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CaffeineLover
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Joined: February 28th, 2016, 4:36 pm

How Do Headhunters Work?

May 31st, 2016, 7:13 pm

What is the nature of the relationship between a headhunter and a company to which he can send candidates? Does he have a special relationship with these companies? If so, then I take it that:If a HH has a relationship with companies X, Y, Z, then he cannot get someone an interview with company C.There exists an exhaustive list of which companies a HH can get interviews for.If I want an interview with company D, is there a way of finding the HHs that recruit for D?How does a HH company enter into an agreement with a company it recruits for? Does money exchange hands? I know a HH gets paid when he does a placement, but is money exchanged for the opportunity of recruiting for a particular company?When I write headhunter, I implicitly mean "headhunter company".
 
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bearish
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How Do Headhunters Work?

June 1st, 2016, 2:17 am

It's complicated. Ignoring all other possible arrangements and focusing only on US headhunters for professional jobs, there is still a major dichotomy between contingency recruiters and retained search firms. The former (often compared unfavorably to used car sales men) are in the business of distributing resumes to potential hiring managers and will get paid only if a hire is made. The latter are under contract to the hiring firm and act in more of an advisory role, having essentially a monopoly of filling a given slot, and will probably get paid something even if nobody is hired or if somebody is hired that was not sourced by them. Further complications ensue when certain organizations act, on a search by search basis, in either one of the stereotypical roles described above. Not unlike a fixed income trading desk which may at one moment act as a broker and then turn around to be a principal risk taker on the next trade. And no, you cannot generally figure out which headhunters do business with which company or vice versa. A couple of decades ago I found the original version of this book on the topic somewhat educational and entertaining: Rites of Passage. If nothing else, this may provoke some of the resident headhunters to share their perspective.
 
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CaffeineLover
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How Do Headhunters Work?

June 1st, 2016, 5:04 pm

Utterly fascinating! Thanks for sharing -- you've given me enough to Google on. It should be possible to optimize how I deal with headhunters for finding new opportunities.I'm surprised there's not more interest in headhunters on the boards at Wilmott. They seem to be "gatekeepers" for our careers -- I've interviewed 10, maybe 12 times in my life. All the interviews were set up by a headhunter or corporate recruiter. Not one interview via applying to a company's website. They seem to be crucial elements in this profession.
 
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mtsm
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Joined: July 28th, 2010, 1:40 pm

How Do Headhunters Work?

June 2nd, 2016, 11:29 am

There is no doubt a lot of interest, but it is a very private matter, so why discuss it and what is there to discuss anyway?I have, unfortunately I should say, a lot of experience with recruiters in the US and UK. I'd say that the most frustrating aspect is that as a job seeker you are invariably a highly disposable commodity for any recruiter. Simple, because you are not the client. That makes any relationship completely impossible. If you can, networking is always a better approach than dealing with a broker.
 
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mit
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Joined: February 5th, 2005, 4:52 pm

How Do Headhunters Work?

June 10th, 2016, 12:58 am

true, i found it frustrating dealing with headhunters as well.I see my colleagues going from more or less the same jobs to hedge fund jobs in London or NY, while I am not able to get out. Talking to a headhunter like MichaelPage/Hays/RobertWalters have been just a waste of time
 
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liam
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Joined: November 16th, 2004, 11:51 am

How Do Headhunters Work?

June 16th, 2016, 6:34 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: CaffeineLoverWhat is the nature of the relationship between a headhunter and a company to which he can send candidates? Does he have a special relationship with these companies? If so, then I take it that:If a HH has a relationship with companies X, Y, Z, then he cannot get someone an interview with company C.There exists an exhaustive list of which companies a HH can get interviews for.If I want an interview with company D, is there a way of finding the HHs that recruit for D?How does a HH company enter into an agreement with a company it recruits for? Does money exchange hands? I know a HH gets paid when he does a placement, but is money exchanged for the opportunity of recruiting for a particular company?When I write headhunter, I implicitly mean "headhunter company".First off, for the 'get me a role in company D' thing get in touch with someone in the target team and keep in touch until a role that suits you is available. HHs can be good but they are not that good.In my experience there are 2 types of HHs. There are those like DCFC and similar ones I have known over the years. And then there are the tossers/wankers/c**ts, whatever name calling you want to give.The first type tend to have a lot of relationships with HR as line managers like dealing with them, where when they ask for people with a particular skill they will get that. A couple spring to mind where 30 mins with them and you would realise they know the market inside out and from top to bottom e.g. one firm I was at I can remember 2 hires being done through networking recommendations while the rest were done through 2 agents that knew the market like the back of their hand. Yes you are a still commodity to them but especially early on in your career when you haven't got many good connections they can be very useful. As you progress in your career you will probably find networking more effective, especially as your LinkedIn and filofax grows, but these types of HHs are still useful.Then there are the other type. Ask for someone with quant skills and they will get someone that has a job titled "quant" but where they don't do anything quantitative or that is of any use to you. I'm told back office get a lot of these tosser types and therefore will only use them grudgingly if they are asked to. I see some of this creeping into front office since the financial crisis, where many decent recruiters have been squeezed out, but wouldn't be surprised if in a few years time it gets back to what it was.In my experience many companies will go will nilly at it, especially if they are newly set up, using any HHs they can find until they either find a decent one or get someone through network recommendations. And then there are many companies where HR and people like the MD will have relationships with specialists that know what they are doing.I think the most important thing is to understand who HHs put forward for roles. I would describe the people they put forward as those that have CVs that are "walking on water" in relation to the role. i.e. either you are a strong graduate with all the skills needed (got the right MSc/MFE/Phd + read up on Hull etc) or your last 2-3 years are in the specific sector the role covers. This is important to understand as when you try to shift sector or industry (something I was forced into a while back) HHs cannot help. You will get some types like DCFC that can give advice on how to network into a new role, but they are useless at placing you in order to get out of your corner of the industry. Many people don't understand this e.g. in the past I have had people that don't understand maths or finance forcefeed me with recruiters cards where they don't cover my sector but I am reassured "they deal with brainboxes like you". Unfortunately life has moved on from that and no matter how good a recruiter is alleged to be if they don't cover your sector, forget using them.What I often find is that many people wail about HHs out of denial of the fact that their CV is not good enough, especially people that did some random degree and expect to magic up a job just for 'having a degree'. And many people think "I once computed 3+2=5 so can be a quant" so I have a bit of sympathy with HHs on that front as I have in the past ended networking meetings with PhDs that talk like that and express it with arrogance.But I also have sympathy for people wailing about HHs being useless at career shifting - it's ridiculous HHs cannot help people do some very subtle shifts within finance. For instance I once tried to move from a credit analysis role to an excel modelling role where I would build models I had sensitised for 6 years, no chance through a HH but nearly did it through a client who had links with constructions companies looking for excel modellers. But I am not bothered by the fact that HHs cannot help a 45 year old that's been an accountant for 20 years become a programmer - the reality is that even if they are a maths or physics graduate that is just a tough move. It's just not good business for them and going to waste their time as even some optimistic careers advisors would ask them to reassess their goals.
Last edited by liam on June 15th, 2016, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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