Recruiters and headhunters and career coaches…oh my!
The employment world is chock full of choices when it comes to people who can help you get the job of your dreams. And while they are related, there are some important differences. Here’s a closer look at each.
Recruiters generally work for the company that has the job opening, although they can be an independent businessperson.
- His job is to search out people to fill vacancies within his company. Some companies take a more proactive stance than others do when it comes to having a stash of qualified people in the wings to fill unexpected openings.
- An in-house recruiter will have a better idea about such things as company dynamics, the culture, the type of work done there, the inside skinny on the company’s direction and so on.
- He’s got a stake in picking the best person for the job (may it be you!), but he gets a paycheck even if you’re not hired.
“Headhunter” and “recruiter” are virtually the same thing. They try to find people to match specific job vacancies. Headhunters, however, typically work for a staffing agency. Well-qualified people in hot industries, such as technology, may find themselves approached by many headhunters for particular job openings. And while it’s nice to feel the love, it can be pretty daunting.
- Get paid for placing an employee, up to 25% of the successful candidate’s starting annual salary. That can be a good thing or a bad thing – the more money the job candidate makes, the more money the headhunter makes. The downside is that job candidates could be pressured into taking a job that isn’t a good fit so the headhunter can make a fee.
- May have an inside track on jobs that are not posted
- Are generalists who work for anyone who needs help filling certain jobs. That means they may not know much about the company that’s hiring, its culture or how this particular job fits into the overall structure. Or even the more nitty-gritty details of what the specific job entails.
Human resources professionals
The bigger companies have their own human resources departments, which handle much of the nuts and bolts of employment. Those things generally include:
- Creating job descriptions, in conjunction with department heads and other
- Advertising vacancies
- Checking resumes to make sure candidates have the experience, education, etc., called for by the job description
- Initial interview, trying to determine how well the prospect would fit into the company
- Testing (skills, drugs, etc.), if required
- Forwarding top candidates to the hiring manager for the next level
This management-level employee has the authority to hire someone for a specific role within her department. Depending on the size of the company, she will:
- Talk to candidates passed along by Human Resources Department, or do everything herself, from advertising to interviewing to hiring to training
- Focus on your skills and experience to see how well they match her needs
- Ask specific questions about your previous jobs and duties. She may also ask behavioral interview questions to find out how you have reacted to specific, sometimes challenging circumstances.
A career coach:
- Focuses on you and what you want
- Helps you figure out what you want if you don’t know
- Works for you, not the hiring company or the staffing agency
- Reviews your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, other materials to make sure they are appropriate
- Creates with you a plan of action to help you find the job you want
- Keeps you moving forward
- Plays the hiring manager in mock job interviews with you
- Assesses your dress, body language, tone of voice, etc.
Depending on where you are – physically and in your career – one or more of these options may play a role in your job search.
In all cases, remember this: No one cares more about your career than you do. Do your research, learn as much as you can about the company before even applying for a job.
Do you have any cautionary tales you’d like to share from your own experience with any of the above? Please add your wisdom in the comments below!