When you have realized the difficulty of finding your next position without professional assistance, coupled with the grim statistics of job seekers that try it on their own, you have taken the right step in exploring the option of hiring a career professional. When choosing an executive level resume service, headhunter or executive search firm, you need to be sure the person or team you trust with your career has the experience and the real track record to get you to your ultimate result quickly -landing a six-figure job that will position you as the Rock Star you are, in order to be compensated commensurate with your achievements and potential – in other words, to be paid what you’re worth!
Executive search firms, also known as fee-based or client-retained search firms, vary greatly in their approaches to assisting their clients find new positions. Some companies use “executive agents” to make inroads to contacting a select few target companies; these services can be costly, charging $10,000 up front plus a hefty percentage of your first year’s salary.
Other firms produce written materials, such as resumes and cover letters, and some provide access to large job board databases, but provide little to no coaching on how to approach searching situations, such as interviewing, networking, and negotiating compensation. These companies generally charge from $6,000 to $17,000.
And then finally, others take a project management or program management approach, with different pricing levels dependent upon how much access and time a client is allowed with their assigned project team. Depending on the level of service and search customization, these companies charge $7,000 to $22,000.
As you can see, there can be a substantial investment involved in professional career assistance. If the assistance results in you landing a six-figure position quickly, then it can save you tens of thousands of dollars of unemployment or underemployment. However, when you are investing this amount of money from your savings, you need to be diligent in determining which company to use.
So, in your decision to hire a firm to assist in finding your next career position quickly, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Find out the average tenure of their resume writers and search coaches; most of the search firms in the industry have a turnover rate of 50% or more. Ask for the bio of the person or team you would be working with. Even with training, a novice in the career industry can’t provide you with the guidance and expertise of someone with experience in a highly competitive job market.
- Do they thoroughly train you in every aspect of finding an executive position? This would include how to directly contact the decision makers in your target companies, plus skill development for effective networking, coaching references, interviewing and negotiating a higher compensation. Do they personalize their advice to your person career situation? How much time do they spend with you during your search, and what is their availability through email or quick phone calls between scheduled strategy sessions?
- What is their reputation in the marketplace?
Do they have any complaints about them? An easy way to determine this is to Google their company name, followed by the words “complaints” or “scam.” Read what is written about them online from people who have paid for their service. Oftentimes you can determine what you really get for your money vs. what the sales person is describing to you. Keep in mind, when a career firm has a large number of clients, not everyone will be completely satisfied, however if several people are reporting the same problems, you can identify a trend in any lack of service they provide. (We are proud to say that CRC’s reputation is spotless and we have not had one client that has not raved about our program.)
- Do they incorporate the latest trends in personal career marketing, such as robust online profiles, including Linkedln, that are professionally optimized for your target position?
- Most importantly, what are their results? What is their success rate and how do they measure success? If you are underemployed, each month is costing you thousands compared with the compensation you are actually worth, and if you are unemployed, you are literally losing over $8,000-$35,000 per month that you are not employed at the level you should be. So it is essential for the success of an executive career firm to be measured in the amount of time it takes to find your next position. Many firms report a high success rate, but their success measures are: finding a position in your target industry, for your target job, with an acceptable compensation package. The time it takes to find a new position is not included in their success metrics. For Career Resume Consulting, achieving those three goals are a given. No major career firm, locally or nationally, can touch our success rate – this year, a majority of our clients land their new positions in 10-16 weeks or less.