There is often a lot of confusion as to who exactly the headhunter represents. Are they watching out for the best interest of the candidate? Are they watching out for the best interest of the company? Will they negotiate the highest salary for the candidate? Will they do everything they can to save the company as much money as possible?
The short answer is, both. A good headhunter is not looking for a quick buck. They understand that this industry revolves around relationships. These relationships, both with the company and the candidate, must be built on trust. As almost anyone will tell you, trust is earned, not given.
Building Trust With The Candidate
In order to truly build trust with a candidate, you need to be honest with the candidate. That honesty needs to go both ways. The candidate, in turn, will need to reciprocate the honesty. What is he/she looking for in their job search? What compensation package are they targeting? What are the key criteria they search for in a new job?
If an honest conversation is had about what the candidate is really looking for, then the recruiter now has a roadmap of how to properly conduct a job search on the candidate’s behalf. All opportunities presented to the candidate should, for the most part, match their criteria. It can be hard to match 100% of a candidate’s need, but it is not hard to try. Many headhunters are more concerned with filling open roles as opposed to finding the right fit. In a relationship built on trust, the candidate’s ‘desires’ must be put before the headhunter’s ‘needs.’
Building Trust With The Company
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This relationship between the headhunter and the company too needs to be built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. This also starts with a deep understanding of what the company needs. What type of candidate are they looking for? Which parts of the skillset are required as opposed to desired. What would classify as their ideal candidate?
It will go a long way in building trust if the headhunter keeps the priorities of the company ahead of their own. Working together to find the right hire is a partnership. And the partnership will only be successful if the headhunter and the company work together in unison. It is through this level of mutual honesty that the headhunter and the company are able to build a relationship. It will be this transparent relationship that assures the company that the headhunter truly wants what is best for the company.
Like all relationships, there will be ups and downs. Not everyone will always see eye to eye on the best course of action and of course there will be disagreements as to what is best. But your ability to find a resolution together is what will make a long lasting work relationship for all parties involved. If the job search is conducted with honesty and integrity, then both the company and the candidate can rest assured that the headhunter properly and professionally represented them both to the best of his abilities.