Home Articles Four proven ways to annoy headhunters (and never get that job)

Four proven ways to annoy headhunters (and never get that job)


Us headhunters cop a lot of criticism about the quality of service we deliver. Much of it justified.

Recruitment is a service-based industry led by sales people who are sometimes struggling to make commissions. When struggling sales people work with vulnerable jobs seekers, it’s a recipe ripe for unhappiness all round.

But, as with most things, there needs to be balance. Many job seekers behave unprofessionally as well.

Here’s our list of the sure fire ways to get my fellow headhunters offside.

1. Have no idea about your career

Business confidence is fluctuating. Even expert economists can’t say how Australia will be affected by Europe’s economic woes.

Throw into the mix the impact of globalisation and long-term structural changes within the Australian economy and you have a job market that is increasingly dominated by contract, part-time and temporary roles, plus people at all levels who sell their services as sole traders with an ABN number.

Many of our candidates don’t seem to understand this new dynamic. They know that permanent jobs are tricky to find, yet the way they look for work hasn’t evolved. I’m amazed by how little people think about: 1) their skills; 2) their careers; and 3) marketing themselves as capable professionals.

I rarely see a resume that I don’t want to rewrite in some way – even those of senior executives. Many resumes are badly formatted, have three types of font, and are riddled with typos.

In interviews I find very few people can quickly tell me the impact they’ve had in their careers. And when I ask interviewees where they see themselves professionally in a few years time, they rarely give a clear answer.

2. Have no idea who’s actually marketing you

Be selective when you work with a recruitment agency. Target just a few.

Many of our clients use a few agencies to fill jobs. The first agency that presents a candidate receives the fee should they secure the role.

If one agency presents you poorly, and the client rejects your resume, you may be overlooked. In the hands of a better agency you may have secured an interview.

Think of it this way: If you were tasked with finding a marketing agency for your employer, you would do in-depth research to ensure you found the best firm to represent your business. The same goes for your job hunt.

With Linkedin and other professional social networking sites, there’s no excuse not to do your homework on headhunters. In a matter of clicks you can establish who has been in the industry a long time, who’s an agency job hopper and who is not. You should be scrutinising our Linkedin resumes in the same way we scrutinise yours.

Five years ago you wouldn’t have had access to this recruiter information. Now you do, I’d encourage you to use it.

3. Take no responsibility for your professional development

People spend more on a holiday than they do on their professional marketing.

I would recommend investing some of your hard-earned cash into career counselling and professional marketing services.

This can provide clarity regarding where you’re heading and why.

4. You don’t put our skills under the spotlight

My final suggestion is that you put your headhunter’s consulting skills under the spotlight. After all, a decision about a job is a decision about your life.

I’d encourage you to ask us about the firms we represent, the opportunity on offer, the reason it came about, our success so far in filling the role, and why the employer has chosen to work with us in particular.

Do all of the above when you’re next looking for a role and you’re unlikely to get a raw deal from your recruiter.

In 1997, Liza Garrido founded Enigma HR with the philosophy: “Be ethical; be professional; be friendly and serve your clients well.” Her firm specialises in insurance and accounting placements and she has been assisting professionals in this industry for over 20 years. Visit Enigma HR for insurance and accounting jobs today!