Callin’ Me a Headhunter? We’re Cool with It

Do we say, “janitor” or “sanitation engineer?”  Do we say, “cab driver” or “chauffeur?”  Do we say, “headhunter” or “legal recruiter?”  As Shakespeare once penned, “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Very well put, Mr. Shakespeare.  You see, what The Bard was getting at in his classic play Romeo and Juliet is the fundamental principle that the name of something is not quite as important as its substance.

The real key to success is not your title but how well you do your job.  And that is why, legal recruiters worth their salt have no problem being called “headhunters.”  Sure, some may use it as a pejorative, but that is because they do not understand the immense value a legal recruiter . . . we mean headhunter . . . can bring to your legal career.  Do we technically hunt heads?  Maybe.  But what we really do is find you an opportunity that moves your career forward, which is a pretty amazing thing.

So, if you must, call us headhunters, although we would personally prefer Legal Recruiter.

The important thing is that when you work with a headhunter, you need to make sure that you are getting a person who engages in best practices when it comes to legal recruiting.  Accordingly, in this article, we will talk about some of the qualities that you should look for when talking to headhunters in general and legal recruiters in particular.

As you will see as you go through this article, we care deeply about placing candidates in the right job opportunities, so their careers will thrive.  If that means that we are “headhunters,” then we have no problem with that.


Headhunter/Recruiter Best Practices

If you are a practicing attorney, then you have most likely received a call or two (or ten) from headhunters.  Right away, you were probably able to form an impression of each person upon speaking with them.  Some may have a more salesperson-type approach that may or may not appeal to you, while some may take a more subtle tack.

The first step in working with a headhunter is to make sure that you select a person with whom you have a rapport.  There are those of you who love a legal recruiter who cuts to the chase, doesn’t waste time, and gets you the help you need.  Others may feel more comfortable with a recruiter who is more of a confidant, and who can counsel you on your career options.  So, before pinning down whether a headhunter takes best practices seriously, make sure that you know that a constructive recruiter-candidate relationship is even possible.

Now, with regard to best practices, there are a few things that you want to look for in a legal recruiter who is a professional in the field.


  1. Getting Your Consent Before Engaging with an Employer

The cardinal sin in the recruiting world is sending a candidate’s resume to a firm or company without the candidate’s knowledge or consent.  Why do you, as a candidate, want to make sure you know where your resume is going?  Because a number of consequences flow the moment that your resume is sent to a legal employer, and you want to make sure that you are aware of what a potential employer is receiving.

For example, if you send your resume to an employer not knowing that a headhunter also sent your resume to that same employer two days prior, then your reputation takes a hit.  That kind of snafu will likely indicate to the employer that you are disorganized and that you do not have control over your own resume or job search.  Employers tend to look unfavorably at duplicate submissions as a rule. Duplicate submissions suggest desperation.  In short, your chances of getting hired at that company or firm diminish considerably.

To avoid any kind of stain on your reputation during your job search, be sure that your recruiter gives you assurances that he or she will never share your resume with an employer without your express prior authorization.


  1. Responsive and Available

Headhunters in the legal industry understand that  the life of a lawyer can be a grind, and that lawyers’ time is valuable.  Accordingly, you want to make sure that you are working with a headhunter who is responsive to your requests and will be available to you after hours or on weekends, when necessary.  If you come across a headhunter who overwhelms you with emails or phone calls, then that person might not be the headhunter for you.


  1. Trustworthy

Your career is of paramount importance.  A quality headhunter/recruiter will understand that, and he or she will treat your job search and overall career with care.  In short, you should only work with a recruiter who you trust.

To find the right opportunities for you, a recruiter needs to understand what makes you tick, what you are truly looking for in life, and what you seek to accomplish in your legal career.  A lot of that information is confidential.  Thus, you want to have a conversation with your recruiter early on that allows you to gain a level of trust.  That is so you know that your confidential information will be used only to find the right career options but will never be shared with a potential employer.


  1. Deals with Your Salary Appropriately

A headhunter does not need to know your past or current salary.  Rather, the headhunter should get an idea of the salary range you are looking for and present you with opportunities that might be a good fit.  Take note if a headhunter asks about your current salary right away, that is usually a red flag.


The Wrap Up – “You Say Potato, and I Say Pot-ahto”

As you can see, good legal recruiters do not get wrapped up in the nomenclature.  If we have done our job right and moved your career in the direction that you want it to go, then call us “headhunters,” call us “recruiters,” or simply call us “that friend of mine who got me that awesome carerr opportunity.”  We don’t mind the labels you choose as long as we have been a positive, helpful part in getting you to the job of your dreams.