3 Pros and Cons of Working With Headhunters

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Like them or not, headhunters play a pivotal role in helping countless job seekers find work. If you're in the market for a new position, you may be considering working with a recruiter. But is that a good idea? Here are three benefits of using a headhunter you should know about -- and three drawbacks that might come back to haunt you.

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Headhunter pro No. 1: Exposure to more job openings

While anyone with an internet connection could conceivably go online and look for work, the upside of using a headhunter is that you might gain access to opportunities you wouldn't have found otherwise. Some companies work exclusively with outside recruiters and don't post their jobs to the public, or at least not right away. If you work with a headhunter, he or she might hook you up with an interview that turns into a job offer.

Headhunter pro No. 2: Resume and interview advice

Another good reason to use a headhunter is that these people know how to craft the sort of resumes employers want to see. A good recruiter can take your resume and transform it into a much better version of the document you walked in with, and that could prove essential to getting your foot in the door somewhere. Along these lines, headhunters can coach you on how to best tackle job interviews, and provide invaluable tips that give you an edge.

Headhunter pro No. 3: Recruiters are invested in your success

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Unlike salaried employees, headhunters generally work on commission. This means that they only get paid if you get hired, and in many cases, they don't actually get compensated until you've been at the job for a certain period of time. The result? If you enlist the help of a headhunter, he or she will be motivated to find you a job, and match you up with companies that are likely to hire you.

Headhunter con No. 1: Your resume might end up diluted

Though headhunters are often resume wizards, that may not work out in your favor. That's because recruiters are notorious for tailoring resumes to specific clients, and in doing so, might push you toward a role or career path you don't really want. Be careful if you sign up with a headhunter -- if you have a broad range of experience under your belt, the last thing you want is to get pigeonholed.

Headhunter con No. 2: You might waste your time interviewing for jobs you don't want

Some headhunters will try to get you in the door for as many interviews as possible in the hopes that an offer will come through. But that could make for a very demanding and draining job search. It's often the case that less is more when it comes to interviews -- you're better off meeting with a few good companies than wasting your time discussing roles that aren't really right for you.

Headhunter con No. 3: They don't always have your best interests at heart

Though headhunters are motivated to get their clients placed, this doesn't necessarily mean that yours will go out of his or her way to help you land your dream job. Quite the contrary -- you might get pressured into taking a job you don't want just so your recruiter can collect that commission. Furthermore, working with a headhunter might actually result in a lower salary, especially if you're pushed to accept a lowball offer. If you're iffy about a job proposal, don't let a recruiter try to sell you on something that isn't right for you. And never, ever take a headhunter's word on whether the salary you're being offered is a good one. Rather, do your own research to see how that offer stacks up.

There are plenty of good reasons to work with a headhunter during your job search, but there are also many good reasons to proceed with caution when going this route. That said, not all recruiters are created equal, so if you're lucky, you might find someone who truly cares about your needs and works like crazy to find you the perfect role. Just be prepared for the possibility that you might wind up with the opposite type -- a headhunter who wants nothing more than to place you, collect a paycheck, and move on.

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