trust job headhunters?

Just got an unsolicited call from a job recruiter. I’m curious to know what other jobs are available in my field, but I don’t want to get trapped into some new headache with what seems like a telemarketer.

Have you had good/bad experiences with such headhunters?

Any words of advice?

I’ve had both good and bad experiences, both as a prospective employee and prospective employer. Much depends on the headhunter.

Great source of advice/tips is Ask the Headhunter

I agree with rackensack - it depends on the headhunter. Find out what you can about the firm he/she’s with, and nose around a bit to find out about their reputation. I used to work for a staffing firm, and then worked for an executive search firm. Major difference: the staffing firm was contingency-fee-based (meaning, they get paid only if they fill the position, and may be competing with other firms for that fee); the executve search firm was retainer-based (meaning, they got paid a fee upfront and were paid a completion fee if they filled the position - usually, one firm is chosen to fill a position).

Having supported both groups, I can tell you that contingency-based firms are far more sales-oriented. If you walk in with the right look and roughly the right credentials, they will sell you hard to the client. You are essentially a dollar sign walking in the door, and they will shop you around to the highest bidders. The less scrupulous ones will give you no small amount of pressure to accept an offer because it means money in their pocket. This isn’t to say retainer-based firms are necessarily more concerned about you and your well-being or even more scrupulous; it’s just a different dynamic. There’s less pressure on the individual recruiter in a contingency firm to get a body in a position for the sake of making money.So I guess it also depends on your level within the corporate structure.

My advice: again, find out what you can about the headhunter, and if you decide to work with them, milk them for all they’re worth. Don’t be a jerk or anything (i.e., if you make an appointment or time commitment, keep it for chrissakes; if you aren’t interested, simply say so, rather than have the recruiter or his assistant chase you; return calls, etc.) but do make it clear that the final decisions are yours to make and that you are entitled to as much information about the prospective position and company as they can give you. From the sound of it, it’s likely the cold-caller was from a contingency firm - so tread carefully.