Reader “P”  asked: “I plan to aggressively apply to new job postings everywhere I can. Should I also use a head hunter, and if so, should I use more than one?”

If you are going to aggressively apply to job postings then you may not need a head hunter agency. But if you do decide to engage a head hunter, be certain to understand the contract your sign with them and that you know if, or when, you can submit documents directly and what the consequences are when you do so. To be more specific, after you sign a contract you may have to pay commissions, or your hiring company may have to pay commissions, even if you did all the work to land the new job.

Head hunters, another name for an employment agency, makes their money by charging a commission to the hiring company when one of their clients is hired.  If thinking of using a head hunter, don’t use multiple firms. Pone you can have confidence in.

If their contract prohibits you from applying directly to jobs yourself, you should abide by that contract. If their contract stipulates that where you do apply for jobs and land a job, the hiring company has to pay a commission, then be sure all parties are aware of this. The hiring company or the hiring team may not have forecast a budget for that extra hiring expense. Avoid your new boss receiving a big surprise expense after you are hired.

If you are capable of applying directly, yourself, then I suggest you get to work. You may be able to do just as well, and in some instances, much better, than an employment agency can for you. But if you are too busy or too incompetent to apply for jobs yourself, then, maybe you are a candidate for using a professional agency to do the legwork for you. Be sure to understand all terms, including their performance and your performance, stated in any contract you sign.

An important question you will need to answer is the degree of bias that may, or may not, be introduced when the hiring company learns that you are working through a head hunter agency. Thousands of qualified people are applying for jobs directly, without using head hunters. So, what happens when two equally qualified candidates are discovered, one using a head hunter to which commissions will have to be paid, and the other not?

Certainly there is a role, a time, and a place, for the use of a head hunter agency. Know when to engage one. If in doubt, speak to a job coach or a professional hiring manager.