Third party recruiters (AKA Headhunters) provide a valuable service for both employers and employees. Headhunters sometimes have a bad reputation, but not all of them are unethical. Many recruiters have been in business for years and have long standing, positive relationships with companies.

If you’re contacted by a recruiter, what do you do? I’d suggest the following.

employers and employees

Find out as much as you can about the position. Since most Headhunters work on a confidential basis (at least in the beginning) you’re not going to find out the name of the company. You can find out about the size of the company – revenue, number of employees, number of offices, etc. Also ask where the position is located. While this might sound like a great opportunity it might be located in Iowa when you live in New Jersey. Ask about the title, duties and responsibilities of the position as well.

Ask about the process. If you decide you are interested in moving forward, find out about the process. What is the recruiter’s role? What is expected of you?

Are you responsible for any fees? If the answer is yes hang up the phone. Reputable third party recruiters do not charge the candidate for anything. The company with the open position pays all the fees.

Control your resume. Make sure you know where your resume has been sent. Let the Headhunter know you want the option to say yes or no before your resume is sent to any company.

If you’re looking for a Headhunter to help in your job search, one great resource is, which is the web site for MRI Network. From this site you can search for a recruiter based on industry and geographic location.

There are many successful and reputable third party recruiters who can provide you with assistance in finding a new position. The key is to be kept informed throughout their process.