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Whether to respond to a posting from a Headhunter

I have a similar situation to a previous post in which I accepted back in late July, what was and still could be the perfect position. I interviewed with the CEO / Owner and we hit it off immediately. My predecessor was very laid back and did the job and nothing more. I on the other hand am very out going and hit the ground running and ran a foul of the Director of Operations who has been nothing but a wall of “no “to everything I have wanted to do and is claiming that everything is an operational issue and belongs under her jurisdiction. Unfortunately the CEO / Owner is backing her. So now I do my Finance work in about 1-2 hours and spend the rest of the day sitting around and see what else I could be doing to better the company and be bored in not doing it. So perhaps time to start another search. Now to my real question. Any advice on whether it is worth the time to respond to a headhunter (giving the name of headhunter company only) listing that lists little to none in what the real requirements are when you know in fact that due to the high level of the position they must have very specific things they are looking for. Because of that they will get an even larger amount of submissions and will most likely use some kind of electronic sorting mechanism. I guess they figure with the market the way it is why earn their fee by doing some work and getting the best when you can just do it the lazy way, look for one or two buzz words and get someone that is just okay. Another great example of why recruiters are always getting blasted on this site as well as others. I always want to ask these headhunter and HR people have they ever been looking for work and remember how it feels to be on the other side? I think they just like the feeling of power.


Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Pro Tech International
(Chief Financial Officer, Pro Tech International) |

If the posted position interests you, then I suggest you respond. If you feel you are wasting your time, then don't bother. Keep in mind that head hunters are only going to present you if you meet all of the posted requirements. They do not have a vested interest in doing what is right for you. Their interest is remains in providing their client with what they are asking for.

(N/A) |

I agree with what you say about "Keep in mind that head hunters are only going to present you if you meet all of the posted requirements."
But if you read the original post the issue has to do with "listing that lists little to none in what the real requirements are when you know in fact that due to the high level of the position they must have very specific things they are looking for. "

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Based on your posting there is absolutely no reason not to respond to a headhunter posting unless you know that your search will somehow get back to your current company. The other reason would be that it really isn't a search firm and they try to sell you something.

Lyle Newkirk
Title: CFO
Company: Corrigo Incorporated
(CFO, Corrigo Incorporated) |

Unfortunately, people sometimes accept a position that sounds great only to find that it was a mistake. Headhunters will understand this, assuming you do not have it happen repeatedly. If the position sounds like a good fit - go for it but as the previous poster pointed out, the headhunter should respect your confidentiality but ultimately works for the client and not the candidate.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I would add look for postings with smaller / boutique like recruiting firm (i.e. sole proprietor).

(Finance Director / Controller) |

You mention that your current role "was and still could be the perfect position". I can see from your post that your style is not to lay back and let the ship run itself without you as a key player. I had a conversation with my current CFO who, in a rare moment of candor, mentioned that building the level of influence he currently enjoys in the company took time and resolve (the environment was full of cronyism and backstabbing). I'd keep at it - this Director of Operations can't possibly have the bandwidth to execute on every important initiative herself. If six months down the road you ask your CEO how xyz project is coming along and s/he says "we've done nothing in that area" it would be glaringly obvious that momentum from you vs. no momentum is the preferred course over treating all things operational as the purview of the Director of Operations.

To your real question: the headhunter might be keeping the details of the role hidden because it would clue applicants into who the the hiring company is. Often, job searchers are able cross reference information and find the same role posted on LinkedIn or on company websites. I wouldn't respond to that posting at all since it hasn't got any substance behind it. One or two solid recruiters who have relationships in the industries you want to work in is all that is needed (and this is assuming you have all your networking and personal branding tools brushed up).

John Argo
Title: Consultant
Company: Independent Advisory Services
(Consultant, Independent Advisory Services) |

Also consider that often recruiters do not have exclusives on opportunities. They may obscure some of the requirements to reduce the chances that a candidate will go around a given recruiter, perhaps to another recruiter or directly to a company. I have found several agencies will be posting the same opportunity. For senior level gigs, don't hesitate to ask the recruiter for more specifics, like what's driving the search and do they have an exclusive.

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

First, I agree with the other posters. If it interests you and you aren't happy where you are at, you should inquire. Recruiters responsibility is to the client, not the recruit, as others have stated. However, good recruits are always welcome. Find a recruiter that specializes in senior positions. They operate much differently than those working in the trenches placing entry/mid career level prospects.

As for your current situation. I have experienced a similar work environment, and change is all in the approach. You need to work on changing the culture in general. A project can't be "Operations" or "Finance", or "Marketing" or....etc. Today, you need a full spectrum of personnel from all operations within the company to execute a project. Some projects will be more "Operations" than "Finance" but both areas need to have a vested interest.

At the end of the day, every project is a "Finance" project. We all work for a company, not to [insert what your company does], but to benefit the stakeholders by [insert what your company does]. Make sure that is understood by all, including the stakeholders. They occasionally loose sight of the forest through the trees.

Diane McAllister
Title: Partner
Company: Brown Welch McAllister, LLP
(Partner, Brown Welch McAllister, LLP) |

Another reason Recruiters do not give specifics about a position is to hook you into responding. Even though you may not be qualified for the listed position, they have your resume and contact information for another position they are trying to fill. They may not even have a position as listed.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

John and Diane are spot-on in my experience.

Recruiters, who are anything but top-notch, will troll for resumes in an attempt to shop around a prospective candidate in order to try to get a commission. Those are not recruiters with whom relationships will prove worthwhile. In fact, those recruiters can severely damage your success with opportunities that are a good fit for you.


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