Book Review: How to Work with Headhunters by Nick Corcodilos

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"Recruiters are often mistaken for headhunters. Like fisherman, recruiters bait a hook and wait for a bite to come along. Headhunters today are like the headhunters of legend. They go into the jungle in pursuit of a rare prize and they don't come back until they have it...

This is a guide to help people change jobs when headhunters are involved. It's not intended to help a job hunter find a baited hook or recruiter. I want to help you profit from working with good headhunters. That means learning how headhunters operate and how to work with them."

--- Nick Corcodilos, Ask The Headhunter©, author of "How to Work with Headhunters: 62 Myth-busting Answers for Fearless Job Hunters", page 8, published by North Bridge Press in 2009 with a list price of US $39.95.


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Crafted with Reader Usability in Mind

My first impression of this e-book was the dedication by its author to keep the reader's needs in mind. He used a generous-sized type face, crisp green sub-headings (green drop caps are also used for "Q and A" sections), along with ample use of white space. These factors are often overlooked with e-books, and I am certain that you will benefit from this reader-centric perspective. 

There are 130 pages in this publication; however, it is not cluttered which makes this an enjoyable reading experience. A shorter page style also makes printing out helpful passages easier. Navigation within the e-book is easy with the intuitive left-hand side bar. A quick click will take you to your desired destination via neatly organized bookmark links.

Concise Organized Format

There is a detailed table of contents, five sections organized into 29 concise chapters, and a "Back of the Napkin" bonus entry that acts as a synopsis of advice. Mr. Corcodilos' writing style is direct, engaging, informative, conversational, and occasionally, blunt. He uses no-nonsense language to make his points crystal clear. 

The author features a question and answer format to introduce new topics which will reinforce your grasp of the subject matter. This style also makes the book more personal. The author talks to you as if there were an in-person consultation. His advice is contrarian and refreshingly realistic. He will challenge your miconceptions of headhunting, and make you focus on how the relationship works from both sides of the table. 

One innovative touch that I liked was the use of "!" and "Ie" icons for tips, suggestions and "Insider's Edge" advice. The author also used "How to say it" boxes. All of these learning tools help you to target and digest areas of special interest. 

A How-To Guide

Mr. Corcodilos teaches you how to avoid bad headhunters and how to cultivate the true professionals. This advice alone is worth the price of the publication. He also provides a copious amount of common-sense advice. The chapter to explain the differences between headhunters, recruiters, career coaches/counselors, job placement agencies, and job shops was especially enlightening. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet; however, as you will see, "headhunter" is a special flower in the bouquet.

An example from one of the author's "How to say it" learning tools:

"You can take control of a call from a headhunter with these words: 'I'd be glad to discuss this job opportunity with you, if you would be kind enough to answer some questions first. Want to hear what they are?' " (Page 24)

Common-Sense Advice

Mr. Corcodilos has been in the headhunting and recruitment industry for over 30 years. The most salient feature of this book was the author's unselfish decision to share what many would consider insider information. "If you want headhunters to call you, be worth calling! Be a source of good referrals, industry knowledge and useful insights. Even better than knowing how to find a good headhunter is knowing how to hold on to the good one's you've met." (Page 55) 

Notable Quotes

"Headhunters don't find jobs for people. They are paid to go find who their clients need. Those people are not looking for jobs. Getting their attention requires a lot of effort." (Page 10)

"In 2000, Forrester Research issued an important report that showed people find jobs through 'headhunters' only about 3 percent of the time." (Page 17)

"The best way to qualify a headhunter is to ask good questions and expect good answers. Listen carefully, remain composed and don't be afraid to draw conclusions about whether  a headhunter is legitimate." (Page 29)

"The worst job shops are a far bigger racket than unsavory headhunters or lousy employment agencies simply because they actually employ you. Be very careful." (Page 41)

"Treat every recruiting call like a job interview, but the headhunter is the candidate. You are interviewing him. To do this, you must manage the discussion as you delve into the opportunity. Be respectful, but expect respect." (Page 66)

"So, what's the compensation like? Asking the question up front forces the headhunter (or any employer) to divulge his intentions. If he's serious about you as a candidate, he'll give you a useful answer." (Pages 77-78)

"The more you can focus the meeting on the work you can do (versus reciting your work history), the greater the edge you'll gain over your competition... If you can show the headhunter that you can win over her client with a solid, compelling presentation about how you contribute profit to the bottom line, you will instantly become her #1 candidate." (Pages 82-83)

"Ask the headhunter, point blank, whether he would divulge your salary to the client. Though some headhunters may disagree, I believe the correct answer is no. All the client needs to know from the headhunter is whether you are a viable candidate." (Page 89)

"Reneging on a settled offer reveals childish business ethics... When a candidate cannot separate the job from the terms and cannot make a commitment on each separately, I take her out of the running." (Page 97)

"The nicest thing you can do for a headhunter is to introduce him to another great source of candidates... Learn to be your own headhunter and do what headhunters do: Foster healthy relationships with the best people in your industry." (Pages 122-123)

Creating More Value and Learning How to Qualify

Mr. Corcodilos provides advice that will save you time, money and perhaps the damage from making the wrong career decision at a critical juncture. The author teaches you how to create and add value not only during a headhunting relationship, but within the dynamics of your own career. 

Another benefit of this book is learning the art and skill of qualifying others. Especially in an Internet age where we are inundated with information and proposals, knowing how to verify a company, individual, or opportunity is an integral skill. Such a capability benefits freelance writers, MBA students, and C-suite executives alike.

This book will teach you how to become your own headhunter for those of us who many not be prime candidates for the three percent club. That may be the most compelling feature of this intriguing, informative and useful career book.

My Rating

Five Stars.

Please Note

I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher, North Bridge Press. I was not financially compensated for this article by the publisher, author or any party who would benefit from a positive review.

About the Author

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in California's ultra-competitive Silicon Valley in 1979 and is host of the acclaimed Ask The Headhunter website. With this provocative new Answer Kit, Nick continues the contrarian, candid Q&A he started online in 1995. Nick invites "fearless job hunters" to listen in as he teaches how to earn respect for what you know, and how to learn what makes employers tick—and reveals how to demonstrate that you'll bring profit to a company's bottom line if they hire you.

Website: Ask The Headhunter©   



About the Reviewer

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator from Washington, D.C. Steve focuses on career-related themes, Chinese healing/martial arts and international soccer journalism. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries and The Soccer Translator.

Please Note
This review was originally published at the American Chronicle in June 2012 and is republished here on 18 June 2012 with the kind consent of Mr. Corcodilos.