Headhunter, Talent-Broker, or Career Agent

Headhunter, Talent-Sourcer, Career Agent. You see these roles scattered across LinkedIn and may have been contacted by someone identifying themselves as such. While all three titles can help you find your next job, each role has a unique approach, goal and responsibility. As a job seeker, it’s helpful to be aware of the differences among these roles and how you can work with them effectively. Let’s take a look at the difference between these titles, how they work together, and what to expect from each one in your interactions.

A Headhunter is a person who identifies and approaches suitable candidates, usually employed elsewhere, to fill business positions. They are typically independent contractors or work for a recruiting firm and are hired by companies – their clients – to fill open or new positions. If you’re seeking a job, the best way to get noticed by a headhunter is to be excellent at what you do and to network. If you encounter a headhunter, who recruits in your industry or is looking to fill a position you’re interested in, you can reach out to them directly. Most are always looking for qualified candidates to add to their talent pool for current or future positions. It’s important to note: headhunters work for companies, not job seekers. They are paid by companies to find the best candidates for needed positions. Therefore, finding you a job is not their priority, filling positions for their clients (companies) with the best talent available is.

A Talent-Sourcer  is responsible for the candidate experience through expectation management. Sourcers are not recruiters, but they do work with recruiters and headhunters. They are experts in market knowledge, skills needed, and being able to attract the right people for recruiters. They know the Employee Value Proposition of the brands they represent and have all the data they need to make sure they find and engage quality candidates for their recruiting team. Think of them as the gatekeepers to the recruiter or headhunter you are trying to reach. Impress them with your skills and excitement in order to succeed.

A Career Agent or a “Career Coach” specializes in guiding seasoned professionals through career transitions. This means their priority is YOU. Below are some of the ways career agents can help job seekers:

    • Deliver effective job-seeking strategies and help with individualized career coaching.
    • Ensure their clients are assigned to a career transition manager.
    • Provide training and access to resources that allow clients to successfully reach their goals
    • Help with the decision-making process – Ensure that offers line up with their clients’ goals and passions, and they’re making the best possible decision regarding their careers.

Job seekers hire and pay career agents for their services and expertise. While they do not have a list of open positions they are looking to fill, the good ones have an extensive network of decision makers in the hiring process and can provide you with the knowledge and the direction you need to get in front of the right people to get hired.
All three of these roles may work together and interact but they serve different purposes. Understanding the difference between these roles what you can expect from each will help you navigate your way through the job search process and hopefully enable you land the job you want.

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