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While some firms -like Lehman Brothers, for example-were in the news for the wrong reasons last week, an industry which perked up was the business of headhunting. I am sure many headhunters see huge opportunities rather unexpectedly. As uncertainty prevails in several industries, many employees are very suddenly faced with the prospect of looking for another job- when that was the last thing on their minds, even as less as a month ago.

Just as you would take pains to research the organization you wish to join, you would do well to research the headhunter as well. As you look around, you do realize that there are hundreds of candidates like you- some better, most just like you and many perhaps less accomplished than you. Likewise, there are headhunters, and headhunters and…still more headhunters. In this context read Tara Weiss in Forbes on ” How to Headhunt The Headhunter“.

Like organisations, headhunters too come in all sizes- they range from the independent One Man Army to very large firms which have offices in different parts of the world. Some cater to specific segments of industry while others specialize in certain levels of management. Yet others, perhaps the ones you should stay away from, are those which claim to cater to for every segment of every industry.

The worst thing you can do as a candidate is to send out your resume to everyone in sight. Don’t ever mass mail your resume to many headhunters. This is definitely a case where quality counts for far more than quantity. Choose the one who will best serve your interests. Look for demonstrated track record of success in the industry and segment which you see yourself playing in.

Ask friends and business acquaintances – those whom you trust, of course, about their experiences. What are the strengths of the different headhunters in your town/city. What can they get you that most others cannot? Are they clued in to your market- your field of expertise? Do they come across as being professional in their approach.

It’s worth making efforts to find out the best headhunter. Don’t go to the guy down the street or the one whose website is most prominently visible and accessible.

After all -this is about your career.

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This is Post No: 291 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.