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The recruitment game.

Headhunters are not in the business of finding you a job. They are in the business of being paid. They owe their allegiance to their customers - the companies conducting the employee search - and not the job applicant. But because of their high-powered corporate contacts, they can be invaluable to the person seeking career opportunities outside his or her company.

The trick is to make a headhunter choose to put you on his "most wanted" list. Most executive recruiters agree that the best way to do that is to establish a relationship with them before you need a job. "I have people I mentor around the country," says Howard H. Bond, president of Executech Consultants Inc. in Cincinnati. "When they have a problem, they call me to discuss it and we'll solve it."

The method most favored by recruiters for making that all-important first contact is good, old-fashioned networking. "It's very important to join trade associations affiliated with one's endeavor," notes Bond. "Participate in the National Black MBA Association, for example, and attend conferences." Headhunters, Bond points out, attend conventions not to recruit, "but to meet people. Later on, when we're recruiting, we know who to call."

Equally important is the first impression you make when placing an introductory telephone call to a recruiter. Diction, grammar, self-confidence and having ready answers are critical, says Terri Smith-Croxton, president and CEO of JD & Associates in Arlington, Texas. "You need to practice," she recommends. "Use a tape recorder or have someone video tape you so you can hear yourself as others hear you."

In addition, remember to sell yourself like crazy to the recruiter. "Many applicants think they don't need to give me their best," says Smith-Croxton. "But if they don't impress me, how can I market them to a company.?"

Suggesting the names of qualified applicants for a position you're not interested in also endears you to a headhunter. A major portion of their time is spent ferreting out good candidates. So anything you do to make their lives easier wins points.

Clifford Perry III secured his job as president of Norwest Bank in Omaha, Neb., as a result of a referral. Perry was given Bond's name by a bank executive who though he was the right prospect for a search the headhunter was conducting. Perry called Bond, said and did all the right things and was asked to send a resume. Enticed by what he saw, Bond helped Perry prepare, and then set up the interview.

Of course, headhunters stress that nothing speaks for itself like outstanding performance, a good educational background, community involvement and a solid history of growth. An impressive resume on high quality paper is still considered essential, as is dressing and acting the part. Remember, headhunters are only human. If you impress them, they will fell confident about having you represent them on an interview.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:networking for employment opportunities
Author:Pouliot, Janine S.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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