Underutilized career hack

Ask your headhunter for career advice.

Last week I had a long conversation with a McKinsey consultant. He is not ready to move yet. I agree he shouldn’t move at this time based on his tenure and career goals.

But he reached out to me to get advice how to think about the following:
– My general view on how to think of exits
– What potential employers look for, and what they would offer
– Timing of exit
– Any other blind spots/ “unknown unknowns”
– CV/ Resume advice

In my coaching practice, I charge people USD 200 per hour. As he is an ideal target candidate for us and he was very respectful and polite, I didn’t charge him at all. It was an investment in the future.

What to ask?

‘How is the market’ is a bit boring but acceptable. But you should go beyond that. Use this unique chance to speak to a market expert. Use this opportunity to get some information that you can’t easily find on Google.

What are common mistakes that candidates make in your field?

How can you make yourself more competitive?

How should you think about your current work while job searching (e.g., staffing for management consultants)?

Please give me resume feedback.

Should you take advice from all headhunters?

NO, definitely NOT!

Qualify them. How?

Probe the recruiter about her specialization. Ask her how long she has been recruiting in this space, how long she’s been with her current employer.
Ask her what roles she usually works on.

Evaluate the headhunter: based on the specialization, the professionalism and the quality of the advice you should either assess the headhunter as category A (strategic, build relationship and trust their career advice) or category B (treat more transactional). If the headhunter is category A, invest in the relationship and try to be useful to the headhunter. E.g. refer other candidates to him or give him market information. But even for category B headhunters, always respond quickly and always be open and honest. Do not hide things. Communicate clearly and honestly.

Has a headhunter given you great career advice before?

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