Headhunters, what to watch out for...

June 01, 2010

I am asked often: "How did you get your job?" or "How can I get a job in games?" or my favorite: "How can I get a job as a tester?".
SEGA LogoYears ago I proudly wore my SEGA jacket wherever I went. Often someone woudl stop me and asking about being a tester.   I would hand them my card and say: "Go home, play a game you don't like, on a level you don't like  and play that level over and over for 8 hours straight. When you can do that, call me".  In 4 years, I never got a single call.

Sometimes you need a reality check. Sometimes you need an adviser, but never need a used car salesmen.

Headhunters make their money by placing you in a position.  They make no money if they can't place you, and even less if they talk to you on the phone for hours.

I have fired headhunters in the past.  I give them hard deadlines.  They have to call me and let me know what is going on within 72 hours of sending my resume a potential employer.  I won't put up with: "I sent in your resume and I'll call them in a week".  If a company wants you, they answer within 3 days.  They don't take weeks or months to fill a position.

While it's never a good idea to contact companies directly, a headhunter knows the hiring manager and get a feel for them and if they're considering you,  I feel that it's acceptable to send a nice note to a HR email address, saying only that you are very excited about a position that and that you are represented by a specific company or headhunter.

Several times I have been told a resume was sent it, when it was not.  Always good to send a "thanks for considering me" email even when you're rejected for a position.

A good headhunter will tell you why you're a perfect fit for a job, or why they won't send you in for it. A bad headhunter will judge you just by your resume and not contact you again.  A really really bad headhunter will tell you something like: "You're a programmer, just be happy doing that", when you apply for a position as a manager of programmers.

Watch out for those that don't listen when you tell them something that you think is important.  If THEY don't value you, then how can they rperesent you as a quality candidate for the position?

Watch out for those that say they send in a resume, and you never hear from them again.  That means that you were rejected and the headhunter doesn't respect you enough to take the time to call and tell you that. 

A good headhunter will tell you: "Nope, I don't have anything for you right now.  But this is what you need to do...".

Questions?  Bring'm on!


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