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.

If you aren’t learning, you will become EXTINCT!

Technology Changes Quickly
New Technology

Technology changes rapidly.  Continuous Learning of an individual is just as important as Continuous Improvement at a corporation.  Companies spend a lot of time, effort, and money on improving their processes and systems, but not so much on improving their people.  I’ve talked to plenty of smaller companies who have NO training budget.  Even the larger ones are starting to pull back on formal training.  That’s why I believe it is important for an individual to create his/her own learning program. Read more If you aren’t learning, you will become EXTINCT!

A Career is a Marathon

I just turned 48 years old. That sure seems old to me now as I, like most people, thought I would be 25 forever. However, based on my genetics, some good clean living and God’s blessings – I’m only half way through my career. And I’ve really enjoyed my career so far.

When I’m not working, one of my favorite things to do is workout – more specifically, run. I ran long distance in High School, and I wasn’t too bad (set the record for the mile run in Jr. High). Later in life I ran 5Ks, 10Ks and even competed in a few triathlons. At one time I set out to train and complete a marathon. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of similarities to careers and marathons, looking back.

If you really stop to think about training for any kind of physically taxing event, you have a lot of prep work to do. And you have a lot of rules and tips to remember along the way; things you learned the hard way, or a mentor taught you. Read more A Career is a Marathon

Customers dislike long lines. Lean Six Sigma can help.






By: Mike Stafford, Managing Partner & Senior Consultant

No one likes to stand in long lines. As a customer we stand in lines all the time. Whether it’s in line to purchase a ticket at the movie theater, or “in line” online to purchase a concert ticket. And what’s worse than standing in line? Completing your purchase only to find out something is missing or the product doesn’t work as advertised. When that happens, yep, you get to go stand in line again.

Guess what? You just learned the basic concepts of Lean Six Sigma, a very effective process improvement methodology. When I mention that I’m a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, people’s eyes glaze over immediately afterward. You don’t have to be an expert to understand why this is important.

First, Lean focuses on increasing the speed of delivery of the products or services to your customers. One of the best side effects Read more Customers dislike long lines. Lean Six Sigma can help.

Cautious Optimism Revealed From Business Leaders Confidence Survey

There’s finally light at the end of the tunnel and good news for Arkansas businesses this year, as our survey of more than 100 CEO’s, Presidents and Arkansas leaders reveals*.

Over 64% of Arkansas business leaders said they expect increased sales revenues during the first six months of this year. This number increases to 73% if you eliminate the Health Care sector, which is great news for Arkansans of all professions.

To read more about these great findings in Roby Brock’s article in Talk Business, click here.

To find out how CEG Partners can help your business improve it’s People, Processes and Systems, click here.

* The Business Leaders Confidence Survey was conducted from November 17-26, 2013 in conjunction with Talk Business and the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce. The survey asked questions of CEOs, Presidents, Plant Managers, and other business leaders in Arkansas across all major industries, and more than 100 leaders responded.