Career Advice for Headhunters (Agency Recruiters)

As a headhunter straight out of college, I knew all the intimate details of my candidates’ careers and trajectories, however I had NO idea what to do about my own career. I founded DG Recruit as a result of the missed opportunities I had as an employee. Thus, DG Recruit now helps headhunters figure out their career trajectory and best path forward.

Here are the most important pieces of advice for headhunters within agency recruitment (not internal recruiting/HR):

#1. You should leave the industry if you don’t care enough about financial gain.

If you’re not someone who likes to push others to do things, be aggressive to get your way, or do whatever it takes to get the job done for the promise of a financial payout, you’ll probably dislike everything about agency recruitment. Our literal purpose is to generate revenue for ourselves, our firm, and grow our practice through results, which is making placements (thereby evidenced by yet again, money). If you don’t really care about financial wealth creation, you’re probably not going to want to stay in this business. You’ll most likely go the internal recruitment route.

#2. You should strive for top performance, at any cost.

As you start out in our industry, you must start your career off with a BANG! You can’t sit on your laurels and give yourself a pass. No, I’ll call that client later. Tomorrow, I’ll do more sourcing, today I must hit the gym. This can wait. These type of mindsets delay success in our business. Your laziness, fear, procrastination, or lack of perseverance until the day’s work is complete, will be your undoing. You MUST push through and put your career first. The #7777rule is no joke.

#3. As you get successful in our business, realize you’re now very valuable, more than you think.

Even though salespeople usually have higher egos than non-sales types, salespeople also tend to feel like they’re oftentimes “not good enough” due to their tough competitive landscape internally and how they’re being taught to feel about themselves. Being self-driven, also makes salespeople highly competitive with themselves, always looking for areas of improvement. Thus, some of the best headhunters, have NO confidence or realization that they’re already incredibly successful. Any other agency would be absolutely over the moon to have you, yet you may not even know your worth or how valuable you’ve become.

#4. As you get more successful as a headhunter, you NEED to start evaluating your firm’s setup.

Because many top headhunters think they’re already one of the lucky ones at their firm, they don’t nor WANT to network. In fact, they are SO loyal to their firm that they often times give everything away to their employers and sacrifice well beyond the reasonable amount you need to as an employee. Headhunters will be so loyal that they will do what’s logically bad for their finances, careers, and future trajectory, to keep their boss and firm profitable. Due to this lack of exposure, you inevitably will not be getting the best deal you could be getting for your labor hours and accomplishments.

#5. At every year of your career, you must stay on top of things and NETWORK.

I know, that had I known myself during my tenure as an employee, I would have benefited immensely from knowing myself or other reliable Rec2Recs or R4Rs, as I found out we’re called! During my tenure as an employee, no one externally ever helped me understand my career path or my options ahead. I had NO idea what other firms are paying, how they’re structured, and the equity packages available. Not only was I completely in the dark, I also was fearful of looking outside my firm and risk being caught. Knowing a top headhunter for YOURSELF is crucial to getting unbiased, market data. Just like how you provide it to your candidates!

In Conclusion

Headhunters are the biggest hypocrites. Everyday, we counsel our candidates to move companies yet we rarely have the guts to do it ourselves! In fact, most of the time, when we DO do it, we do it with the totally wrong mindset and approach. Thus, it’s crucial to have an agency represent you who can make sure they protect your confidentiality and can liaise and negotiate on your behalf.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the #DGRteam to discuss your career options. Our candidates are 80% employed and passive, so we are 100% candidate-focused. We’re excited to work to your timelines and start building our relationship with you sooner rather than later.

Whether you’re an experienced headhunter or aspiring to become one, email: for more information!

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