Whether you are actively looking for a job or a headhunter has come to you, you need to decide if a particular job opportunity is right for you.  How can you decide what you actually want?  Here’s a list of questions and concerns that you should have if you are being offered a job or even an interview for a job.

What Do I Need to Pay?

If you are asked to pay for the opportunity to work for a company, you need to walk away immediately.  Sure, they won’t say “pay us this money”, but if they start telling you that you need to pay for products or services you should walk away. You should be aware that they may try to entrap you by saying that you don’t have to pay upfront but over time.  Furthermore, if you aren’t going to collect a salary, but will be paid by commission only, that’s another reason to walk away.

Who is Asking?

If the headhunter has only been doing it a few months or even a few years, they are probably not committed to it as a real profession.  There are professional agencies with long histories and good reputations  Usually these executive recruitment firms are not giant conglomerates with little more than emails and phone numbers.  You can tell by their website if these are real people or if it is just an employment mill where they make a commission off of your willingness to interview.  

This type of headhunter has even admitted in interviews that they are just trying to make their quota. They have to have three candidates for each position, for instance, and you are their number three.  This indicates that they aren’t being selective. You don’t want headhunters calling your boss for a recommendation when the companies they represent aren’t even serious about hiring you.  This could just complicate your relationships at work and jeopardize your standing as a member of a team.

What’s Your Motivation?

When a headhunter seeks you out, you have every right to ask what’s in it for them.  There are different types of job recruiters, and you need to determine if this person who is dangling a carrot in front of you actually cares about your needs. They will say they do, but do they really? Many of them get a fee for every successful hire.  Some are entitled to a percentage of your income for the next year or even two years.

Truly reputable job recruitment firms will handle professional recruitment quite differently from headhunters.  Usually they seek to develop a relationship with you, learning what you actually want before recommending a job interview.  If the firm uses the recruitment research process, for instance, rather than simply making cold calls to find candidates, you can have confidence in the offers they are making and the job interviews they are suggesting.

Do I Have to Move?

Perhaps headhunters will try to get you to move to a new area.  Your business itself may ask you to move in order to get a promotion.  What do you do in these cases?  You really need to examine the standard of living where you would be sent, and, of course, you need to discuss it with your partner or spouse.  What looks like the perfect opportunity for you could be a nightmare for your family, if you have kids or teenagers.  

Should I Take the Job?

If you do get an offer through a headhunter, you need to consider your options carefully with your friends, family and other trusted advisors.  A headhunter’s job is to get you to take the job.  They don’t get paid unless you — or someone — says yes.  

Make sure to ask if the headhunter how much they will make if you get the job.  Specifically ask them how long fees will be paid to their agency if you accept.  You won’t be able to ask for a raise if they are getting a kickback for several years. 

When you are looking for a job, stay acutely aware of payments made to middlemen.  If you are involved in a process where someone is getting paid to recruit you, make sure the firm is reputable and the recruiters aren’t just headhunters looking to make a quick buck.

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