What a Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You

I first presented “7 steps to landing a job” to the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in 2009. Not much has changed since then except a retitle of “What a Staffing agency or Headhunter will never tell you”. The reason I changed the title is that a lot of job searchers contact me thinking I can help them as a Staffing agency or Headhunter. The fact is, Staffing agencies and Headhunters work for companies who are hiring certain positions.

Now, on the other hand, if you are a company looking for a recruiter, staffing agency, or headhunter, you will be interested in my earlier post – The High Cost of Not Using a Recruiter

You are so much better off learning how to land a job on your own than contacting a Staffing agency or Headhunter.


So many people who contact me and other staffing agencies or headhunters are frustrated with their job search. They have spent countless days writing/re-writing their resume, searching for jobs across all the job boards, and filling out online applications, only to be stuck in a never-ending cycle. Unfortunately, they have wasted a tremendous amount of time.

What a Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You

Over 80% of all new jobs are landed as a result of Networking, not filling out online applications and not by staffing agencies or headhunters – so budget your time accordingly. You can’t call your contacts at 2 AM, but you can access an internet job board at that time.

Looking for a job without a proven process is like attempting to drive from Tampa, Florida to Little Rock, Arkansas for the first time without GPS or a map.

Your “GPS” follows…

1. Self-assessment
2. Identify Target Opportunities
3. Prepare Your Profiles
4. Announce your Intentions
5. Research Companies and Contacts
6. Connect with decision makers
7. Continuous Improvement

1 – Self-Assessment

Deeply evaluate yourself in these dimensions:  Instincts (natural), Personality, Skills (learned), and Passions.

Begin by asking people close to you to help you with this exercise. A staffing agency or headhunter will not tell you this or help you conduct a self-assessment. Don’t forget to consider what pay and what location(s) you are willing to consider.

Outcome – Identity up to 3 characteristics that set you apart from others.

2 – Identify Target Opportunities

Indeed.com is an excellent resource to help you find companies and job titles that are a fit for you. Start by entering key skills from your self-assessment work above into the “What” field at Indeed.com. You should start by leaving the “Where” field blank. Review and continue to refine your search until jobs show up that are a strong fit for your background and in the location(s) you are interested in. Once you have a solid search that produces jobs you are interested in, Create a Job Alert. Indeed will then send you new jobs for that search every day!

Again, a staffing agency or headhunter will NOT tell you this.

• Identify 2-3 target companies and roles that are a good fit for you
• Spend less time on the internet

3 – Prepare your Profiles

At a minimum this includes your resume and LinkedIn. You want your profiles to have a combination of keywords from your self-assessment work AND the target roles you identified above.

Guess what? A staffing agency or headhunter will NOT tell you this.

Outcome: Online & Offline personal presence

More of what a Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You…

4 – Announce your Intentions

Tell as many people you can what type of role you are looking for. Use your online presence as well. For example, you can update your status in LinkedIn and the fact that you are looking, and what you are looking for will be the first thing people see.

Outcome: You commit yourself and your contacts can help

5 – Research Companies and Contacts

What a Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You

From your work to identify target opportunities, you should have a list of companies and roles that are a good fit for you. Now you need to find specific people at those companies and/or in those roles who can help you find a similar job. LinkedIn is the best suited tool for this.

For quick clarification:

Insiders = people who are in a company or role you have targeted for yourself.
Decision makers = people who have hiring authority for a company or role you have targeted for yourself.

Nope, a staffing agency or headhunter will NOT tell you this. Why would they want you as competition?

Outcome: Identify “insiders” and “decision makers” at your target companies

A Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You…

6 – Connect with Insiders and Decision Makers

Make phone calls, schedule lunch meetings and attend networking events. To keep from pressuring your contacts, tell them you are just looking for advice on your job search and possibly referrals. Your objective isn’t just to send your contacts an email or text but to actually meet face to face with them and grow/build your relationship with them.

Outcome: Identify and build relationships with people who can help you land a job

The Japanese word Kaizen means “improvement” and became well known in business by the practices spearheaded by Toyota but introduced by

7 – Continuous Improvement

American W. Edwards Deming. In Japan, Kaizen is a process to get better every day. The same is true for you and your job search.


Every week review your progress with steps 1-6 and adjust as necessary. Pay attention to what is working and what is not working.

Not only will a staffing agency or headhunter not tell you this, they want you to become dependent on them.

Outcome: Land your ideal Job! 

What a Staffing agency or Headhunter will Never Tell You

I’d love to hear about your job search, what’s working and what isn’t. Also, if you have any stories from your interaction with staffing agencies or headhunters please share. Feel free to email me at info@CEGpartners.com.

The One Thing Every Technical Recruiter Should Know

Being a recruiter, specifically a technical recruiter, your job is to thoroughly screen and dissect the skills of potential candidates. There are typical questions that must be asked in the interview to gain a better understanding of the candidate’s potential as well as their personality.  Here are some examples of questions you can use to steer the interview process:


  • Ask a “Tell me about a time when…” question to look for specifics in the candidate’s answer. If you ask them about a time they had to handle a conflict at work and their response is a specific incident, then they most likely have past experience.
  • “What did you like most about (job from resume) and why? What did you least like?
    ” This question will reveal the candidate’s motivations and personality.
  • “How have you used interpersonal skills to build your network or contacts?” Responses can show creativity of developing new work relationships.
  • “What type of projects do you enjoy working on?” and “What type of work are you not interested in?”
  • “Do you have any questions?” By asking the interviewee if they have questions, it will become aware if they have done research on the company.


These questions are great to develop a basis for potential candidates, but when it comes to hiring there is only one thing you have to know as a technical recruiter. Do they truly have the skills? Candidates can list anything on their resume, but as a recruiter you have to know what level of skills each person has- not just based on their resume. Newsflash: people do lie on their resume. For example, if a person claims to have java programming skills, only an employee with that specific experience would be able to test the candidate. It is too difficult to have another employee test everyone- this is where referrals come in. Checking referrals is a great way to see how the candidate worked at their past jobs and exactly how much programming they have done.

Along with referrals, online testing is a great way for technical recruiters to check a candidate’s skills. These online tests can be administered and taken within minutes. Online tests are easy and efficient for testing skills and knowledge of so many applicants. Testdome, Mocha, and Codility are great examples to check out.





The High Cost of Not Using a Recruiter

If you are getting ready to head into the job market, be prepared to endure a now even longer wait time- Glassdoor Economic Research found that the interview process time has almost doubled within just a few years. The length of the process surprisingly relates to a variety of factors including location and city population. While a company can take multiple steps in hiring employees to ensure a safe and “bulletproof” process, they still end up with a large percentage of bad hires. Companies often tend to get overwhelmed and confused during the process of bringing in new hires; when the company is overwhelmed, the wrong people for the job may end up being hired. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you must sort through 100s of unqualified resumes for a job post. Even though in-efficient hiring practices occur often, the cost of it typically goes un-noticed.

Per the Society for Human Resources Management, the cost of a bad hire can be up to FIVE TIMES the salary they were making. That would mean that an original $40,000 salary just cost you $200,000. Research has claimed that companies usually hire the wrong person due to their job definition and job specification – these two descriptions should be different but companies make the mistake of listing them too similarly. Another reason companies find bad hires is the concept of “cultural misfit.” Cultural misfit is when an employee collides with the cultural values and beliefs of the company which can be avoided.

The complications that come with hiring employees can easily be relieved by hiring the RIGHT PEOPLE! Recruiters who specialize in hiring appropriate and qualified people for a specific job position and can take the stress away from human resources and hiring managers.

At CEG Partners we have perfected a Proprietary hiring process designed by our very own Process Engineer. We pride ourselves at being:

  • EFFICIENT – We send no more than 4 qualified candidates. You will want at least one!
  • SIMPLE – We know recruiting, it’s what WE are hired to do.
  • SAFE – We have a placement guarantee and can even payroll the employee while you decide whether to hire them.
  • FAST – Our target is to send you the first candidate within 72 hours of engagement!

If you don’t hire us, please hire a professional recruiting firm for your most important hires and save yourself some time, frustration, and Money!



Fast Company

Dice Data


Business Referrals – How to Get Them!

Candidate relationships

Everyone needs referrals in business. And no matter what type of business you’re in, they are the best kinds of leads  you can get. The person who was referred to you already has a good opinion of you, simply because their friend or colleague recommended you.

So, in the search for referrals, one of our recruiters posed a few questions, and they’re ones we hear often:

Why wouldn’t someone want to help out their friend who’s looking for a job? Why wouldn’t they take up an offer to cash in on a referral bonus? What’s the fear here? What keeps people from forwarding a job description or passing along a name and number?

#1: Eliminate Competition

Part of it, I suppose, has to do with a perception of competition. If I tell you people I know who fit a role you may want me for, then I’m hurting myself. In this case the referrer has to be convinced in the “pay it forward” philosophy that if you help others it comes around to you one day.

#2: Eliminate Laziness

Also, people are naturally lazy so we have to make it EASY for them to refer others. Giving a name and where they work may be all you need.

#3: Eliminate Suspicion

But probably most importantly, the person giving the referral has to have a strong connection with you and feel you are very worthy of “recommending to others”. This is a very personal decision and by way of recommending, you they are endorsing you at the same time. You may have to wait until you have built a solid reputation with this person. If you have helped someone they know, tell them. That builds trust as well.

#4: Eliminate Responsibility

And on the other end, if a candidate refers another candidate to you they will feel they have some responsibility for that referral. What if this referral is great for a flexible work from home company but not a more rigid 9-5 type company? Their referral may fail to deliver and that would be a direct reflection on them. Let the referrer know that it’s up to you to find the right fit for the candidate – not them.

#5: Go for the Triangle Closure

Lastly, if they were to “introduce” you to a candidate that would be an even stronger endorsement. The scientific name for this social network phenomena is “Triadic closure”. If only two of three individuals know each other, then the person connected to both will want to close the triangle. LinkedIn discovered this with their wildly successful “People You may Know” feature. If this doesn’t work out for you there’s always the “Joe thought I should talk to you about this position” approach.

Now go get those referrals!

Five Ways To Retain Your Employees


If you want to keep the good employees that you have, you need to remember a few things.  It takes a lot of time and money to train a new employee, and you’re never certain that he/she can measure up to the one you lost through your own negligence!


  1. First of all, don’t take them for granted. Let them know they are appreciated.


  1. Secondly, challenge them. Help them grow to be the best they can be.  Sometimes, they don’t even realize their own potential and may need motivation.


  1. Pay them what they’re worth not only with high salaries, if possible, but with benefits, such as flexible work schedules and family time. Show them respect and compliment them on jobs well done.


  1. Think about your environment. Walk into your office or building slowly with new eyes.  Would you like to work there?  How about the environment? Décor? Lighting? What about the office politics?  Tension between workers?


  1. Prepare your employees for better jobs or for starting businesses on their own. This may seem counter-productive, but in this economy, workers know that they could be laid off in the future even though they are doing a good job.  Contribute to their job growth by making sure they work with the most cutting-edge equipment or have been sent to periodic seminars to learn the latest technologies.   Think you can’t afford to train your workers and risk them leaving? Would you rather not train them and have them stay?


Source: The Huffington Post