It’s Tuesday afternoon. You’ve had another bad day at work. Your head is pounding from the stress and you’re half an hour late for your son’s baseball game. All of a sudden it hits you: you don’t love your job anymore.

Then, like magic, the phone rings. On the other end a professional voice announces, “I’m a headhunter. Want to talk about this executive level job opportunity I have available?”

We’ve all been there. Executive coaching can help you resolve your everyday issues with managing a business, but when it’s time to look for another job, headhunters may be the perfect solution for you.

Before you get started with a recruiter, consider a few guidelines to working with headhunters:


Define what, exactly, you want.

If you’ve been taking part in executive coaching, you might already be aware of your own personal limitations. What qualities do you possess that make you a great leader? What job functions are outside of your comfort zone?

You need to recognize, within your own capabilities, what isn’t working for you. When you get to the heart of your own limitations, you bring to light what you need to change about yourself in order to be happier.


Be firm about your salary requirements.

A colleague who hated her job eventually left her career position to try contracting. She was immediately placed in a business she loved. When they finally offered her a full-time position, however, the salary was far less than she’d been making previously.

You need to decide at this juncture what you need to make, what you want to make, and what the value of your happiness is. Be honest with your headhunter so they don’t waste their time, or yours, recruiting in fields that are beneath your minimums.


Decide on geographic specifications.

At the executive level, a geographic change may be necessary. Tell the headhunter right away if you absolutely can’t move or what areas you’d consider relocating to for the right job.


Understand a headhunter’s limitations.

While headhunters work very hard to find the right fit, they can’t always guarantee the day-to-day functions of a job. Recognize that there will be some gray areas between what you can expect and what you’re told.

Be prepared to ask lots of questions during the interview so you can clarify exactly what your new job entails. If you are on the fence about a few high-level details, then, and only then, should your headhunter intervene in the negotiations?