Have you received calls from headhunters before? They called your personal line, addressed you by your first name and asked if it is a convenient time to talk about an opportunity. These calls were out of the blue and you felt flattered.

Headhunting firms are different from recruitment firms or employment agencies. Headhunter conducts target search for specific roles based on client’s instruction. The placement fee involved can be as high as 30% of annual remuneration package. Upon receiving an assignment for a search, they would study the industry, map out the talents available, find out their current and expected remunerations and their willingness to move. Next they would present the CVs of suitable candidates who are keen to move to their client for short-listing. Headhunter would often reveal the hiring Company to the selected candidates shortly before the first interview. By then, the headhunter would have profiled the candidate via written CV and face to face meeting. And he would have administered internal assessments or other assessments required by the client.

Do not let the initiate excitement get into your head. After that phone call, you should research on the firm and the hiring company if given the name before committing to anything. Use the internet, business directory or ask someone in the known. And assess the headhunter and his company for yourself during your visit to the headhunters office. Where the office is located, its deco, its staff members and list of existing clients are essential information to assess the headhunting firm. Headhunting firms of various sizes exist in the market. On one end, there are the boutique size headhunting firms with limited resources, network and niche focus and on the other, there are big headhunting firms with greater resources, network and wider reach. You should decide which firms you want to leverage on to enhance your careers growth.

It is good practice to maintain contact with a few reputable headhunters throughout your career. An occasional phone call to chat or to inform them of your advancement in career and openness to new opportunities should be sufficient. You can consider attending their function such as networking or industrial talk if you are invited but avoid over exposing yourself. You would not want to be seen as an employee who is too eager to move on.

Though headhunter is a good mean to connect you with the right employers, do not rely totally on them to find new opportunities for you. You should take a proactive role and drive your own career forward. It is easy to say but harder to say no to the headhunter. When you need to turn down an offer received via headhunter, do it professionally and tactfully. Remember it’s your career, you should know what suit you best. But don’t burn bridges.