In the digital age where most companies post their job ads online on their career page, on LinkedIn or numerous other career sites, why does it still make sense to go through a headhunter? Wouldn’t it be easier to apply directly at a click of a button? Perhaps. But would it increase your chances of acing that dream job? Perhaps not.
Firstly, if you are in a high-level position or in a profession in a niche market space that typically uses search firms to fill vacancies, those jobs may not always be advertised. Even if they were, you probably wouldn’t have time to diligently watch out for them on a daily basis.
Headhunters as middlemen
At Progression Search, focusing on the tech space also means having solid contacts in tech companies. As it is our job to spend our working hours looking for employment opportunities from clients and potential clients, that is really saving you the time to do your own research on potential employers or job openings. There are a good number of employers who also tend to be more impressed by candidates who are represented by headhunters, who in turn are able to put in their reason for recommending you as a candidate to the client. In short, we tell our clients why we are putting your name forward as a potential candidate for them.
Furthermore, having a middleman like us is an additional avenue for acquiring more information about the role, the organization, and the hiring team. How many times have you applied directly to a job and then had so many questions you had no time to ask during an interview? Or maybe you didn't want to ask so many questions for fear of coming across as “too much”.
That’s when our consultants come in handy. You are entitled to ask relevant questions to your recruiter representing you. Even if we don't have an answer, we will try to get one for you even if the possibility is remote. On top of that, if you can trust us, we will also be entirely honest. Diplomatic yes, but still honest. A candidate placement is a long term goal, so sugar coating issues to entice a candidate to join our client is definitely not a win-win for anybody involved. We believe in providing useful and accurate information to help you decide, just as we believe in qualifying the right candidate for the right opportunity.
That said, it is also may have also noticed that it is becoming “trendy" for most tech companies to have their candidates go through five, six or even seven rounds of interviews.
Interviewers themselves have also become more sophisticated; some are even trained internally on how to formulate questions to sieve the good candidates from the average ones. If you aren’t represented, chances are you go in blind, often not knowing who the interviewer is or what to expect. Worse, you have but one chance per interviewer to make an impression, sometimes within 30 minutes.
This is when our value-add is at its peak. Recruiting is not just about placing candidates with clients and hitting quotas. We manage both our clients and candidates, we represent, and we hear both their needs and wants. When we understand these factors, we are in a strong position to help candidates get the job that they have been waiting for. These few aspects to the process is critical as it allows us to also assist candidates on what to emphasise on, rather than waste precious time talking about an experience that is “nice to know” but not critical for the interview. Having a preparation to give candidates tips in advance helps ease the awkwardness of a first meeting and makes it easier to build chemistry and focus on key areas of discussion.
At Progression Search, we not only prepare our candidates, but we also endeavour to provide useful client feedback where there is so that candidates know where they stand. This helps them stay motivated during the interview process. Honestly, candidates being in constant touch with us in between interviews also lessens the “interview fatigue” on their end to a certain degree, especially when it is a seven interview process.
The final stage
Let’s not forget the most important point of being in an interview – to get the job itself and at the compensation you would like. Anyone who has been in the offer negotiation stage would know how awkward it can get if minds (or wallets) don't meet.
Assuming you want more money but don't know if it is wise to ask (and how to ask it nicely!) since you want to have a good offer but don't want to sound like you’re asking for “too much”, you may not know that on the flip side, a client may have a budget but they don't know if what you are expecting is within that budget. They want to make a fair offer but don't want to overspend or lowball the candidate. This is a very delicate negotiation, to be honest. Generally, such guessing games at this stage are not fun. Negotiation for the untrained is even worse. We are after all, not at the “fish market”!
That’s when we come in. At Progression Search, we literally take pains to understand both the client’s budget and the candidate’s expectations – all of it. We leave no stones unturned and make sure we have every last cent or salary information down on paper (or rather in our fabulous CRM).
A thorough understanding of our candidates’ capabilities and motivations helps us in making sure we obtain the best offer we can get without making the client struggle. Achieving such a win-win situation is a delicate process and the deal could easily fall through if one party feels short changed.
Clearly, the benefits of having a headhunter like us to represent you greatly outweighs any “risks”. Plus, this service is all for free, not a single cent from you since the client pays our bill.
In fact, all we ask from you if you are our candidate, is your complete trust, cooperation and integrity, all of which are essential in making the headhunter-candidate relationship work its best.
Written by I-mae Hong