career move. But by the time our contract ended, I was still looking for work. If you feel the need for professional help as you search for a job, turn to your previous colleagues to suss out a recruiter, where the employer foots the bill.

3. Headhunters Offer No Guarantees

Keep this in mind: One of the first things all headhunters out there will tell you is that finding a job isn’t a certainty. This means any investment you make with them could very well be wasted money – nothing more than a very expensive pat on the back. There’s an inherent message conveyed if an initial meeting with a headhunter starts out with why they might not succeed.

4. You Can Do It Yourself

When it comes to posting your availability or seeing employer openings, everyone has access to multiple job boards through websites like Simply Hired or Indeed. With the power of the Internet at your disposal, you no longer require a hired hand. In fact, sites like LinkedIn and Monster have entire sections devoted to positioning yourself optimally. LinkedIn has become so entrenched in the job-search arena that many employers now allow you to apply through the site. You can even connect with a chosen company’s key employees in advance of applying.

One area in which you don’t want to go it alone is resume preparation, including that all-important cover letter. Unless you’re particularly well versed in resume creation, it pays to shell out for professional help. It’s the cornerstone of your job search, and the risks are simply too high. Try to get a referral from a friend or family member, so you know it’s someone you can trust.

Final Thoughts

Although a headhunter isn’t a recommended expense, be sure to keep track of whatever expenses you do incur, and deduct them on your tax return. Some of the more common job search related tax deductions you can write off include resume preparation, mailing costs and supplies (including paper, envelopes, and postage), and travel expenses incurred getting to and from interviews. There are some restrictions, so check with the IRS website or your financial advisor for complete details.

Have you ever used a headhunter to help you find a job? If so, did it end up paying off for you?

David Bakke is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance. He writes in areas related to business and careers, frugal living, retirement, and wealth creation.

Thanks David. Great ideas but as I said I am not sure I agree completely. Many times headhunters charge the employer – not the employee. Also, the most professional headhunters only work on commission. If they don’t place you, there is no fee anyway. I think it makes sense to avoid those people who want to charge you without placing you. But it makes the world of sense to talk to a headhunter to determine how they work before you completely rule this option out.

What say you?




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