Headhunters: to use or not to use

“I have never got a job through a headhunter,” says Nick Bampton, commercial sales director at Channel 5. “The most effective and successful people are very good networkers. They know a lot of people and are more widely known.”

Others have found headhunters helpful. One marketer who lost a senior role due to a restructure and does not wish to be named says it is best to work with headhunters who care about finding a role that really suits you.

“The big professionals really care that you are actually going into the job, that you are going to stay there for a while because it affects their reputation. They pre-screen you to make sure you are not going to ruin the bigger picture,” the marketer says.

Headhunting firms may have a contract to fill jobs at all levels, and putting the wrong person in at the top may be damaging.

At a senior level, recruitment firms try to put the best candidates into roles that suit them, rather than “crushing you through the factory because they just want to get the next commission cheque,” adds the marketer.

Phil Rumbol, who set up agency 101 after leaving his marketing director role at Cadbury following its takeover by Kraft, asked Cadbury to provide a career coach to help him decide what to do next.

“If you are contemplating a coach, consider what you need from them. Is it for them to help you untangle a ball of wool in terms of the logistics of what you want to do, or is it to challenge and provoke you?”

For Bampton, it is important to market yourself. “It is like marketing itself. If more people know about your assets and your strengths, you are more likely to be successful. If you tend to be the quiet guy that sits in the corner, it is a lot harder when things change and you are no longer required.”

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