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5 steps to become a successful headhunter

5 steps to become a successful headhunter

As someone who has created enough wealth to retire by 28, I would be nowhere close to where I am now without my early success as a headhunter.

Many headhunters (or recruiters as we’re called), reach out to me on a daily basis to find out how to create a similarly successful career in our crazy industry.

There’s no doubt our job is not easy, however it’s also extremely simple what you have to do to succeed as a headhunter.

First, make sure we’re on the same page on what is a headhunter as opposed to HR and internal recruiting. Once you know the difference, here are 5 steps that you can implement to start experiencing success quickly within our industry:

#1. Join the right firm with the RIGHT manager. Time and time again, I see headhunters leave our industry because they didn’t join the right company under the right leadership. They didn’t earn the money that is possible because their company simply wasn’t able to help them perform at that level!

Certain ingredients need to exist for you to start generating 6-figure income. By year 3 of my career, I was earning over $215k as a headhunter as a 25 year old. That’s because I worked at a firm that had top-billing headhunters manage and train us from day 1.

#2. Ensure that commissions are high and easy to achieve. It’s hard to stick at something when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your firm must give you enough incentive for each deal to stick with the program. The minimum I suggest is at least $2k-4k in your pocket per deal, in YEAR ONE of your career. If you’re top on the billing leagues and take home less than $100k, something is wrong.

Some firms are cheap and make their junior recruiters focus only on candidates while doling out peanuts for commission or some sort of cheap quarterly bonus. That is really short-sighted because those firms will lose staff quickly. You should be taking home at a minimum of at least 25% of your total billings in a year. Some firms we work with pay 50% of what you bill (and will let you work remotely).

#3. Prioritize work and work hard. Many people straight from college or transitioning into headhunting tend to be focused on “work-life-balance” on their first day at work. I have managed and worked alongside many people who did not make work a priority. The result is the same: that type of attitude can’t possibly lead to success.

If you want to be successful at anything, you can’t escape the initial effort needed to become a master at your craft. You have to apply yourself, especially in the early days when you should spend extra time to learn. Our business is simple: work hard (and smart) under a great manager and you will see results.

You can’t skip the “work hard” part.

#4. Improve your sales skills. Learn from the top-billers in your office. You should be reading books on sales, positive thinking, personal development, and communication skills in your free time obsessively. You should work overtime if your firm allows it. You need to practice new habits and push yourself to be more confident communicator.

#5. If all else fails, join another agency. While some headhunting companies are struggling to make ends meet, others are expanding at 50%-200% per year. In today’s world of high salaries and candidate-driven technical markets, every headhunting agency should be having great year-on-year growth. Again, if that’s not happening at your firm, you’re missing a key ingredient to succeed as a headhunter.

Sadly, I see too many new headhunters work under managers who have never billed over $500k. How can they show you the way to bill well if they themselves have never done it?

Furthermore, when you do bill, many employers pay too little commission too late. Contrary to how frustrated and powerless you may feel in that situation, know that there is hope. Once you get started in our industry, many other employers will be interested to build upon your existing start in headhunting. Everyday, we are helping headhunters get out of less-than-ideal situations into better agencies with better leadership.

The good news is that there are a LOT of awesome employers and leadership out there! You may not see it at your current firm, but it definitely exists!

In conclusion

Be strategic and selfish in your career. Just like how you coach your candidates to do what’s best for them when taking their career to the next level, you also need to see the writing on the wall and act before you NEED to. I suffered the consequences of complacency as I write about here. Don’t do what I did. Instead, take advantage of resources around you to change your status quo!

If you’re a top-billing headhunter or trying to be, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my partner, Victor Wong, or myself or a 100% confidential discussion. My headhunting for headhunters agency, DG Recruit, works with candidates at all levels in all geographies!

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Life-changing Career Advice for Headhunters

Life-changing Career Advice for Headhunters

As a headhunter, both as a past employee and now founder of my own search firm, I have seen now more than ever the struggles, triumphs, and challenges of being a headhunter today.

Thus, here are the top pieces of career advice for headhunters, new, experienced, and top-billers alike:

#1. Billing numbers are everything in our business. Headhunting agencies are for-profitbusinesses. In the world of sales, headhunting ranks among the most lucrative due to the unique dynamics of our job as I explain here. If you’re not making at least $100-150k by year three of your career in this business, you’re probably not at the right company.

If you work hard and apply yourself, your leadership team, your firm’s business strategy, and training should enable you to be billing enough to be taking home 6-figures by year two. As an employee, my employer taught me (and many others) how to become top billing headhunters. Like many of colleagues, by age 25, I was taking home over $215k.

If you can’t see 6-figures early in your career, you’re no doubt working at the WRONG firm.

#2. Be extremely diligent with your income. Many of my colleagues who earned 6-figures, while successful, were not personally financially successful. Although they earned within the top 1% of their age group, many were enslaved by debt. Most headhunters, like the general public, have no financial life plan or continued financial education. While being great at sales, earning and running profitable businesses, many headhunters can’t manage their own finances well.

The drinking, lavish vacations, fancy material goods, bravado and peer pressure combine to endanger wealth creation.

However, many headhunters who were really clever about money were able to retire young! This business allows you to earn high income at an abnormally young age with little schooling. What you can do today is to start investing your income into vehicles that you do careful research and study on. I started buying properties when I was 25 and by 28, I could quit from needing a job ever again.

3. Don’t socialize more than you need to. Most headhunters are extremely sociable, thus we’re prone to overshare and feel overly comfortable with our colleagues and bosses. Furthermore, many relocate to a foreign city to pursue their career, thus the easiest way to socialize is to rely on your colleagues within the office.

While it’s nice to also be friends with your colleagues, that can create a dangerous predicament moving forward. Eventually, you will need to compete with your friends and smartly plan your career as well. To complicate matters more, headhunters often mix business and personal lives, which may inevitably spill over and influence drama at work too.

The solution is to maintain a safe distance from your colleagues.

No matter how comfortable you feel at work, especially in light of today’s workplace controversies and lawsuits, please don’t forget that you’re in a place of business. Don’t confuse the boardroom with your dorm room.

My advice for headhunters is based on my own experience having grown into an adult while creating my career within a recruitment agency. I’ve done things, seen things, and now am able to help others examine things in ways that every headhunter can relate to.

Thus, I encourage any and every headhunter and agency recruiter to get in touch with me. My business partner, Victor Wong, and I are here to support your growth and success in our crazy world of recruitment. Heavens knows we need to attract, develop, and retain high performers in our industry!

Get in touch for a 100% confidential discussion by emailing us here.

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Pre-requisites and Requirements for a Career in Headhunting

Pre-requisites and Requirements for a Career in Headhunting

As a headhunter, there are a few key attributes that predict a successful career in this unique sales job of selling candidates to companies and jobs to candidates.

Here are the 8 major pre-requisites and requirements you should consider before taking a job within agency recruitment (hear expanded audio version here):

  1. A strong financial WHY. Sales is a career only suitable for those who want to make money as a primary career driver, especially early in one’s career. Long-term goals change, but to start, salespeople are primarily driven by an aggressive appetite to increase income potential. Since sales jobs require such a significant amount of sacrifice in order to generate income, people need a serious interest and ambition from a financial perspective to sustain a career within this type of job.
  2. People skills. Contrary to popular belief, both introverts and extroverts are equally likely to do well in sales. According to To Sell is Human, ambiverts actually fare the best within a sales-oriented role. No matter where your personality lies within the spectrum, all successful salespeople are able to communicate clearly, logically, and fluidly with people of all backgrounds both orally and in written-format. Strong writing skills are a MUST.

That’s why English is not a terrible major after all! Many of the most successful headhunters come from liberal arts backgrounds.

3. Organizational and multi-tasking skills. Headhunters have to juggle clients’ and candidates’ rapidly changing demands and schedules hourly! Interviews get changed at the drop of a hat, candidates back out of process, employers change their minds all throughout your day, so you need a system and the mental capacity to handle concurrent events at various stages in a way where you don’t lose your marbles.

4. Stress tolerance and ability to work hard. If you don’t prioritize money or your career, don’t go into headhunting! Ultimately, you’ll waste your own time. The reason why headhunters make so much money is because this job is very tough to persevere at sustainably. Work ethic can take you to unbelievable salary heights young in your career, but that’s only if you put in the work!

5. Ability and desire to learn. If you like comfortable payouts for making incremental self-development efforts, then sales is NOT going to work for you as a career. Sales is a career that you’re constantly pushed to do better every year. If you want to do better, you must invest in yourself constantly to CHANGE.

Salespeople are the biggest consumers of self-help. They need it like therapy to keep going!

Certainly, that’s how I even decided to pursue sales. Most motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders succeed from understanding sales, otherwise, it’s hard to turn a profit, get famous, and survive in today’s tough economic and competitive environment.

6. Ability to work in major metropolitan cities. Most headhunting clients must base their offices in major cities because they need to be close to hiring entities for meetings and growing client relationships. If you are confined to a smaller city, great headhunting agencies, managers, and trainers may not exist there to show you how to do this job right!

Furthermore, in many less competitive cities, careers rank less important than leisure, therefore, culturally, you may not be pushed to your maximum potential or learn from those who are more aggressive in their careers.

Thus, especially as you start out your career, you have better odds of meeting the employer and manager of your dreams in a major city than starting your career off in a smaller city.

7. Ability to live off of a lower base to start your career. The reason why so many people in headhunting happen to be younger from an age perspective is that this industry pays a lower base compared to most technical roles. However, within the spectrum of sales jobs, headhunters’ base salaries are actually quite good. Junior headhunters get anywhere from $30k-50k. Senior leaders can start to inch closer or beat 6-figures on base alone.

If you’re someone looking to transition into headhunting, be aware that your skills will not be reflected into the base salary. Reason being that you will need to re-learn everything to do your job right as a headhunter. If you haven’t headhunted before, you’ll need significant investment and training to get up to speed, thus employers need you to meet them halfway.

8. Unwavering self belief. Sales is not for people who are worried about the ability to succeed. A growth mindset as illustrated here, is crucial for long-term sustainability as a sales leader. This is the glue the holds the rest of the pre-requisites together.

In conclusion

It boils down to this. There are no educational degrees, personality types, or technical expertise that can help predict success in headhunting. As the most sophisticated sales job available, headhunting requires someone with exceptional EQ and anticipatory skills. That’s why this career can truly be for anyone who believes themselves to be capable of doing this and truly enjoys changing peoples’ lives.

If you think you’re cut out for this, get in touch with Victor Wong, Lead Recruiter at DG Recruit to kick off a 100% confidential discussion.

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Tips for your first year as a headhunter

Tips for your first year as a headhunter

As a headhunter and now as a founder of my own recruitment firm for headhunters, I’m constantly reminded of my first year in this addicting, fun, and lucrative career.

Here are some tips for first year headhunters that I tell my team and candidates I represent:

#1. Adjust your mindset first and foremost.

Successful headhunters are not “born”. They’re MADE through hard work! All of us have a top-performing headhunter in our hearts. It’s just a matter of releasing that ambition into the world. Will you let a difficult candidate or client get you down? Are you giving up on a search because you’re not finding people immediately? How do you react if heaven forbid you have a dropper?

It’s a marathon, not a race. Invest in a steel mindset and work ethic. You will reap your 6-figure income if you put in the work.

#2. Some sacrifices are worth it. Year 1 is one of them.

If you want to chill-out and have “work-life balance”, I’m not sure you’ll make it through Year 1. Year 1 is THE most important indicator of your future potential in this business. For Year 1, short of weddings and funerals of close family members, you better be 100% work-mode 100% of your time. Until you’ve succeeded in terms of billing, don’t even think about taking a breather.

Focus on your career when you first start out. There is no higher priority than setting yourself up for success in Year 1.

#3. Not only do you have to learn, YOU MUST ALSO IMPLEMENT.

I am happy to do countless shadowing calls, training sessions, and coaching with my team and my candidates. However, no amount of learning and encouragement will make you a better biller than for you to actually implement your learns!

If what you’re doing doesn’t work and someone else more successful shows you a better way to do something, do you argue, debate, grumble, and complain? Or do you do as you’re told, whether you LIKE IT OR NOT?

Anything short of something immoral, you better take others’ advice. Monkey see, and monkey better do. If you want to become a top-biller, you won’t get there by ignoring top-billers’ advice and instructions!

Be who you want to be tomorrow by changing your actions today!

#4. Understand that no matter how you feel about your job, there is no option BUT to succeed in billing.

I talk to headhunters all day. Some tell me they’re having a difficult year. Some have legitimate rationale for why; some clearly are not going to succeed in this business. Overall, there are a ton of bad agencies out there that don’t set you up for success, so I always give candidates the benefit of the doubt.

However, many headhunters tell me they’re absolutely killing it! Those are the ones that give our industry hope and restore my faith. Not only do they understand that agency recruitment is THE most lucrative job, they are also role models. For these candidates, our clients are willing to fight tooth and nail to win them over.

Therefore, when you’re on the path to success already in Year 1, you’re INVINCIBLE.

In conclusion

Everyone in this world is equal in ONE way: we all have 24 hours a day at our disposal. It’s up to you how you use your hours at work, what mindset you wake up to, what you choose to do in your free time. Everything you indulge in today, you pay for later.

Thus, in YEAR ONE, my team and I choose to sacrifice to make our business succeed rather than to “take it easy”.

Easy doesn’t beget success. Success isn’t easy.

Make your choice on who you want to be today and don’t regret your life decisions.

If you’re ready to take your headhunting career to the next level or are looking for mentorship and advice, my team and I are here for you. Reach out to Victor Wong to start your discussion today on how headhunting can change your life.

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Career Advice for Headhunters (Agency Recruiters)

Career Advice for Headhunters (Agency Recruiters)

As a headhunter straight out of college, I knew all the intimate details of my candidates’ careers and trajectories, however I had NO idea what to do about my own career. I founded DG Recruit as a result of the missed opportunities I had as an employee. Thus, DG Recruit now helps headhunters figure out their career trajectory and best path forward.

Here are the most important pieces of advice for headhunters within agency recruitment (not internal recruiting/HR):

#1. You should leave the industry if you don’t care enough about financial gain.

If you’re not someone who likes to push others to do things, be aggressive to get your way, or do whatever it takes to get the job done for the promise of a financial payout, you’ll probably dislike everything about agency recruitment. Our literal purpose is to generate revenue for ourselves, our firm, and grow our practice through results, which is making placements (thereby evidenced by yet again, money). If you don’t really care about financial wealth creation, you’re probably not going to want to stay in this business. You’ll most likely go the internal recruitment route.

#2. You should strive for top performance, at any cost.

As you start out in our industry, you must start your career off with a BANG! You can’t sit on your laurels and give yourself a pass. No, I’ll call that client later. Tomorrow, I’ll do more sourcing, today I must hit the gym. This can wait. These type of mindsets delay success in our business. Your laziness, fear, procrastination, or lack of perseverance until the day’s work is complete, will be your undoing. You MUST push through and put your career first. The #7777rule is no joke.

#3. As you get successful in our business, realize you’re now very valuable, more than you think.

Even though salespeople usually have higher egos than non-sales types, salespeople also tend to feel like they’re oftentimes “not good enough” due to their tough competitive landscape internally and how they’re being taught to feel about themselves. Being self-driven, also makes salespeople highly competitive with themselves, always looking for areas of improvement. Thus, some of the best headhunters, have NO confidence or realization that they’re already incredibly successful. Any other agency would be absolutely over the moon to have you, yet you may not even know your worth or how valuable you’ve become.

#4. As you get more successful as a headhunter, you NEED to start evaluating your firm’s setup.

Because many top headhunters think they’re already one of the lucky ones at their firm, they don’t nor WANT to network. In fact, they are SO loyal to their firm that they often times give everything away to their employers and sacrifice well beyond the reasonable amount you need to as an employee. Headhunters will be so loyal that they will do what’s logically bad for their finances, careers, and future trajectory, to keep their boss and firm profitable. Due to this lack of exposure, you inevitably will not be getting the best deal you could be getting for your labor hours and accomplishments.

#5. At every year of your career, you must stay on top of things and NETWORK.

I know, that had I known myself during my tenure as an employee, I would have benefited immensely from knowing myself or other reliable Rec2Recs or R4Rs, as I found out we’re called! During my tenure as an employee, no one externally ever helped me understand my career path or my options ahead. I had NO idea what other firms are paying, how they’re structured, and the equity packages available. Not only was I completely in the dark, I also was fearful of looking outside my firm and risk being caught. Knowing a top headhunter for YOURSELF is crucial to getting unbiased, market data. Just like how you provide it to your candidates!

In Conclusion

Headhunters are the biggest hypocrites. Everyday, we counsel our candidates to move companies yet we rarely have the guts to do it ourselves! In fact, most of the time, when we DO do it, we do it with the totally wrong mindset and approach. Thus, it’s crucial to have an agency represent you who can make sure they protect your confidentiality and can liaise and negotiate on your behalf.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the #DGRteam to discuss your career options. Our candidates are 80% employed and passive, so we are 100% candidate-focused. We’re excited to work to your timelines and start building our relationship with you sooner rather than later.

Whether you’re an experienced headhunter or aspiring to become one, email: contact@dgrecruit.com for more information!

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Top 5 Tips for Headhunters & Recruiters on the Agency-side

Top 5 Tips for Headhunters & Recruiters on the Agency-side

As a headhunter and proud agency recruiter, I have been blessed with an incredible career and now I’m in a privileged position to help other headhunters and recruiters maximize their careers on the agency side at my own recruitment firm, DG Recruit, that helps headhunters make career moves.

Here are the top 5 tips we’ve gathered that helps recruiters maximize their career and billing potential:

#1. Understand what your primary motivators are.

In the world of agency recruitment, there is nothing that will sustain us if not for the promise of money. Anyone who disagrees with that is either already really rich or simply not cut out for this job. If you’re considering a job in headhunting but dislikes the idea of sales and commission and views sales jobs as “unstable”, then please do not for a moment, entertain nor join this industry.

One of the most important attitudes you must adopt if you are to survive and thrive in this job is understand this fundamental truth. Staffing, recruiting, headhunting, agency recruiting, whatever you want to call it, is a SALES job. If you think for a moment it is anything else other than that, then you will be disappointed. Please do yourself a huge favor and make sure your personal and financial goals are actually aligned with a career in sales to save yourself, your company, and your boss the pain of having things not work out.

DGR tip: Don’t do agency recruitment just to get your foot in the door with HR as the end game. Chances are you’ll hate it so much, you’d probably have been better off just applying directly to corporate recruiting or HR jobs in the first place. Don’t take a miserable detour, it’s just not worth it.

#2. Once you determine why you’ve chosen this career (money), ask yourself to what lengths are you ready to go to achieve it.

Wanting money is one thing; actually doing the work required to get there to earn it through commissions is a totally different ball game. It goes without saying that a career in sales requires intense investment into yourself. Your communication skills, your mindset, the time you need to spend to actually learn the sales cycle and techniques in terms of putting into practice, all of that takes significant time away from your lifestyle.

Are you seriously committed to working the hours you need to (most days it is 8-6pm and MORE)? Are you willing to say the things that are hard to say? To tell you that you’ll never have to say something you’re not 100% comfortable with is a lie. You’ll need to say things and do things you otherwise wouldn’t need to do in a technical job that is very black and white. Sales operates in the gray – are you ok with that?

DGR Tip: Please don’t be naive. Be clear on who you are, your code of ethics. As salespeople, we can absolutely operate ethically. As an employee and now as the owner of a staffing firm, I have and always operated by a strict code of ethics. I have a defined set of activities I’d never engage in to get ahead that may compromise my clients’ and candidates’ lives. However, absolutely you’ll need to bend, exaggerate, and stretch the truth – FOR THE GREATER GOOD of all parties.

#3. Master the candidate side and get on to clients asap.

I was lucky my first job in staffing was the only job I needed to become a master headhunter. A large part of that was my past employer’s prowess at training strong business development and full-desk recruiters. When you operate a full desk, that means you’re pulling your own accounts, hiring managers, and job reqs, and you’re also filling those yourself on what usually is a niche market vertical. Now, DG Recruit is able to highlight these firms and help headhunters we represent find these awesome firms that teach you both sides of the business (and pays you in commission for doing both sides of the deal).

By age 25, I was making over $215k in this manner because I brought my firm over $740k in revenue that year by really mastering the market dynamics and labor movement patterns since I spoke to both candidates and clients on a daily basis. It was easy to beat out my competition because I was so specialized and understood all the parties in my market. When a candidate asked me about the hiring manager, I knew them and was able to sell that relationship, goodwill, and close personal relationships, which made all the difference.

DGR Tip: Especially for perm, you really need intimate knowledge of both client and candidate to do the job right. However, whether you’re running temp or direct hire, you MUST be able to drive NEW client engagement and understand the modern process for how that works. In most cases, you’ll need to find an employer who can teach you that if you don’t know it already.

#4. BE SPECIALIZED.

Many junior recruiters mistakenly think that it’s somehow a market advantage to recruit for everything under the sun. That simply isn’t the right way to scale and see higher returns on your work. Your recruitment billing should be exponential due to the economies of scale you reach by investing into a very focused niche that you’ll have a market advantage in by knowing it a lot better than your competition.

Clients increasingly trust market experts, NOT generalists because the quality and volume of candidates through a true market expert should always be higher than a generalist. Business-wise, such is the case. Every commercial entity thrives off of focus and dedication. Especially in staffing, where the brand and referral business is crucial to success, dedication and market specialization is required to enhance speed to placement.

DGR Tip: Join a firm that allows you to have ownership, control, and dedication to a specific field. Don’t be scared of a limited market. Recruitment businesses reach high profitability through specialization. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

#5. Look when you don’t need to.

Once you get the hang of this job and understand how this business works, get going on expanding your external network. The common trappings of a great salesperson is they tend to be largely insular, sure of themselves, without ever having seen what else is possibly out there. Being one of the few successful people makes top-billers feel indebted, loyal, and irrationally stubborn that their firm is the “best”.

Sadly, many top-billers are pegged for leadership roles that ultimately puts them in a less than desirable financial situation, simply because they trust their leadership too much to realize that, at the end of the day, the firm needs to do what the firms needs, not what youwant. Many promising top-billers never make the big money they want because they take a job that benefits the company’s growth, not their own.

What inevitably happens is that business dynamics change, cultures grow, top managers leave, and soon, those who have failed to take action are now in a reactionary mode, most susceptible to making a wrong career move off of the constant barrage of promises made by other companies who are lucky enough to snag them in a moment of weakness. Instead, align yourselves with strong recruiters in our field earlier rather than later.

DGR Tip: Of course, I’ll always recommend you to speak with me and my team first! However, you should definitely interview a slew of #Rec2Rec firms (as they call us). Do your own diligence and choose who you want to rep you and what they’re offering.

In Conclusion

If done right, your career will land you into the $100ks, $200ks, $300ks+, pretty much within the first 5 years of you on the job. If you can’t see that happening or if even your top-billers are not earning that type of money, you REALLY need to be wary of what is being promised to you. Any great firm in the USA today in today’s economic environment should be able to yield these opportunities.

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How you know when you’re in the RIGHT Recruitment Market (Direct Hire/Perm)

How you know when you’re in the RIGHT Recruitment Market (Direct Hire/Perm)

As a headhunter and agency recruiter, the whole point of your job is to maximize your income potential. The majority of us who do this work have a strong financial drive, which is why we sacrifice our sanity, time, and effort to invest into this crazy career of recruitment, a demanding sales job at the end of the day.

When you work in the RIGHT recruitment market, your potential to earn commissions is highly increased, making a tangible difference in your reward, thus the quality of life and future trajectory of your professional career and personal situation improves.

Conversely, if you’re in the WRONG recruitment market, you’ll waste time spinning your wheels, working long hours for low ROI (Return on Investment) of your mental energy, stress, and time. You’ll probably be so burnt out of your job that you’re making not enough money in that you’ll swear to never work at a recruitment firm again.

Here are important factors to consider to determine if you’re in the RIGHT recruitment market (perm/direct hire perspective):

#1. Your direct hire fee should be at least 20-25%, up to 35% if you’re really in a great market.

If the need for external agency support in your market is high, your fee will usually be at the very minimum 20% for larger Fortune 100 firms and 25% for most other firms. If you can’t command those rates and instead have to mess around with 10-15%, either you work (1) At a poorly-performing firm (2) At a mom-and-pop shop or independently (3) For a leader/firm who has no long-term strategy to grow or team to feed or (4) A large recruitment firm that makes money/competes solely on volume and pricing.

Or, you could also just not know how to negotiate rates well (another problem you’ll need to solve regardless of market). Either way, if you can’t command at least 20-25% rates, you end up working a LOT for a little bit of money, especially if you’re an employee. After your company takes their lion’s share of your production, you won’t have much left per deal.

#2. Level of hire matters.

In addition to the rate for your services that you can command, the level of hire directly influences your billing production potential. For instance, if you work low-level roles all day, it could be again, a lot more work for a lot less money simply due to math and the amount of hours available for you to work. All else being equal, if you do the same amount of deals, but the compensation/seniority is higher, it’s obvious that you’ll make more money working on higher-level salaried roles!

The only saving grace would be higher volume of jobs if you must stay working on lower-level positions; however that breeds new problems: organization, time available to do your job, and the level of focus. Most firms who have their employees running around recruiting junior staff also don’t provide a niche approach, so not only do you have to service lower-paying jobs, you also have to service many TYPES of roles, losing the ability to at least make up commission opportunities with economies of scale – double whammy!

#3. Competitive forces.

Some markets are very hot; many recruiters flock to those markets. If your competition is smarter than you, monopolizes the market faster, and just has a better system altogether, you may lose to them. Furthermore, you’ll lose valuable time trying to take them out when simply you can’t. Thus, carefully monitor the competitive landscape by asking your clients and candidates who else is servicing your market and what are their experiences are like.

Only then, you can get closer to the core question you’re trying to answer:

Are you on the right market that has low competitive forces where again, you can command respectable and sustainable rates?

If not, then you’ll have work to do! Either, you need to get better than your competition from a work ethic, skill level, pricing (risks here!), and market penetration standpoint. Or, you can exit the market and find another one to dominate; one that doesn’t house formidable competition that consistently robs you of deals.

#4. Is your market Candidate dry?

As a permanent full-desk recruiter since I was 23, I’ve always billed from $330k-$700k+ a year simply by operating solely on candidate-driven markets where candidates were scarce. The minute any market switches to being more client-driven, I’ll be the first to exit that market. Recruitment revenue is only realized when your candidate goes to work and successfully completes their rebate period. Thus, ironically, while your clients pay you, you don’t really get paid until the candidate goes to work and succeeds there.

Hence, what I realized is when you focus on generating the top candidates more than just being client-driven, you’ll make more $ long-term. If your candidate isn’t happy with your services, doesn’t get a good offer, is treated roughly by you or your client, and worse yet, tells their friends about you, then you’re essentially out of a job.

The trick is to not only service candidates well, but to focus on the TOP level of candidate, which requires you to be a great recruiter. Furthermore, if the number of top candidates are relatively scarce, then your opportunity to make money increases significantly – this minimizes the competition from internal recruiters using job boards or other means to fill your roles.

TIP: I’m not saying neglect your clients. Of course, the default expectation of top headhunters is that they conduct themselves with integrity, steadiness, and a strong moral code of ethics of how you curate your business from both ends. Which clients do you allow to represent your offering? Which candidates do you allow to represent your caliber of “product”? Be selective and demanding of both.

Remember: The best candidates only want to work with the best headhunters.

Game recognizes game.

If you suck at your job, stumble, stutter, and don’t know basic things about your market or career advice, NO decent candidate will take you seriously. You’ll end up attracting the same caliber of talent you are! If you’re great, you’ll attract great people. If you’re not, you’ll end up attracting B tier talent, hurting your chances of placing. Once you allow B-players into your network, you’ll start running a B-tier business, so be careful about your standards.

In Conclusion

While your market doesn’t automatically make you a top-biller, it definitely helps improve your odds. Think deeply about your business, your role, your strategy, and your plan to bill. If you don’t see a positive future for the level of work and effort you’re investing, then it may be time to consider a new role, a new market, a new company, for a better boss, or if you’re style is more suitable to speed rather than quality and depth of candidate market penetration, then perhaps consider recruiting for temp roles.

Get in touch with my team at DG Recruit to speak with us about opportunities to move into the right market, right firm, and right commission plan in US nationwide, remotely, or worldwide!

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How to Judge Your Candidate

How to Judge Your Candidate

As a headhunter since I was 23, while I had some excellent training from my employer, the only way I could learn how to recruit was talking to candidates directly and learn how to correctly judge a candidate in real time by making as many calls (and mistakes!) as possible.

Once you get the hang of it, recruitment is very straightforward, however the time to get up and running will be painful, littered with setbacks and mistakes of wrongly judging your candidates which results in the drama that is a part of life of being in our profession.

Here’s how you can minimize the issues you’ll run into with candidate quality:

#1. Ask open questions.

Don’t ever assume you know anything about the candidate or what they’re interested to hear about. Most definitely, don’t ramble about your firm, how you’re different, and what you can do for them. The time to do that is at the end of the call. Right out of the gate, you need to quickly make small talk and move right into open questioning as the main focus in the first half of your call.

Ask about their experiences thus far, their situation at work, why they got on the phone with you, push and pull factors (as I show you how to do here on the DG Recruit Podcast), and then that’s when the clues to the quality of their candidacy start appearing.

#2. Are they answering your questions head-on?

When candidates are charming, friendly, and very eager, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Don’t ever take someone’s word for who they are – observe and make judgments along the way. Pivot and ask smarter, more tailored question to really dive into this unique individual’s mindset and worldview. Definitely, don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all script.

The best candidates tend to be realistic, practical, and normal by most accounts. They’re not going to deviate into either extreme of overly rapport-building or being entirely under-whelming (definitely an issue down the line too because your candidate will struggle to make it through interviews). When someone is extra chummy, be en garde. Your candidate could be utilizing you to get what they want, not the other way around.

See below chart to view the general candidate personality types and what you should do in relation to where they fall on the spectrum:

How you can judge this is by the directness of their answers. If your candidate is earnestly answering your questions, being transparent, and totally open with their rationale, decision-making process, and career drivers, then you can move into having a real conversation. If things aren’t adding up, and they’re just talking about random stuff – no matter how “eloquent” they may seem, they are probably full of –it.

Or worse yet, a fake candidate or a competitor gauging you for your CLIENT LIST!

#3. What is their actual reason for speaking with you?

People don’t just hop on a call for no reason at all. Why is this candidate actually going to be interested to move forward? If they’re unemployed (immediately not ideal as clients prefer actively working candidates who are properly headhunted), why? It’s unnatural for people to just quit without having a job lined up.

Even if they got a severance, it’s still a red flag! Most go-getter career-oriented people don’t let themselves get severed and just coast until money runs out. Furthermore, it raises the very reasonable question, why out of all the staff, were you chosen to be severed? All clients want ideally the best of the best who have strong personal and professional goals – all of which would include staying employed.

Most people have bills to pay. It doesn’t make sense for most people just take a gander with no Plan B, especially later in life when their cost of living and overheads increase. Thus, I’m looking for answers such as “well, I do have a lot of money stocked up due to my success and previous achievements” or “I own a bunch of houses so I have income from other sources”.

Any reasonable explanation would make sense. Furthermore, if the candidate didn’t do a fantastic job at their last role, I’d like to hear the candidate own up to it. I’ll still rep them as long as the attitude towards their next job is correctly adjusted. This is the level of detail your candidate NEEDS to share otherwise you will look underprepared when talking to your client about your candidate. How could you NOT know this? It’s professional incompetence to leave very gaping topics uncovered or “I don’t know, I’ll have to double check”. Not ideal.

Tip: It’s on the recruiter to educate the candidate on WHY certain questions need answers. As in, if you don’t have a job, I’ll need references and why.

#4. Where else are they interviewing at?

If your candidate doesn’t trust you enough to share with you their processes, then you need to make a judgement call. Either you’re not educating the candidate correctly on why this is crucial information or you personally don’t know how to ask this question effectively or you don’t have conviction in WHY you need to know. Or you simply don’t have a lot of actual confidence in what you have to offer to be worthy of your candidate’s time and compete against their other opportunities.

Early in my career, I made a few no-go decisions when it comes to judging candidates. For those who don’t trust me or tell me need-to-know information, I take my business elsewhere. Unless the candidate is TRULY exceptional, I don’t tolerate any unwillingness to to cooperate as we’re supposed to be a completely aligned team, me and my candidate. If you let people take advantage of you, they can make your life a living hell! At some point, you’ll need to create a code to live by and judge who to represent or whom to avoid.

Tip: However, it’s on the recruiter to earn the trust of their candidate; it’s an earned right of transparency. If you genuinely have the right intentions, the candidates’ best interest at heart, and plan to do nothing to sabotage your candidate, then you must have the courage to explain it, loud and proud! Tell your candidate how well you’ll treat them – what you will or would never do (i.e. send out resumes without agreement – clearly an act done in bad faith with moral ineptitude, a clear violation of your candidate’s trust).

#5. Do you like your candidate on a personal level?

If your candidate is rude, aggressive, demanding, entitled, and impatient while being dodgy, unwilling to share information (despite you explaining why very logically), then this could just be a very paranoid person. Clearly, this person distrusts society, people, and institutions. Worse yet, this person could be a lying or faking it. Is this someone who actually can last their rebate period, even if they miraculously make it past the interview and offer stage?

My general rule of thumb to judge whether or not I move forward with a candidate is, do I genuinely like my candidate? If I don’t, why would they be able to charm my client when my client is also a reflection of my judgement? My client usually is on the same page as I am because in the role of a headhunter, I’m a DUAL-agent! I have a fiduciary duty to BOTH parties and I need to be highly alert and attuned to judging people on both ends. Usually when I don’t like someone, my clients don’t either.

Long Story Short

I want to make a happy placement for both the client and candidate. It is very much a two-way street. Candidates who are antagonistic towards their recruiter have almost no chance of getting the job and will certainly lose out on getting the recruiter’s support. On the same token, recruiters who are incompetent will find it very hard to survive in this industry. It’s on YOU, recruiter, to get better at your job EVERY time.

Food for thought

While we are crucial in the candidate intake and judgement process, our job is NOT to be the judge, jury, and executioner. We need to have clear parameters of what our clients want to see and do their bidding too. While not all candidates are not nice and respectful of us, we need to be fair on what the client needs.

Even if some candidates treat us horribly, if our client wants that profile, then we must swallow our pride to do right by the client, on a case by case basis. Ideally, our skill and our network will be such that we’ll have better candidates in the pipeline that again, we can be more selective as we get more experienced who to represent and whom not to.

If you’re eager to talk about recruitment, your job, career prospects, and conundrums as an experienced recruiter or emerging headhunter, my team at DG Recruit would love to speak with you. Please connect with me directly to have a private discussion on your past, present, and future in recruitment!

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4 Factors to Consider before Setting up your own Recruitment Firm

4 Factors to Consider before Setting up your own Recruitment Firm

As a headhunter since I was 23 at a global agency and now as the founder of DG Recruitthe recruitment agency servicing top-billing headhunters, here are 4 factors for other recruiters to consider before setting up your own recruitment firm:

#1. Your financial situation and capital backing.

With our lucrative commission potential, low barriers to entry, and low costs of running a recruitment business, every recruiter today would be remiss to NOT think about the opportunity to gain 100% of the production revenue versus splitting your revenue with your employer. However, there’s a reason why the world is run by recruitment agencies, not mom and pop recruiters.

Despite your best intentions, business cycles change, hiring managers move, trends shift, and more. Capital expenditures don’t stop. You’ll need to account for costs related to: hiring, website development, marketing, payroll, training, accounts receivable, accounting, legal fees, client and candidate meeting expenses, travel, technological/software needs, office if you choose to have one, and the list goes on. If you don’t have this money yourself or through others’, the risk and your financial pressures may hurt your life and career.

#2. Maturity to run your own firm.

As we all know in this industry, so many leaders don’t deserve to lead. In fact, the majority of firms are average and under-performing. The best firms are few and far between; the exception to the rule. Even within the best firms, many leaders lack the maturity to be leaders. They have detrimental characters flaws, usually centered around addictive behaviors.

Since our industry’s top performers are driven by an almost obsessive desire to succeed and create revenue, many personality problems also emerge from that type of intensity. Inappropriate sexual advances, addictions to toxic substances, narcissism and similar personality problems, and the dependence on unhealthy financial habits plague our industry. If you’re somebody who lives the high-life, works hard and plays harder, is arrogant and stubborn to boot, you’re not ready to be a recruitment leader.

Tip: I live by the motto of “work hard now, play later”. I’m not a big fan of “work hard play hard” because that’s breaking even, not getting ahead! Success is all about delayed gratification.

#3. Billing prowess as a full-desk producer.

Perm billing experience is crucial to setting up a revenue-positive firm ASAP without needing much capital investment. Of course, contract businesses are incredibly lucrative, but they’re only good if you have a LOT of money saved up, access to abundant credit, or an investor to front the payments to your contractors before you actually collect the revenue. If you’ve ever only done recruiter-side or temp-placements only, you’re not equipped to run a recruitment firm because you’ll have no idea how to develop clients from a cold-desk situation or you’ll need significant capital investment.

If you’ve only ever worked at a large recruitment firm where all the clients and candidates are warm, you’ll also find entrepreneurship hard because new businesses require cold-desk build-out experience. Furthermore, past billing numbers will predict future ability to succeed. If you’re a top biller, you’ll most likely do alright as a business owner. However, if you’re an average or below-average producer, it’s unlikely that you’ll all of a sudden become a million-dollar producer once you quit your job. With the added pressures and time constraints of running a business, you’ll likely bill less and hurt your career by going solo.

TIP: If you haven’t billed at least $300-500k (full desk perm) by yourself YEARLY and CONSISTENTLY, please don’t quit your job.

#4. Risk tolerance to be an entrepreneur.

Here are a few ingredients that make running a business less risky: health (mental and physical), having with no dependents nor ailing parents to take care of, supportive spouse/family situation, possession of capital and access to credit, freedom of time to commit to your endeavor, youth (physical stamina and speed to adjust to market conditions and technology advances), and minimal character flaws.

Many people suffering from severe anxiety, health issues, serious financial burdens, and intense family needs, should truly think twice about the stressors related to becoming an entrepreneur, especially within the aggressively competitive nature of agency recruitment. Of course, you don’t have to possess all the qualities, but you need to have enough going for you so that you can protect yourself from the downside risks.

In Conclusion

The reality is this: if you’re a top producer, life can be much easier as an employee. You can just bill and make good money with relatively low business stressors. Unless you truly, desperately, want the goal of being a business owner (and happy to tolerate the stresses that come with that), you’re probably better off just moving agencies – going to a startup situation where other like-minded people work. Together, you can build a business and share in the profits, minimizing your risks.

The only reason to truly be a business owner is if (1) You’re ready to put work as your #1 overwhelming priority (2) You’re willing to sacrifice your personal life and free time (3) Happy to be a leader, trainer, babysitter, therapist, coach, boss, customer-service representative, marketer, CFO, salesperson, legal counsel, and growth strategy consultant and (4) You possess the financial backing to NOT get screwed over by your decision.

If you just want a higher commission bracket, you’re better off staying an employee and finding a rapidly scaling firm that you can share in the profits and equity in a smaller startup environment with higher commission potential.

Because the fact of the matter is this:

Once you quit the employment realm, it can be safely assumed that you’re drastically decreasing your desirability of being hired by other agencies as an employee. Once you’ve become a recruitment agency owner, it’s not the same going back to employment. The best firms will be unlikely want to hire you, other than those with a very unique situation. It’s a tough adjustment and hiring managers are less likely to view you favorably.

It’s a dangerous path littered with many failures along the way, think twice before you set up shop. For more elaboration, listen to the 7 factors to consider before you set up your own firm on the DG Recruit Podcast in a lengthy discussion that builds upon these topics.

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Recruitment Professionals: How to Work with DG Recruit

Recruitment Professionals: How to Work with DG Recruit

Recruitment professionals are so scared to interact with Rec2Rec aka R4R recruiters due to the horrific quality standards that most Rec2Rec recruitment firms adhere to. There’s no training, no strong leader, no process, no real niche focus, and so many bad practices and inefficiencies that both recruiters and candidates struggle to make sense of their day.

Dear recruitment professional, that’s not the case at DG Recruit. We know exactly what we’re doing when it comes to helping recruiters in their careers.

Here’s all you need to know about who we are and what we do:

#1. No, we don’t recruit internal recruiters or corporate types.

There are a variety of reasons why internal recruitment, HR, and corporate recruiting jobs are horrible life choices for TRUE go-getters. Listen to this DG Recruit Podcast episoderead this article, or just talk to us! We’ll walk you through the myriad of reasons why you will really struggle to like an internal job if you’re a sales type that likes freedom, money, entrepreneurship, and success.

#2. We’re privately owned thus we don’t mess around with you – confidentiality is EVERYTHING.

A lot of our competitors are owned by other companies (they won’t tell you that though!). In that case, you would have submitted yourself to a firm that has less accountability, care, and desire to please the market since they don’t have a real stake in their brand. They’re not bootstrapped and worse yet, they have a financial incentive to serve their master. We don’t have any problems like that. We’re proud of being independent.

Since I founded DG Recruit in 2018, we are absolutely meticulous and obsessed with candidate confidentiality as our #1 priority. We only work with clients whom we like AND trust to protect you. We go to great lengths to confirm that everything we discuss stays private with no risk of you being found out.

Our clients are awesome, but our CANDIDATE is our #1 CUSTOMER.

#3. We’re a high-touch shop, available 24/7 to support you.

As a team-oriented firm, we have multiple team members assigned to you to receive coaching, resume design (yes, we do that for free, whether or not you decide to interview), and we have multiple people internally help you schedule interviews, mentally prep, and negotiate your offers as best as we can. Our clients and we ourselves are contractually bound to protect your confidentiality.

We use text-messaging (I would hope everyone would use text primarily in this day and age) so we’re fast to help you deal with any issue that arises. When you have an interview, you’ll get a beautiful email invite with clear details on what is going on and also more conversations at every step of the process to make sure you feel 100% supported. Whatever you need, we’re here for you every step of the way!

#4. We don’t expect you to make a move immediately (or even anytime soon)!

For all people who tell us they are all set for now and don’t want to move, we are your perfect partner! Our specialty is working with PASSIVE CANDIDATES. We prefer to work with people well in advance of when they actually need to make a move. That’s how we’re able to get the best offers and career opportunities aligned for our candidates.

Since we’re constantly closing deals, we don’t really care when you decide to start. It’s all good! We just want to be in your network so that one day, when you or anyone you know may need us, we’re already way ahead of the game with your resume completed and you fully educated on what’s happening on the open market.

#5. Join our golden loop today.

As a completely niche recruitment firm dedicated to help the current or future top performers in agency recruitment, we constantly throw parties, events, and catch-ups with you to learn more about your journey in recruitment. We like to cheer you up, give you some motivation, and also have fun getting to know you! You’d literally be silly not to have a relationship with me and my team (our service to you is free, duh!).

If you’re a true high potential or already top-producing recruiter whether in the US or globally, we’d love to invite you to join our golden loop so you’ll get regular market updates and check-ins from our team as we continue to expand globally!

You can get in touch with anyone from the DG Recruit team by clicking here. Look forward to speaking with you and helping you maximizing your career potential as a headhunter.

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Should you go through a Recruiter or not?

Should you go through a Recruiter or not?

As a headhunter since I was 23, I’m the direct beneficiary of as well as the conductor behind a volume of candidate placements throughout my career that rewarded the top candidates in any given market with significant salary increases, career opportunities, and better work-life-balance according to their lifestyle, professional desires, and personal needs.

Our industry of recruitment has helped hundreds of millions of employees passively or actively find their next position. To be clear, in this case recruiter means AGENCY recruiters, NOT corporate/internal/HR recruiters. Read here on the difference.

There are cases where you should use a recruiter; certainly in other cases, you’d be better off representing yourself. Be knowledgeable about how recruiters work.

Here are a few pieces of advice to help you:

#1. Talk to a few headhunters in your market and career space first.

This is easy to do. Literally pick up the phone and call them through their office line or directly (their contact details are usually easy to find because recruiters WANT to be contacted by potential candidates). See what they say first! If you can just go through a recruiter and have them rep you, it saves you time, effort, and energy. Furthermore, you don’t have to do any grunt work! They’ll apply for you, set up interviews to your schedule, as well as coach you throughout the process. It’s awesome.

TIP: Find recruiters who recruit for your career by simply hopping on various job boards and seeing WHO is posting all the job ads. The recruitment agency sounding names are exactly those who cater to your industry. Use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters from that agency and see if you can get them on the phone.

#2. If you don’t hear back, increase your efforts.

This strategy of getting to know recruiters to leverage their capabilities would be that, if you’re not hearing back, perhaps you haven’t sent out enough inquiries. Use LinkedIn and the phone to chase down these recruiters for feedback.

I used to deal with this a lot. Sometimes, a candidate will submit a resume to multiple job postings I put up. However, due to the fact that I have hundreds of candidates applying on any given day, if someone’s profile is less desirable or completely off-base, unfortunately, that candidate will not get a phone call or automated email rejecting them. This is technological flaw of our recruiting systems. Thus, candidates feel shafted when really, it’s not personal, it’s just you didn’t qualify being represented by a recruiter.

Tip: Try to hammer a few select top recruiters in your space consistently and purposefully so at least you can get one on the line and ask them questions about your career. Pay them for coaching if you need to! The best headhunters know their market and their advice will do wonders for you if you can get over the bitterness of not being selected to interview and instead, take the initiative to find out answers of why.

#3. Understand the recruitment ecosystem.

As headhunters, we charge a HEFTY fee to the client that the company needs to pay us separate from a candidate’s salary. Contrary to popular belief, there is no zero sum game here. Oftentimes, because a candidate uses a top recruiter in their space, if done right, their salary and career opportunities increase, not decrease. The fee and the candidate salary are two different things.

However, what DOES impact the fee is that clients simply won’t pay fees for candidates who don’t qualify to be represented by a recruiter. If a client feels that their internal staff could find that exact same candidate or someone similar enough, they won’t feel that the recruiter’s fee is warranted. Thus, they’ll elect NOT to hire the candidate because they don’t find the risk of the employee failing to be worth the fee they have to pay.

In Conclusion

What does this mean for the candidate? Take a look at this DG Recruit infographic:

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In cases where the candidate needs too much training, support, or coaching on the junior end, a client may not be interested to pay the recruiter fee because their internal recruitment team finds better candidates on a daily basis. Similarly, on the other side of the inverted U curve, candidates who have too much experience also fail to be worth a recruiter fee due to the topic of career success and legitimacy.

The middle of the U-curve is where the top candidates lie: they have some experience, some track record, are in the right stage of life where career trajectory is rising, and they’re ripe for hard work, innovation, and adaptability. This candidate is WORTH the recruitment fee (usually 15-35% of candidate first year compensation). This fee is so costly that again, clients expect top candidate for their dollar. Thus, candidates who aren’t in a desirable state can either elect to try and earn a recruiter’s representation or just rep themselves.

WARNING: This advice is MARKET-specific. You need to understand the desirability of EACH market and customize the above graph. For instance, junior recruits for my market, #rec2rec, is VERY desirable. We have a lot of client demand for go-getter salespeople or those graduating out of college on the junior end. But that’s unique to our market of recruiting on potential versus track record.

Thus, junior candidates are just as desired and placeable as those with experience. That’s NOT the case in most STEM jobs unless they’re emerging industries where experienced candidates are 1. too few and 2. too expensive to hire.

For more advice on careers, tune into the Daily DANDAN Podcast and DG Recruit Podcast. Recruiters, I’m eager to chat with you – connect with me and let’s network!

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The Drawbacks of Going Internal

The Drawbacks of Going Internal

As a die-hard agency recruiter since I was 23 and now founder of my own recruitment agency DG Recruit, I benefitted immensely off of the bet I took and the horse I bet on: myself.

Sadly, not every recruiter has seen the success, fun, money, and power that a great agency career and provide. Therefore, their thought for the “solution” automatically becomes a HR job or internal/corporate recruitment role. What’s sad is that many recruiters only work at one agency before they give up and go corporate, when the solution could have easily been to work at another agency before fully exiting this side of the table!

All recruiters considering a move to the corporate side really need to consider the drawbacks to going internal, which are:

#1. You’re now only recruiting for one client.

Shockingly, many recruiters are happy about this, when actually it’s horrible when you actually think about it! The reason is that most recruiters don’t see the client side as they’re what we term “split-desk” recruiters. They’re working at an agency that only has them run one “side” of the desk, the candidate side. Thus, they don’t see the problems on the client end. They don’t see how many hiring managers exist who are intolerable, rude, wildly out-of-touch, yet still want everything their way, only to be heard and not listen to the market.

Here’s the real problem: When you’re married to ONE client, you’re now forever in their control! If they find you ineffective or simply don’t like you, now your career is literally at risk! Not to mention, you have NO CHOICE. Even if you don’t like them back, you have to represent them like they’re the best thing since sliced bread. This is exactly the problem with some of the “best” companies to recruit for. They’re usually led by ego-maniacs and team leaders who are so detached from reality that the recruiter’s job there is very difficult.

WARNING: The workload of an internal recruiter is shockingly high, much harder than the workloads of most agency recruiters. You’re now expected to recruit for at least 50-300 reqs across MULTIPLE specialties. How exhausting is that?! You lose all the advantages of long-term returns on time spent to build markets up and the financial rewards of doing so.

Now, you’re completely firing on all cylinders like a chicken with its neck cut off!

Side-note: for closing around 25 placements in ONE market, I made over $215k in income while working 9-5 and taking 4 weeks’ vacation, living very comfortably. This isn’t all. I also got free company-paid trips, extra incentives, and awards I received as a top agency biller. It literally boggles my mind that recruiters at the wrong agencies or in internal roles have to close over 50 people a year to be considered decent. I never had to work wholesale like that.

#2. You have no real advantage to woo candidates.

The reason why agency recruitment fees aren’t decreasing (in fact are increasing in certain markets) is that headhunters are gobbling up the best talent, slapping them on exclusive, and representing them to you at a high markup. Headhunters corner the candidate-tight markets so in those roles you have zero competitive edge.

Why would a great candidate respond to you when they can just utilize their favorite headhunter who has a hold on their market and career? Remember, a headhunter’s service is absolutely free for the candidate, so a candidate is MUCH better off using a representative to initiate contact to multiple companies without the risks of going direct, which can impact every single facet of their process ($, negotiation, timing, fit, pressure, etc).

Sadly, what happens in internal recruiting is: You’re screwed if you do, you’re screwed if you don’t.

If you do manage to place a hard-to-fill role, that was your job anyways, you don’t get massive kudos (or pay) to do it. Your employer is entitled to you closing reqs because they’re paying you a fat base to do so. If you don’t fill roles, well, again, your job is at risk. For more on this point, listen to this.

WARNING: As candidates get more sophisticated and educated on how to work with headhunters, their incentive to respond to direct solicitation from corporate recruiters will continue decrease massively. This trend is already the case and will only exacerbate.

#3. The job itself is less rewarding, more administrative.

Only junior roles and easier-to-fill/client driven markets provide candidate flow directly for the internal teams to take. Candidates at that level are not wooed by headhunters because the fee is negligible and not worth building a market within. Most candidates also don’t know any better and will apply directly to job portals, thus agencies are not needed to supplement those types of hires. The grunt work is left for the internal teams to deal with.

Instead of tackling challenging candidate markets that are intellectual, senior, and tough to handle, you’re now stuck dealing with the administrative tasks of calling through ad response for simple and junior roles. The job is much less exciting than focusing on a market, career, and industry that clients desperately need candidates in. The joy, recognition, and reward you get as a businessperson (agency recruiter) is much different than an administrative role (corporate recruiter).

#4. The culture of your work changes, perhaps not for the better if you’re truly an agency recruiter at heart.

You’re part of HR now, which means you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Put your PC hat on and never take it off. Whether to your candidates, your hiring managers, or colleagues, the game of politics is ON and your career is at stake.

Gone are the days where you and your colleagues can talk candidly about the good, bad, and ugly in your job in a spirit of camaraderie.

You have to watch what you say now. Anything you say (or do) could be used against you. The Machiavellian bureaucratic games begin. Since this role is less focused on meritocratic achievement, those who are strong politickers do very well, while those who are strong at execution get left on the sidelines.

WARNING: No one really gets staffing except people in staffing. You’ll find that people pay less attention to you, understand less of your gripes, and just frankly don’t care about your issues. They just want the candidates.

#5. You’re less respected as a professional internally as a corporate recruiter than a recruiter at an agency.

This is one of the biggest reasons for why I would never go internal. As a top producer at my past employer every year, I was spoiled! Accolades, huge commission checks, shoutouts on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, rapid promotions into senior roles, and total fame across the entire global organization with recognition from all the executive leaders, and I was highly paid to boot.

Because I have dignity, self-respect, a thirst to prove myself, and a huge chip on my shoulder to be at the forefront of my company and not someone in the backseat, I would never take on a job in HR or TA because that would have been a true step backwards in my career as an agency recruiter.

At most organizations, the attitude towards HR people and internal recruiters is that they’re at the bottom of the totem pole, not at the top. However, in the agency world, the top producers are the absolute crown jewels of the entire organization, treated like royalty, given massive career opportunities, and fast-tracked to highly visible senior roles.

WARNING: Most organizations, executives, and hiring managers don’t understand staffing. They’re not willing to listen to your needs to help you do your job better; they just want youto do your job better for less money and reduce your spend. So it’s actually hard to do better. The negative cycle goes on forever, that’s the trade-off for a bigger base.

#6. Your career is too dependent on things outside of your control.

Because you’ve forsaken commission and revenue generation responsibilities for an internal job where now you’re a liability to your firm from a cost-perspective (net negative spend) versus positive income generation, your firm is always going to monitor your ROI. If the company goes through ANYTHING that is negatively impacting hiring needs, your head is on the chopping block.

A drug not approved, a nasty PR incident, a bad reputation on the street, bad financial quarter or economic indicators, all will hurt your stability in your role. Because you’re no longer earning income for your organization, you’re a liability NOT an asset.

But you’re saving agency fees! Doesn’t that make you an asset? No, it’s viewed as your rightful duty. You’re cost-saving, NOT income-generating, still a HUGE difference in function and perception to your employer.

WARNING: Not only is your job at stake due to negative factors that impact your company’s livelihood, your ability to recruit is massively eroded due to the same negative factors! Your job gets harder and again, you’re married to one client so you don’t have other sites to get candidates to.

#7. You have a regular job again.

Most people who start their career in agency recruitment perhaps were sold the same dream I was: financial freedom and high commission potential early. That’s why I busted my butt so hard 7 days a week when I first started out in this industry on a $35k base in 2011. I wanted that backend income desperately so that I could buy houses, get rich, and retire early.

I specifically chose the route of sales to avoid having a “regular” 9-to-5! I wanted to avoid the stationary desk, the monotony of a regular job, the lackluster career path, and the no-name anonymity of being just a worker. Literally, going into internal recruitment sticks you right into this crowd. Unless you get super lucky and hit it big lottery-style on the hottest startup* to cash out on equity, you’re just stuck working on a decent salary that isn’t going to move mountains.

Forget early retirement, you’re right back into the rat race.

*Even then, you won’t have a personal brand – you’re again married to XYZ organization as just the people guy/gal at that company.

In Conclusion

Everyone has a very different worldview on what success looks like. Agency recruitment allowed me to reach the success I personally wanted. By age 28, I was able to retire off of the income I earned as a top producer, so much so that I could start my own companies and become an investor and business owner.

As my business helps recruiters find a similar path to mine, it truly is a mission of mine to help young professionals avoid making mistakes that change their entire life’s trajectory. Because, while the % of top-billers are low in this business, the rewards are very very high for those who persevere. This job isn’t rocket science. If you have a positive attitude and a great work ethic but are not finding success in our job, most of the time, the problem is not this job or this business, it’s the firm/manager/team/market you started your career in.

The simple fix would be to get educated and networked into our industry. Get in touch for a private conversation with me and my team. We’d love to see how we can help you evaluate your career potential in agency recruitment!

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From Theory to Practice: How to Empower Women in Business

From Theory to Practice: How to Empower Women in Business

As a female entrepreneur, headhunter, and recruitment startup founder, I empower myself, my team, our clients and our candidates, many of whom are women, to achieve the life and career they envision.

Oftentimes, I meet well-meaning people who are trying to jump on this #trending bandwagon of being a female advocate. While many I’m sure are doing something in their own way to help women achieve success, many are using this term insincerely, ignorantly, arrogantly, self-servingly, or aimlessly, with no real process, outcome, or genuine interest.

Here’s how you can empower women beyond just theory (this applies to both men and women who want to help other women):

#1. Learn about the women’s movement and what everyone’s all up in arms about.

Not sure why the wage gap exists or how it came to be (think it’s fake news)? Similar to how I’m ignorant of certain social and historical issues, I read to learn more about topics I’m not familiar with. That’s the best way to get up to speed on others’ perspectives, without disregarding others’ opinions, ignoring the issue, or acting like you already know what’s happening when you haven’t done the homework before you hit the streets.

Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to learn more about some of the contemporary professional and personal issues facing women today.

You’ll learn about the wage gap, social perspectives, data, and history from personal, professional, and evidence-backed research about a different reality women face. As a women who was relatively ignorant about gender issues, my mind was blown away by the information in Sandberg’s concise rundown of many aspects of life I didn’t even think about due to certain aspects of the privileges I was exposed to in my own blissful ignorance.

#2. Exert self-discipline in your treatment and thoughts regarding women.

Many people who claim to empower women disregard, downplay, and egotistically compete, abuse, and devalue women’s capabilities in the workplace. If you find yourself thinking sexist or mean-spirited thoughts, evaluate where that is coming from. Are you intimidated, jealous, or thinking inappropriate thoughts (sexual or otherwise) that impact your treatment of women subliminally or viscerally?

A simple but not so simple fix: STOP objectifying women for your primary business and personal needs. Women are a lot more than just the physical! It’s astounding how many businesses still choose to operate under the premise of “sex sells” as their primary marketing strategy promoting one-sided work cultures. It’s shallow, subversive, one-dimensional, arguably ineffective, discriminatory, and ultimately, goes against the whole theme of respecting women for their brains, not bodies.

There is a hypocrisy here: you aren’t empowering women when you use their bodies and youth to your commercial gain as your primary business strategy, then dump them when they move into future stages of life. Furthermore, you certainly can’t on the one hand ’empower’ women while abusing them in other ways, whether subversively or overtly.

#3. Identify moments of unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, and attributing a woman’s actions to their gender.

Only when we create self-awareness within ourselves (sometimes something very uncomfortable to acknowledge), we can move forward as improved humans and better-functioning, more positively impactful members of society.

For both men and women, next time you behave in a certain way that results in a negative interaction with a woman/women, take a step back to evaluate how warranted your behavior was towards the individual versus leveraging your ability to exert more force than necessary or required.

Ask yourself “had this person been a 6 foot ivy-league-educated white male, would I have treated them as such?”

If your answer is no, you have to fix your character flaw of abusing conventional race and gender dynamics. While you certainly can get away with it, it’s hardly the right thing to do.

#4. Consistently vocalize your stance during meetings and interactions, both in the open and behind closed doors.

Similar to points 1-3, you can’t really be a strong ally for women when you silently watch while others are victimized in any way*. If you’re uncomfortable with a situation, use your words to highlight the issue. The more power someone has, the more responsibility you naturally have to be a moral vanguard of your success and ability to influence others. Again, if one a sunny day, you’re female-friendly, but whenever the winds shift you change gears, that doesn’t make you a true advocate.

When you fight for a cause, you must live the values, walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk. I.e. You can’t be an animal activist while wearing fur.

*Unfortunately, for many people who are in junior positions witnessing sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from senior levels, your choices and ability to influence are severely limited. You can risk whistleblowing, reaching out to the media, or lawsuits, which would require you to gather evidence to support your case. Alternatively, you can choose to exit the company and find a less toxic environment.

In Conclusion

Everyone has a lot of conditioning we must work on to start dismantling the learned behaviors, habits, and mentalities we have towards ourselves, our role in society, our own relationship with our gender, and our perceived entitlement of certain actions appropriate for people “like us”.

When you allow “people like us” to do “things like this” without any fair reason or moral compass, that’s when everyone gets hurt through the process and social issues fester. If you can change something that isn’t fair or right, why wouldn’t you?

Dandan is always looking to connect top-billers, recruitment leaders, and go-getters who want to work within agency recruitment as a career. Reach contact@dgrecruit.com for more information.

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5 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Ambitious Go-Getters

5 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Ambitious Go-Getters

As a headhunter for positions ranging from junior to chief executive level, I’ve had the privilege to speak to and meet with literally hundreds of thousands of professionals from all walks of life, at various stages of their careers. Here are the 5 life-changing tips I learned from the most successful candidates I’ve worked with in addition to my own experiences:

#1. The rule of 10.

The most challenging obstacle on the journey to success is surviving the increasing financial, emotional, and physical stressors you’ll inevitably face. Work problems, personal issues, mental state of health, all of these may combine to threaten your self-confidence, financial situation, and path forward. If you don’t quickly identify a stress mitigation strategy, you may run out of gas in the tank to keep going along your high-powered path.

As the Founder of CEO Lifestyle¬†Nelson Wang¬†once told me, when any stressful event arises, consider the rule of 10: will this matter in 10 seconds, 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days, 10 months, or 10 years? When you think about the lack of impact a “dire emergency” will have on your life 10 days from now, you can hopefully realize that the amount of emotional upheaval you may be feeling in that exact moment in time, won’t matter later in your life, thus reaching a rational state that helps you resolve and diffuse problems smoothly.

In other words, deploy a deescalation tool to help you compartmentalize, recuperate, and react quickly to upsetting events.

#2. Leave people behind.

Contrary to the utopian ideal of being a team player and supportive member of the herd, most people who reach career success early actually peel out of the masses to think differently and move out of social circles as one grows and develops. This process can be painful to the majority of people who hold onto their friendships and sentimentality, unable to cut the chord of negative influences.

As someone who has always left one social group for another, constantly increasing my station in life, I’ve left many groups behind, not out of malice or arrogance, but out of self-preservation and self-development. Due my rapid development from awkward and dorky teen, to lost college kid hustling to make a living, to top-billing recruitment professional, to real estate investor, and now entrepreneur, I have to be highly selective who I invest my time into and who I allow in my life to keep my environment pure, encouraging, and positive.

As much as I’d like to think everyone is wonderful and supportive, the reality is that the human species has many personality variants that include those who are jealous, negative, petty, financially irresponsible, possess bad habits that can rub off on you, and gossip-prone, negatively impacting your ability to focus on what’s important in life.

To thine own self be true. Don’t allow others to negatively influence your mindset, environment, and the direction you’re going.

#3. Increase your sense of urgency and responsibility – think about maximizing your NOW bandwidth.

One of biggest reasons why people plateau in life is that they feel like they’ve “made it”, run out of juice, and just settle. Whether that’s putting all their money in a vehicle they don’t understand (real estate primary home-buying), marrying the wrong person, or staying in a job that doesn’t challenge them nor push them to be better.

The scariest thing about these short-term shortcuts is that the after-effects of these decisions hurt you many years down the line. Your short-term privilege of choice and decision to take the easier route may end up hurting you down the line if you don’t play your cards right!

You pay for the decisions you make today. For instance, you took the easier job now that pays well, worked decently, didn’t invest too smartly, married a decent match that was good enough, but then 20 years later, you realize you worked in a job you don’t really like, you’re not happy with the person you settled with, and you don’t have enough money to live the kind of retirement you want.

Well, unfortunately, life doesn’t give you second chances! Your mess-ups today by giving into your lower self will lead to tomorrow’s problems. The solution? Don’t mess up in the first place! Be the best you can be NOW. Work hard NOW to rectify your character flaws and behaviors to insulate yourself from an undesirable future.

The power is in NOW, not later. Because later, you’ll be screwed if your NOW is not being maximized.

#4. Decrease your cost of living and your addiction to the good life when you’re young.

The life hack that took me to own 5 houses and a thriving business by 30, was my ability to control my spending throughout my 20s, a defining decade that put me at an advantage over my peers. Other than a few luxury items, everything else I chose the most cost-effective option.

Instead of living in luxury high-rises in NYC, I plowed my money into owning real estate with tenants paying off my mortgages, while I rented with roommates, decreasing my cost of living. That allowed me to quit and retire from needing to work for someone else, which in turn, allowed me to create even more wealth and freedom as the owner and operator of my own recruitment firm.

Everyday, while I’m skimming costs that don’t need to be wasted, I see so many wannabe-rich people blowing their paycheck money on alcohol, partying, lavish vacations, materialism, gym memberships, furniture, and high-cost rent. How will they ever build wealth with such a high cash burn rate? The sad reality is that they won’t.

The numbers don’t lie. If you want to become wealthy, you have to control your spending.

#5. Maximize your time alone.

Similar to #2, when you’re an ambitious go-getter, you simply can’t afford to do the things everyone else is doing, think the way everyone else thinks, and live to the same standard everyone else aspires to. Most people I encounter in my personal life don’t prioritize wealth creation thus our investment strategies, approach to life, next steps, and opportunities available to us are night and day.

Thus, you need to learn to get used to thinking on your own, relying on yourself, and building new networks of contacts or reading books to learn from other successful people. People like me, who came from humble beginnings as the babysitter’s daughter, don’t have extensive networks of wealthy entrepreneurs nor family money, so we have to seek out those answers, evaluate the advice for fit (not all advice is good!), and then proceed, according to our vision and self-belief that our plan produces rewards worth the risk factors that we can afford to take.

In Conclusion

Go-getters are different than the masses. To be successful is to be in the minority. The majority of the human species is happy with mediocrity, average performance, and a regular, peaceful life. Whether that’s genetic or conditioned, right or wrong, it’s up to you to decide what you want from yourself to make you “happy”, whatever that means (another topic important to ponder).

If you make a commitment to success, your journey will be very different than others around you. The price you must pay for success is high as well. You’ll need to work harder and sacrifice more than your peers. At the end of the day, don’t forget the drivers that took you on this difficult path because these motivators will carry you through the moments of despair and hopelessness. Whether it’s money, status, material goods, freedom, or power, remember why you decided to take the path less traveled and go forward resolutely.

I’m always looking to network with go-getters who want to create an incredible life through a career in agency recruitment. If you enjoyed my article, get¬†in touch¬†if you’re interested to enter our sales career and work hard for a successful life.

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How to Overcome Stress in Recruitment

How to Overcome Stress in Recruitment

As a female entrepreneur, headhunter, and recruitment startup founder, I empower myself, my team, our clients and our candidates, many of whom are women, to achieve the life and career they envision.

Oftentimes, I meet well-meaning people who are trying to jump on this #trending bandwagon of being a female advocate. While many I’m sure are doing something in their own way to help women achieve success, many are using this term insincerely, ignorantly, arrogantly, self-servingly, or aimlessly, with no real process, outcome, or genuine interest.

Here’s how you can empower women beyond just theory (this applies to both men and women who want to help other women):

#1. Learn about the women’s movement and what everyone’s all up in arms about.

Not sure why the wage gap exists or how it came to be (think it’s fake news)? Similar to how I’m ignorant of certain social and historical issues, I read to learn more about topics I’m not familiar with. That’s the best way to get up to speed on others’ perspectives, without disregarding others’ opinions, ignoring the issue, or acting like you already know what’s happening when you haven’t done the homework before you hit the streets.

Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to learn more about some of the contemporary professional and personal issues facing women today.

You’ll learn about the wage gap, social perspectives, data, and history from personal, professional, and evidence-backed research about a different reality women face. As a women who was relatively ignorant about gender issues, my mind was blown away by the information in Sandberg’s concise rundown of many aspects of life I didn’t even think about due to certain aspects of the privileges I was exposed to in my own blissful ignorance.

#2. Exert self-discipline in your treatment and thoughts regarding women.

Many people who claim to empower women disregard, downplay, and egotistically compete, abuse, and devalue women’s capabilities in the workplace. If you find yourself thinking sexist or mean-spirited thoughts, evaluate where that is coming from. Are you intimidated, jealous, or thinking inappropriate thoughts (sexual or otherwise) that impact your treatment of women subliminally or viscerally?

A simple but not so simple fix: STOP objectifying women for your primary business and personal needs. Women are a lot more than just the physical! It’s astounding how many businesses still choose to operate under the premise of “sex sells” as their primary marketing strategy promoting one-sided work cultures. It’s shallow, subversive, one-dimensional, arguably ineffective, discriminatory, and ultimately, goes against the whole theme of respecting women for their brains, not bodies.

There is a hypocrisy here: you aren’t empowering women when you use their bodies and youth to your commercial gain as your primary business strategy, then dump them when they move into future stages of life. Furthermore, you certainly can’t on the one hand ’empower’ women while abusing them in other ways, whether subversively or overtly.

#3. Identify moments of unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, and attributing a woman’s actions to their gender.

Only when we create self-awareness within ourselves (sometimes something very uncomfortable to acknowledge), we can move forward as improved humans and better-functioning, more positively impactful members of society.

For both men and women, next time you behave in a certain way that results in a negative interaction with a woman/women, take a step back to evaluate how warranted your behavior was towards the individual versus leveraging your ability to exert more force than necessary or required.

Ask yourself “had this person been a 6 foot ivy-league-educated white male, would I have treated them as such?”

If your answer is no, you have to fix your character flaw of abusing conventional race and gender dynamics. While you certainly can get away with it, it’s hardly the right thing to do.

#4. Consistently vocalize your stance during meetings and interactions, both in the open and behind closed doors.

Similar to points 1-3, you can’t really be a strong ally for women when you silently watch while others are victimized in any way*. If you’re uncomfortable with a situation, use your words to highlight the issue. The more power someone has, the more responsibility you naturally have to be a moral vanguard of your success and ability to influence others. Again, if one a sunny day, you’re female-friendly, but whenever the winds shift you change gears, that doesn’t make you a true advocate.

When you fight for a cause, you must live the values, walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk. I.e. You can’t be an animal activist while wearing fur.

*Unfortunately, for many people who are in junior positions witnessing sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from senior levels, your choices and ability to influence are severely limited. You can risk whistleblowing, reaching out to the media, or lawsuits, which would require you to gather evidence to support your case. Alternatively, you can choose to exit the company and find a less toxic environment.

In Conclusion

Everyone has a lot of conditioning we must work on to start dismantling the learned behaviors, habits, and mentalities we have towards ourselves, our role in society, our own relationship with our gender, and our perceived entitlement of certain actions appropriate for people “like us”.

When you allow “people like us” to do “things like this” without any fair reason or moral compass, that’s when everyone gets hurt through the process and social issues fester. If you can change something that isn’t fair or right, why wouldn’t you?

Dandan is always looking to connect top-billers, recruitment leaders, and go-getters who want to work within agency recruitment as a career. Reach contact@dgrecruit.com for more information.

In exchange, interns offer entrepreneurs something of value whether it’s social media strategy, content creation, marketing, or administrative duties. Business owners and entrepreneurs like me are ALWAYS eager to work with go-getters who want to do meaningful and impactful activities that generate value.

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How to Get an Internship

How to Get an Internship

As a headhunter for entry-level jobs to executive-level positions, I’ve seen the gamut of what works and what doesn’t to land your next career opportunity, which extends to internships. In addition to my profession, I’ve personally obtained many internships at major Fortune 500s during highschool and college

This is how you can successfully secure your next internship*:

*To hear the expanded podcast on this topic, tune into the Daily DANDAN Episode 97 here.

#1. DO NOT limit yourself.

Many interns want to work for the hottest companies. In my day, it was all the rage to chase finance jobs. The Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers of the world were the ultimate status symbols. Anywhere else was considered less impressive, thus many pegged their hopes and concentrated their efforts on too few targets, optimistically (perhaps irresponsibly) thinking that they were done with job search just by sending off a few job applications.

In the modern era, the peer pressure and self-esteem issues have only worsened due to the negative effects of social media. More than ever, people are pressured to chase the few big brand names that everyone agrees is prestigious. However, the reality is that those companies don’t have enough jobs to go around. Therefore, most job-seekers who didn’t get their dream role, would have been better off increasing their employer parameters instead of self-eliminating from opportunities that could be as good, if not better.

Whatever the case: When you narrow your sights on too few internship targets, you will massively reduce the odds of you landing an internship AT ALL.

#2. Instead, focus on volume.

Leverage all the resources you have to increase your potential internship employer pool. Use my strategy of market mapping and volume reachouts to hiring managers, as I describe here. As I describe in #4 below, maximize the value of your school-sponsored hiring events.

Create a system of which you are leading the charge on finding YOU what you want. You should have daily and weekly activities such as LinkedIn messages sent, companies added to your excel sheet, managers mapped out for future reachout, etc.. In addition, use the right marketing materials (obtain a free resume guide here) and LinkedIn profile for yourself.

#3. Approach a mix of businesses.

In addition to major Fortune 500s that you can find through your career fairs, you can also find job opportunities through market mapping with local or national startups that allow remote work. For instance, startups like my company often hires highschool and college interns who want advice, training, and career support.

In exchange, interns offer entrepreneurs something of value whether it’s social media strategy, content creation, marketing, or administrative duties. Business owners and entrepreneurs like me are ALWAYS eager to work with go-getters who want to do meaningful and impactful activities that generate value.

#4. Network like CRAZY at your college/graduate school sponsored events.

As an exhibitor, it’s shocking to see how few people actually take advantage of these college events. After it’s over, 99% of people I meet do NOT follow up. For attendees, whether you are interested or not, unless you already have a job lined up, why would you NOT connect with potential employers?

Back to point #1, what is the strategic advantage of being discriminatory or exclusionary when you have NO JOB?

Since there are none, you should be grabbing EVERY. SINGLE. EXHIBITOR’S business card to utilize later as a follow-up. In the worst case, you can consider these opportunities to be your backup. This is to make sure you didn’t waste your time showing up to these career fairs in the first place! Get offers – you can reject them later. That’s much better than having no offers at all.

DG Tip: EVEN IF you didn’t actually speak to the exhibitor due to timing constraints or fear, you should GRAB their business card anyways and follow-up to let them know of your interest to move forward to an interview.

#5. Lastly, take the lead on all job search activities.

Too often, candidates (especially younger ones) feel constrained as to the appropriate behavior they should exhibit while seeking a job. They create rules that don’t exist, such as “wait to hear back”. In today’s world, a passive mentality like that will not suffice and is NOT to be depended on.

It is ON you as the job seeker to obtain the job, NOT ON the company to hire you, therefore YOU need to be proactive.

YOU must reach out to actual human beings in the process and STOP relying on job portal submissions. YOU need to follow up and reach out to hiring entities, whether that’s the internal recruiter, HR person, or the actual hiring manager. YOU have to. Because the competition is too fierce NOT to.

In Conclusion

For the most part, everyone has, at some point, become frustrated by and disillusioned with the job search process largely caused by a lack of understanding of how it actually works in the real world.

There is no “right” approach other than a proactive approach. None of my internships ended up being what I did for a living, yet all of it contributed to me learning what I didn’t want, thus revealing what I did want. Ultimately, ALL of my job experiences contributed to my eventual selection of becoming a headhunter as my main profession.

No matter how your internship-obtaining efforts go, get a job no matter what. ALWAYS BE employed. Even if it’s not with a fancy company your friends are jealous of or what parents would be proud of. Not only is it good for you financially, it also helps you understand how human capital is created and valued.

Your internship should be about YOU accumulating skills that will help YOUR future, not anyone else’s.

As the founder of Dandan Global and DG Recruit, Dandan Zhu is a headhunter, career coach, and global speaker on topics related to headhunting, recruitment, careers, and job search.

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