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Have You Personally Used an Honest Head Hunter?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the used-car-salesmen-of-IT? dept.

Businesses 478

Haacked asks: "As a software manager, I've tried using recruiters and head hunters to find qualified employees. My experience is that used car salesman feel like paragons of integrity, in comparison. It seems their interests never lie with the job applicant, nor the company. However, I once read that some recruiters do act with integrity and actually care about the people they are trying to place. The book suggested finding a head hunter who is interested in a long term relationship with you (not for the commitment-phobic) and will serve more as a career counselor, attempting to find a position that meets your goals. Seems to me that establishing a long-term relationship with fewer as opposed to screwing people over in volume would make good business sense to garner repeat business. Have any of you ever worked with any firms you felt represented your interests well?"

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478 comments

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Stop hunting for the heads of penises, you queers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097792)

fuck off and die. fp.

NO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097794)

www.fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097797)

www.fp

Re:www.fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097850)

That must be short for www . FAILURE POST . com

In a word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097802)

No.

Have You Personally Used an Honest Head Hunter? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097803)

NO

well....maybe...yeah..it's possible.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097840)

let me think....
no...definetly NO.

Answer: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097807)

Fuck no!

Honest Headhunter? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097808)

no

Yes. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097811)


Have You Personally Used an Honest Head Hunter?"

Yes, a fellow named Jeffrey Dahmer. Nice guy, if a bit strange. I'd ask him what he did with the rest of the bodies but he always just gave me a sly grin.
I wonder what ever happened to him..

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097915)

A geography teacher of mine went to high school with Dahmer. The last time he saw him was when he offered him a ride because he was just walking in the rain. That was within a week or two of when Dahmer committed his first murder.

I'm a car salesman ... (1)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097929)

... you insensitive clod !!!!

(no, I'm not)

Firms that know my interest (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097813)

Yeah, I think that generally when I get firm, you can tell I'm interested.

Heh (0, Troll)

ferret70 (154171) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097818)

Ah, those college days...

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097822)

Yes. (1, Funny)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097824)

Duane "Dog" Chapman was pretty good for me. See? [badnewswire.com]

BUSH = TREMENDOUS UNEMPLOYMENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097825)



Hate your job?

Vote Bush in 2004, you'll never see it again!

Internal (1)

Bravo_Two_Zero (516479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097829)

The best one I've worked with was working on a 6-month contract. He got paid either way, but he worked his buns off for us. And, he was dead-honest. Putting one on a 6-month payroll, though, probably defeats the purpose unless you have several positions to fill.

I've dealt with many agencies. (0)

DrFlex (711207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097832)

I've used the services of multiple agencies.

At first most of them had limited services and bad services. But once the trend caught up, I was able to find one that suited my needs and had great customer service. I personnaly love suppositories.

Shop around to compare the services offered by each of them and make your choice.

Re:I've dealt with many agencies. (3, Informative)

gentoo_moo (679483) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097961)

Try finding a private Recruiter. One that consults on his/her own and is not associated with a larger corporation. These tend to be concerned with filling your positions with qualified candidates and building a good relationship because its their bread and butter not their company's. I have a friend thats a recruiter for the Hospitals but he is privately contracted. He said it works out much better because he's not under pressure to squeeze the client for every penny. A private recruiter can even offer a more indepth and personal evaluation of potential employees where a larger firm has goofy standardized testing. One look at public schools should tell you standardized tests are BS. This is only really good for hiring specific positions, not for high volume staffing in most cases.

Re:I've dealt with many agencies. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097983)

Would you post the names of the ones you liked and disliked? Would be helpful...

I have.... (4, Funny)

bahamat (187909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097833)

I've been used by one, does that count?

Wait, maybe that was abused...

My choice (5, Informative)

JLSigman (699615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097835)

A guy at the Ettain Group [ettain.com] did his best for me, and wasn't upset when I chose a full-time job over the contract he offered me. But not knowing where you are, they may not be available to you.

Payment plan problems (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097836)

Unfortunately, most head hunters do not get paid for employee retention or satisfaction, and simply earn dollars for every body they bring through the doors. As such, there's no incentive to ensure that things work out in anyone's best interest.

Ideally, long term employee satisfaction & retention should factor into the payroll equation.

I got my current job through a head hunter... (1)

Squash (2258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097838)

They interviewed me after promising the client that they had a candidate, and presented me as though I had a long association with them. Not the most honest relationship, but my employer took the right-to-hire option and I'm happy with the turnout.

Head hunters are opportunists, and in my opinion are as straightforward as your average marketing department.

Funny (0, Flamebait)

!Squalus (258239) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097839)

Isn't that like military intelligence or market analyst? Oxymorons I believe they are called.

Experiances (1)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097841)

Most of the few headhunters I have spoken to have all been interested in longer term relationships. Building my resume became a group effort, me to excell in the positions, him to put me into them. It worked quite well.

I have spoken to one or two who presented themselves as one shot deals. Id rather use a temp agency then associate with someone with so little confidence in themselves, or me.

Networking the other kind... (2, Funny)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097845)

Mom and Dad were the best job finders for me. Of course if you don't want to work near family this might not work for you.

Retainer vs. commission-based headhunters (5, Informative)

jdauerbach (252525) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097851)

Some headhunters work on retainer -- generally filling higher-level positions. They tend to put their client's interests first, because their compensation is already earned and because they work on a long-term basis. Others work on commission, filling a position for, say, 30% of the first-year salary. Many of these are, I understand, a bit less ethical.

When you speak with a headhunter trying to fill a position, just ask, "Are you on commission for this, or is it a retainer job?" You can learn a lot from that.

Nope... (4, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097852)

Got a call from a guy that's called me every 3-4 months last week.

Me: "I'm still pretty happy in my current job"
Him: "Well, we're looking for C# developers, but we'll interview people with java talent to fill those roles."
Me: "We're looking for Java talent as well, so if I knew good people, I think we'd take them."
Him: "Really?!? What's the hiring manager's name?"
Me: "I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want that information given out."
Him: "Fine... **click**"

I don't expect to hear from him in 3-4 months.

Re:Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097977)

I wish I had been able to compress 3-4 months into last week...

Out there, but rare... (5, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097853)

I've personally dealt with a wide variety of recruiters over the last few years, and only one has generally conducted himself in a proper, professional fashion (he's from MRI, which is a large firm with offices in several cities). In general, my experience has shown that you're best off dealing with a good-sized placement firm that's been in the game for a long time. Like other aspects of the 90's bubble, recruiting got flooded with resume-shufflers who were looking to make quick bucks by placing anybody and everybody with firms that were scooping up people left and right. By now, many of those prospectors have been driven out of the market. Just for kicks, though, here's a short list of some decidedly unprofessional recruiters I've worked with:

Shortly after introducing himself, asked me to sign a pledge declaring that I would not, under any circumstances, accept a counteroffer from my current employer.

One recruiter, who I had never met or spoken to, submitted my resume to the company I had just left two months previously! Not only that, but he grossly exaggerated my experience and qualifications.

Re:Out there, but rare... (2, Informative)

hemp (36945) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097946)

I agree, I have met a handfull that are actually honest and upstanding.

On the employee side, watch out for the scam where they try to get you in at a lower salary than the company is willing to pay in order to get a cut of the savings from the company in addition to the regular commision.

On the employer side, watch out for the recruiters that taylor their candidates to exactly the qualifications you asked for. Had a few cases where the person being interviewed remarked - "What? Where did you get the idea I have worked with XXXX?" Those type of recruiters are inevitably worthless in the long run and a big waster of your time.

Re:Out there, but rare... (2, Informative)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097951)

I had a fellow from Winter Wyman [winterwyman.com] place me in three consecutive companies between 1999 and 2001. First company I left voluntarily after a year to switch tracks, then second two bombed during the fall. He was very professional and seemed to honestly try to balance meeting my desires in placement with expectations of my prospective employers. I don't know how other people feel about Winter Wyman, but I felt that I was treated professionally by them. I really don't have any other experience with recruiters.

Re:Out there, but rare... (2, Informative)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098021)

I was placed in my current job by a guy from Winter Wyman. The company isn't doing too well, but I've been here almost three years (since 12/02), and it was an absolute joy working with him. There was no bullshit, he worked with my resume instead of padding it, and actively went out to find jobs for me (instead of waiting until something came across his desk that I would fit, unlike a certain other agency I tried to use).

Within two weeks of calling him, I had been on at least half a dozen interviews and had three separate offers.

I've had a good relationship with kenda (1)

np_bernstein (453840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097854)

I don't know about their other offices, but the LA/Orange County office in CA is good. They've remembered who I am when I called, and were up front about how slow the market was. I was pretty impressed that I got emails from one of the recruiters (forget her name) just letting me know that they were still looking. They eventually did get me a job, even though it took a while.

Do they exist? (1)

stuckatwork (622157) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097858)

I've that honest head hunters, like the Eskimo, are an invention by the so called "scientific fiction" writers!

(with apologies to the Simpsons)

hard to find (0)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097864)

Once I actually found a headhunter that would talk to me, that is. Most were only interesting in people with very specific skills, experience, job history, and was a local candidate. I was looking to relocate and finding a headhunter willing to deal with an out of towner was extremely hard.

However, it still took a personal connection to get in touch with that right headhunter.

Huh? (4, Interesting)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097869)

Like Diogenes and his search for an honest man, I personally have never been able to find an honest headhunter! The sleaziest incident was when one of them slipped me $1000 cash in an unmarked white envelope to quit the job I'd just started and go to work for the job he had been trying to set me up with but was taking too long. Ah, those were the good ol' days...

Pay One (3, Interesting)

bladernr (683269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097870)

If you want the recruiter on your side, find a pay service. Its just like actors using an agent. I deal with someone who is very good to me; I pay him for services, contacts, etc (fee-based).

As for recruiters who try to help you out for free, don't forget, you get what you pay for.

head hunters are after placement $$$, nothing else (2, Interesting)

dnotj (633262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097871)

During 8 months of unemployment, I worked with numerous head hunters. I came away with the feeling that their primary concern was placing as many people as possible to earn the placement commission.

They don't care about the employee or the employer.

Even though I was desperate for employment, I decided they weren't worth the trouble.

Not to mention all the OHHHH, that position was just filled after making an inqury about a posting on monster.com (or the like).

I guess I got lucky, the company I'm working for came looking for me....

Yes, but don't count on it. Network (2, Informative)

DaRat (678130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097874)

Yes, I've dealt with good recruiters, but they are few and far between. Ultimately, like car salesmen (and everyone else for that matter), they normally think about short term or immediate gains and not long term ones. Most won't trust, believe, or value a long term relationship if it means possibly losing a short term win.

Network with others to find these good recruiters, and, more importantly, find good candidates. Use your people's contacts/friends to find the candidates based on people that they've worked with in the past.

I have (1)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097875)

I have used a couple different headhunters, but most of them have not performed very well. Most don't really match the people and the jobs together well.

However, I did like the Pencom [pencom.com] guys back in the day, and an ex-pencom guy did find me my current job. Course, I was also a CT person [colltech.com] but not anymore. I can say that a guy nicknamed Chilly was a good recruiter, but he's no longer one anymore.

However, I can't say anything about the companies now, but I'm sure others can. I do get a lot of recruiter email because I pop up on search engines with 'SAN', 'EMC', 'Veritas' and other popular search terms, but I'm never interested in them. But it's nice to give the emails to those who are looking for jobs. `8r)

i had a good headhunter, once (1)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097876)

i was her first placement, so she spent a lot of time trying to do things the right way, and even took me out to lunch after i was placed.

it's a shame that she wasn't around the next time i went looking for a job.

You don't want to use one, even if they're honest (3, Interesting)

SlightlyMadman (161529) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097879)

I don't understand why people still go to headhunters. Even if this mysterious honest recruitment firm did exist, they'd still be taking a lot of money that could be going to your salary (they have to make a profit somehow), and they'll always be bad at matching you up with a company, because if they knew what they were talking about, they'd have a real job.

Every single job I've ever had was the result of me knowing somebody who either worked for the company, or was a friend of someone in management. Any time I've ever gone on an interview that a headhunter found me, it was a complete fiasco. I'm a java programmer, and most of the time they sent me to companies looking for a javascript guy.

They also simply tended to be crappy jobs, which is why they had to pay a headhunter to find them employees. An appealing job will attract an employee with little effort. A good employee who's been in the business for a while and knows some people will usually be able to find their way to it.

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (1)

pcraven (191172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097944)

His/her job is to know the market. If you know it, then you don't need the head-hunter.

Some places require you to go through an 'approved' vender though. Then you have to find a company that will be willing to only take a small cut if you bring them both the job and the candidate. Here we have a company that does that for a $3/hr cut.

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (4, Interesting)

kwerle (39371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097959)

I don't understand why people still go to headhunters. Even if this mysterious honest recruitment firm did exist, they'd still be taking a lot of money that could be going to your salary (they have to make a profit somehow), and they'll always be bad at matching you up with a company, because if they knew what they were talking about, they'd have a real job.

Certainly not my experience. I've had 2 very good experiences with headhunters, and 2 mediocre ones. It is certainly not true that "if they knew what they were talking about, they'd have a real job." I've had managers that couldn't code, and certainly the headhunters couldn't, but they DID know how to communicate. That's what they're there for, and if they know how to do that you're in good hands.

I can tell good UI from bad, but I have a real hard time coming up with good UI on my own. There are plenty of art critics who can't paint. Hell, everyone knows good music when they hear it, but relatively few can play.

For that matter, there are plenty who can play music but not compose - and vice versa...

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (2, Interesting)

pspeed (12169) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097988)

I respectfully disagree.

My current job was acquired through a head-hunter (a good one) and I wouldn't have gotten it any other way. The employer had an exclusive agreement to bring on a certain number of people and they all had to go through this head-hunter. A sort of package deal.

As it turns out, the costs for a head-hunter can be equivalent to what one might pay an HR department to do similar work... and when you have a small or non-existant HR department, a reputable head-hunter can be a great asset.

That all being said, I found the job because the head-hunter had posted specific positions to a job web-site and I responded to two of them because they were both buzz-word compliant with my resume. Within a week I had the job, with salary negotiated through the head-hunter. I felt that they did a good job of playing advocate for both sides.

Since then, I've had an opportunity to deal with them from the employer side and the people they sent us were always very close to what we were looking for... at least as close as one can get without being "us".

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097990)

I don't understand why people still go to headhunters. Even if this mysterious honest recruitment firm did exist, they'd still be taking a lot of money that could be going to your salary

Agreed. That's why I always cut my own hair too. Why would I pay someone to do something I can do with just a pair of scissors?

Every single job I've ever had was the result of me knowing somebody who either worked for the company, or was a friend

Being a bit more serious, the situation you describe is fine for low level, commodity labor. Try hiring your friends to be your CFO or Director of R&D and see how long your company survives.

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097991)

There are plenty of small companies, like the one I ended up at, who don't have a "human resources" department, and frankly noone here has the time to interview applicants. We hire mostly through a headhunter, which is how I got here.

Once in awhile someone will know someone who'll be a good fit, but by and large the frim we use does a really good job of understanding what we're about and doesnt waste our time with dozens of resume's.

Re:You don't want to use one, even if they're hone (3, Insightful)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097998)

I write code for an HR group at a large company, and I can tell you why. Companies don't want to weed through the 300 resumes they get for one position. Quite honestly, they don't have the time. So they trust (at their own peril) a recruiting firm to handle the legwork for them, and narrow it down to a reasonable number.

For that, they don't mind paying a fee. It does save time and money for the company. Unfortunately, they can get screwed on that deal by a flesh-pimp-headhunter. That will only happen once, though, and most companies (at least this one) won't deal with that agency again.

Only headhunter I talked to (1)

keester (646050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097885)

said that he wouldn't place me because they did business with the company I currently worked at.

He said that it would be "unethical" of him. Unethical? WTF are you talking about, I thought. Later, this same person approached me regarding a startup he and a partner had, well, started. Apparently, there weren't any ethical conflicts with taking his current employer's possible customers -- or was I a possible customer?

It's kind of a gray area since that company wasn't going to place me, but this guy would. The company in question is Quilogy. I think they work a lot with Microsoft tech/techies.

Good headhunters... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097886)

If I knew a good headhunter, I wouldn't be at home in my underwear posting to Slashdot, you insensitive clod!

Not really (2, Interesting)

bokelley (563370) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097888)

I have worked with a number of headhunters, and I've had very unpleasant results across the board.

It's something of a vicious cycle in that hiring managers tend to hedge their bets by bringing in multiple headhunters, making it less profitable for the headhunters to do high-quality work for any giving manager. It just doesn't make economic sense for them to really screen candidates and find the perfect fit since neither the candidate nor the hiring manager is locked in.

At one point I tried using a headhunter on a retained basis. We paid him up front for his work on a high-level technical hire, and he put a number of candidates in front of us. He did put a lot of time into the search, and did a better job of screening candidates than any of the contingent (pay if you hire) headhunters. Unfortunately, none of the candidates that we saw fit the bill, and we ended up having paid beaucoup bucks for no results.

I do think, however, that this is the way to go. If you can find a quality headhunter that builds long-term relationships with smart, qualified people, then it's probably worth doing a retained search.

I've been a candidate on both types of search, and the retained is far better from a candidate perspective as well. The hiring manager has already committed significant resources, and has delegated meaningful responsibility to the headhunter - so you can believe 25% of what he/she says, not the usual 10%.

FWIW, I've been trying to hire a couple of Linux-savvy folks for the past month or so, and I've avoided bringing in a headhunter. I can screen resumes as well as the next guy, and probably better than most, and I'll be happy to save the 15-20% fee that they would charge me.

duh (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097891)

just hire a head hunter to find you a good head hunter

Question of intent (2, Insightful)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097892)

Obviously there are always people out there willing to outright scam you, but I haven't run into any that I've noticed. Mostly what you get to deal with are people who cheat you out of incompetence, not knowing or caring what you do. The worst interview is when you arrive, and you and the client realize that you had different ideas of what the position requirements were.

Yes, they exist (2, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097893)

I have worked with a couple over the years and have one now that I really like. Good, honest headhunters are a lot like reliable babysitters. Extremely hard to find, but they do exist. And, once you find one, you do everything you can to preserve your relationship. (Unless it's a babysitter and your last name is Kennedy :)

well.... (4, Interesting)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097895)

I have, but it was deep into my career as a developer before I found one.

Most seem to be flesh pimps... put a warm body in a seat... as long as they get their check. That can not only ruin their reputation with companies out there, but can ruin a developer's career and self esteem.

I have to wonder, in retrospect, if part of the problem was me though. I now know exactly how to talk with head hunters, and think I am pretty good at getting a feel for what they're actually about. I have no problem telling them when they're wrong, and when I think they're trying to pimp me out.

I have a good working relationship with two head hunters now, and they know my skillset very well. I haven't had a problem with the flesh pimps (other than the usual cold calls) in some time.

I did, once, have one ask me how long it would take for me to learn a particular language that wasn't on my resume. I asked him how long it would take him to learn Portugese. He got the message.

Re:well.... (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097917)

p.s. I've had the most success with Robert Half Tech in the Houston area.

If you ever get a call from a recruiter with Beatek (also BTek), just hang up. You'll thank yourself later, even if you're flipping burgers.

Re:well.... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098019)

What message is that? Don't you find learning another language pretty straightforward after the first half-dozen or so?

Re:well.... (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098022)

I did, once, have one ask me how long it would take for me to learn a particular language that wasn't on my resume. I asked him how long it would take him to learn Portugese. He got the message.

Oh, you poor thing! Did the mean man try to make you learn Java? shhhhhhhhh, it's OK, the mean man won't hurt you anymore. shhhhhhhh..........

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097896)

This is always difficult because spending a lot of time with one person means you can't spend time with others.

I know someone who does this (MRC Australia) - but the proprietor, Maria, tends to spend most of her time helping people and rushes to get other things done.

Also, she's only a small company - which often means good service - but fewer clients that can be supported.

AC

General Employment? (1)

mschaef (31494) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097897)

Anybody have any experiences, good or bad, with General Employment [genp.com] ?

Trusted head-hunters? (4, Informative)

pcraven (191172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097906)

I've worked with a dozen or so head hunters. I've only me one I totally trusted. Good signs for a head-hunter:

1.) Works with you to establish your hourly rate, and the hourly rate he'll bill you at. (Doesn't hide rates.)
2.) No IP agreements.
3.) Reasonable non-competes
4.) How well they treat H1-B people. Do they threaten to deport them if they leave the company?
5.) Have you seen them lie? Do research with other people in the company. Ask pointed questions and see if employee answers match head-hunter answers.
6.) Attitude towards overtime.
7.) No patronizing attitude
8.) Open with what is going on with office politics
9.) Shows you the contract between head-hunter and company you'll go to.
10.) Asks where you want to go with your career

Bottom line, you've got to do your research. Google for people that have worked at the same company and ask them questions.

Re:Trusted head-hunters? (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098026)

A good website with some of that same advice is Contract Employees Handbook [cehandbook.com] . I learned quite a bit from these guys.

It's all in the incentives (1)

tmark (230091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097911)

Make sure the headhunter's incentive structure is in line with serving your interests. Obviously, you want to avoid a company that takes a fee ( in my opinion, even a portion of a fee) on the initial hire. Fee structures where the headhunter takes (say) 50% of its fee if the hire stays (say) 6 months, and takes the remaining portion of its fee if the hire remains for a full year gets you a good chunk of the way to making sure the headhunter's incentives are in line with your own. After all, if they send you (and you hire) a screw-up, there's no way the person should last with you long enough for the headhunter to collect a dime.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097914)

I have known the same headhunter for 5 years.

I knew she was one of the decent people out there when she left a large agency she was with due to them limiting her ability to market me out to others. They told her that she was to market me to one company at a time. (Other factors played into her leaving of course, this was just the final bit she needed to make the decision). The job we were working on didn't happen due to me taking a different one, but a couple of years later she was able to place me at another company. One job in 5 years through her, and she still takes the time to make sure that all is well.

Over these 5 years I have talked to her every few weeks, and even now I goto her first when I am looking for someone to hire.

Yes, there can be decent people in the world in any job.

Common practice (2, Interesting)

zolon (605240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097918)

Thanks to the market being swamped, the head hunters have started to turn against not only the possable employee, but against the company looking for the recruit. I have seen, and been on the recieving end many times of a head hunter saying that I had a job, just to find out they gave it to some one else. Once, I even got a call from the company I was going to be working for, and they asked why *I* turned them down. Don't trust a head hunter, there is a reason they are called that. sin

There are different animals in play... (2, Insightful)

Ian.Waring (591380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097921)

Contingency recruiters, who get paid to fill a slot and will mailshot you CV everywhere to get the "we introduced person x to you first, so pay the fee please". And retainer recruiters, who are paid to find a shortlist of people for a fixed fee, even if the employer doesn't end up taking them on. If you're job hunting, the general technique is to write to all the target companies you're looking at directly, tell a few retainer recruiters you're looking, and generally to avoid contingency recruiters like the plague. Recommended book is "Rights of Passage" by John Lucht. If you ignore the promotion of his own Internet site, you'll see how different parts of the recruitment industry work, and the advice in there is very good - for high-ticket price job hunters anyway. IMHO of course...

You get what you pay for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097928)

Deal with a used car salesman, be prepared for a few "lemons." Deal with a top-selling new Mercedes car salesman, get all your needs met.

If your dealing with some schmuck out to make a quick buck that's 25 yrs. old and a fast-talker, be prepared for a few "lemons." Deal with an experienced, older person who has built there reputation for several years and has a proven track-record, and you can expect to get mostly quality candidates for the job you're looking to fill. That's not to say that he/she can be infallible however, just more discerning. Why? Job candidates like to lie all the time. It's inevitable, and no one can stop a job candidate from doing so.

And just so everyone knows, I have nothing to do with hiring/firing people, nor do I 'headhunt.' I merely have an insiders look at that industry via someone I know.

Previous cow-orkers... (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097931)

I've never had much luck with headhunters. Just about all positions I've ever been in have been found through previous cow-orkers, friends and being in the right place at the right time. Monster, Dice, etc. all failed me while I was unemployed for six or eight months a while ago. I've been steadily updating and expanding my little black book with all of my business and personal contacts so, if anything ever does happen in the future, I'll utilize acquaintances for job leads instead of headhunters.

Contract agencies... (2, Funny)

`Sean (15328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097971)

On a side note, ditto for contract agencies. Seven years ago I was totally psyched to find a contractor that paid me $28/hour for jack of all trades systems administration and network architecture. Being 19 or 20 at the time I was enthralled with that hourly rate. Many years later, while talking to a company I used to contract for, I found out they were billing me out at $250/hour. Riiight...

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097932)

I am posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

I have used National Software (800-666-5601) and been happy with them. They are honest and will be straight with you about everything, or at least my rep sems to be.

I have also been used by Oxford International. Those crooks will charge an 87% markup on you, so if their client gets anything like what they are paying for it is because you are working way harder than your pay justifies. They are one of the reasons the biz has a bad name.

In contracting, everything is ephemeral. Get the money up front, tax-free (401k) if you can. Forget paid vacation time and pensions that take time to vest, you will probably never get the promised goodies.

honest headhunter (1)

erikdotla (609033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097933)

The only honest headhunter would be someone who hates money.

They are out there... (3, Insightful)

iiioxx (610652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097937)

Yes, I know of at least one honest headhunter. I've known him for years. He found me a good job as a sysadmin at a nice company a few years ago. He worked hard to get me there, but I ended up not taking the job (for reasons to complicated to go into). But even though he had put in a lot of time setting the deal up, he was very understanding when I turned it down.

What's more, he didn't hold a grudge. Six months ago when I was looking for a change of scenary, I applied for a job online. It turned out Vince was the headhunter, now working for a different company himself. He not only remembered me by name, but recommended me highly to the client (which turned out to be the same company he works for), and I ended up getting the job.

A month ago, a friend of mine was looking to get out of a sinking ship himself. I gave him Vince's number, and in three weeks Vince not only found him a job, but found him something that fit him well. In this economy? I was floored.

So yes, they are out there. You just have to look around a little.

A conflict of interest? (1)

Ratfactor (15886) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097940)

The book suggested finding a head hunter who is interested in a long term relationship with you...
Call me crazy, but when I'm trying to find a job, a long, drawn-out process isn't exactly what I have in mind.

Re:A conflict of interest? (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098002)

Yeah...a long-term relationship with a headhunter usually implies that you'll be seeing a lot of them. That kind of infers that they get you short-term jobs that suck and/or disappear quickly. ;)

Re:A conflict of interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7098020)

You fucking moron - the poster is speaking from the position of using a headhunter to hire employees, not using a headhunter to get a job. You're so fucking stupid! I can't believe that you couldn't understand that from the post. Get a fucking brain nigger/faggot.

Never had any success on the other end (1)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097943)

I had given my resume to a few techie headhunter groups (looking for a job, not an employee), and all they did was search and compare acronyms and words they don't understand.

I'd really try to prequalify them to see if they've gotten any better. It was a couple of years ago last try, but I've spoken with 2-3 of them.

Mixed experience (3, Insightful)

louthegiantrat (442862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097947)

I have had both good and bad luck with head hunters.

Some warning signs of a bad one:

1) The headhunter says things like "This is the best developer I have ever talked to." or "You'll want to hire this guy immediately" or "I have ten people perfect for the job you're offering"

2) The resumes that the headhunter gives you are fully of typos and gramatical errors. Not only doesn't the applicant care enough to fill it out, but the headhunter didn't care enough to review it.

3) Headhunter says "Even though he doesn't have the experience you said you wanted, I know you'll love him".

Good signs when talking to a headhunter.

1) FIXED RATES!!!! Most headhunters get a percentage of the salary of the person coming in. There incentive is to get you to hire the most expensive guy, whether he is qualified or not. Fixed rate headhunters just want to keep you happy so that you come back.

2) They do full pre-screening interviews with technical questions before forwarding any resumes.

3) When you reject a candidate, they try to find out why so that they don't make the same mistake twice.

Overall, I think that the right headhunter can be a great help with recruiting, but always understand that there interest is in placing candidates with you and not necessarily that the candidate fits.

Seems to me (0)

borius (711380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097948)

that unless the tasks you need employees for are eating donuts and attending the help desk, you'd need people with heads on. So don't trust people that collect heads as trophies to get you good employees.

Short answer: yes (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097955)

I posted a brief resume to monster.com, within a few days a headhunter called me up with a position in mind. A week later I was employed.

A good headhunter will find you, and a good headhunter will charge your employer, not you for his services. If he wants a check, he's just jerking you around.

All in the Family. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097957)

"Have any of you ever worked with any firms you felt represented your interests well?"

Well The family got me a real nice job. I'm not wild about all the hugging and kissing though.

Look for the individual, not the firm/agenecy (1)

code5396 (524623) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097960)

You'll probably have better luck finding an individual [headhunter], who has integrity and an interest in a long-term relationship than a firm.

I worked with one in particular who placed me at a Fortune 500 firm. The headhunter moved through three different agencies in the few years since. Perhaps he had too much integrity, as he's moved on to another career because the tight job market made it impossible for him to meet quota and keep his integrity.

Honest Headhunters (1)

skywalker59 (669978) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097963)

Actually I have worked with several honest headhunters in the past, both SW and HW since I am an embedded controls type. There are a lot of hacks out there, but the ones with integrity have usually been those with which friends of mine have had good experiences. I also have found that local private headhunters seem to have more on the ball and are usually pretty sharp, and usually are former engineers themselves now presently in retirement. My experiences are predominantly in the South and Midwest. I actually have had several more select ones interview me technically and personally to see if I am of the caliber for which their clients are looking. Actually, I have been placed twice in my career by good headhunters with which I still maintain contact. They also have been useful in finding potential coworkers that fit my needs.

Basic Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097964)

The basic point of headhunting firms is to get folks to take jobs they wouldn't take otherwise. I've never had a job through a headhunter I could justify for any reason other than $$$.

Another problem is that the consulting firms lobbied congress so that it is pretty much mandatory that small consulting firms go through an agency(i.e. big companies just won't do corp-to-corp/1099 any more).

In general, the US is just way to loaded with various type of parasites-lawyers, accoutantants and various other types that lobby for legislation that makes their services necessary.

There are indeed good ones. (1)

Montreal Geek (620791) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097967)

Years ago, I have been contacted by a head hunter regarding a job posting I had applied to.

We had an hour-long chat about my past and experiences, and just shooting the breeze on a number of fairly interresting subjects (he had a technical rather than HR background, so he could hold a conversation.)

The result? He turned me away from the job I applied for "You're going to hate it there", dived in his file drawer and pulled out something entirely unrelated telling me that this was the job for me.

Got an interview with his client, and got the job. While they folded two years later those were the best two years of my professional life-- the pay was good, the people I worked with were great and the job was interresting.

I've dealt with other headunters before, and since, and they mostly suck. They also have HR backgrounds.

My advice? Try to find a headhunter that actually understands the postings, and the people who apply for them. Much better matches will ensue.

-- MG

I knew one once. (2, Funny)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097969)

His name was Alan. He was a decent guy. Alan and me got to know each other when I needed to fill some spots on a desktop support help desk at 35k a year (this being back in 1995-97 when it was hard, but possible to find such people). He sent over a boatload of fine people - I hired about 6 people off of him.

Anyway, since he was so good, I gave him my resume and let him shop me around the next time I was looking. He landed me in 3 jobs in a row. Then, I have to admit, I fucked up. I was in the middle of a divorce, and I was being slack. The company fired me because of a performance issue (my fault - I was taking too much time up, showing up late, that kind of thing).

After that, he didn't have any time to spend on me. I suspect (this was mid-2000) that he was having performance issues of his own - the .com bubble had burst in Silicon Alley and placements were really dry.

I haven't been able to get a hold of him in a long time. I suspect he is out of the business, he doesn't work for the old agency he used to. If anyone knows of an Alan Chase in the NYC area, send me an ICQ or mail, though, he was a great guy and i'd love to work with him again. Divorce is over, things are cool again.

Dunno if they qualify as a headhunter... (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097973)

... but Teksystems has treated me very well in the past.

Lately, though, they seem to be slipping... getting more like their slimy competitors. I hope it ain't so, 'coz they treated me VERY well when I worked for them a few years ago.

There is at least one good headhunter out there... (1)

obiwan314 (124293) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097976)

My manager got laid off and became a head hunter.

When there was a massive lay off at my company my manager voulenteered to be layed off and formed his own headhunting company. He has worked hard to employ as many people as possible from our company. It is because of him I can say for sure that there are people out there doing the job that care. He decided that software engineering managment was not giving him the satisfaction that headhunting could provide.

Long term relationships are the key as well. He has been working with and following up with all of us since the layoff as well.

I don't want this to turn into a commercial but this is their URL. http://princetonresource.com/. I wish him all the success he deserves.

Why use a head hunter? (1)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097982)

Why would you want to use a head hunter? Most places that have jobs available (white collar and blue collar) will put an ad in the paper or on their website.

Staffing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097985)

I work in the staffing industry. I don't do staffing.. I just keep the servers going, but I do see a lot of what goes on. There is definitely a variety of styles you'll find. Most headhunters try to keep strong long term relationships with their clients that way whenever the client needs someone they'll go back and ask the headhunter again. As for employees it varies. They always keep in touch with employee through the first few months to ensure that they stay. You need them to stay a full 90 days usually to get full commission. You'll find recruiters have their own styles and some will be good and some won't.. Try calling a few up and sending out your resume. You can talk to them and ask them questions about they way they do things. See if they are the type of person you want to be doing business with.. If they aren't you'll still have plenty of other recruiters to go to until you find one you like...

Head Hunter's Over Sell (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7097986)

I once had a head hunter place me in a position at Enron as a DBA of their financial databases, even though my only prior experience was that of MS Access and a little VB. My incompetence was almost exposed a few times especially when one of my macros got out of hand and started calculating losses as profits. I just hope my new position at SCO will last a little longer :)

Neve. (1)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097995)

Have any of you ever worked with any firms you felt represented your interests well?

Never.

In every experience I've had where I was sent as an applicant to a company via a recruiter, the recruiter had always doctored up my resume, and tried to push me into being dishonest about my experiences (such as making a little bit of experience with something sound more like a lot of experience with something).

I've also noticed (being on the interviewing side) that most recruiters don't know squat about tech skills - even if they are a supposed specialized "tech recruiter". It seems they simply look for the buzz-words/buzz-acronyms on a resume, and send it to you if they think there is a match.

I'd be VERY careful about selecting a recruiter from which to get applicants.

There are honest headhunters. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7097997)

They do not recruit Software developers, the honest ones go after bigger game high level executives. The ones that do recruit software engineers have to put up with a difficult job. There are so many stupid jobs in software development that they have to fill. I feel sorry for them. While I do not condone their practices, I can understand the pressures they are under.

There are a FEW good ones... (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098000)

I've had mixed dealings with headhunters. Most don't give a crap about who you are and what you want. They are just trying to fill seats and make as much money as they possibly can.

I have met a select few who do go the extra mile. I remember one way back in 1989 who actually sat down with me and we talked for good while about what I wanted. She actually got me an interview with my dream company at the time (Pixar) but when that fell through, she got me other interviews and finally landed me at another pretty good company.

After dealing with someone who was honest, decent, and actually listened to me, I had no desire to even talk to the other 99% of headhunters. Usually, I interview them before they have a chance to interview me. If they seem skanky, I leave.

Hunting for head hunters? (1)

maliabu (665176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098015)

i think as a manager, one should make no less effort to research, or even interview a couple of head hunters before using them to find the right employees.

everything's the same, you need to right tool for the job, from the very beginning.

Well, I've almost done it. (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098016)


At least I've talked with a few who acted and talked as if they were honest. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be true. ; )

steve

A few exist (2, Interesting)

LauraW (662560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7098028)

I've encountered a few honest recruiters. The key seemed to be that I found them rather than the other way around.

When I was first out of college, I used a headhunter to find my first programming job in Chicago. I can't remember his name or the company, but he was somewhere downtown on Wacker street I think. It took several months to find a job that I was a good fit for, especially since I didn't have a CS degree. He sent me on one or two interviews that weren't really good fits for me and was kind of amazed when I turned a company down because they were "too corporate." But he got the message, and a bit later he found me weveral interviews at once and I ended up with three offers to choose from.

Out here in Silicon Valley I know one good recruiter who used to work for one of my former employers on a contract basis. She found good people for us to interview, which is exactly what she was supposed to do. She also gave me some advice when I was job hunting again a few months ago. The recruiters who work for my current employer seemed good too. In both of these cases they definitely represented the employer, not the potential employees.

On the other hand I've run across some bad ones. Before I found the good one in Chicago, I encountered some agencies that were more like meat markets than technical recruiters. At one of them I showed up for an initial interview and they were also interviewing hairdressers. From the employer side, I've also encountered quite a few recruiters who will give managers lots and lots of resumes for unqualified people, without making any effort to filter them at all. ("Does the word Java appear anywhere on this resume? No? Then why did you send it to me for a Java programming job?")

Summary: There are some excellent recruiters out there, but they're hard to find. Once you find a good one, stick with them.

my headhunter is also my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7098034)

I've known her for almost 20 years, in fact I refer to her as "my second mom".

She has never actually placed me anywhere, but she has always helped me in every way a geek could want.

So, I think that would qualify as a 'long term' geek-headhunter relationship!

And no, I'm not giving out her email address...

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