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Does Headhunting Provide Shortcut to New Job?

Posted May. 16, 2008 08:57,   


# Case 1

Kim is in charge of developing financial vehicles in a well-known asset management firm. A headhunter asked the 31-year-old assistant manager to have an interview at another firm, saying “You can earn more money if you move to another firm.” So he did.

Before signing the employment contract at the new company, Kim found that the employer planned to hire him as a rank-and-file worker, unlike the explanation of the headhunter.

When Kim complained, the headhunter just said, “Sorry for not fully explaining in advance,” and cut off the connection.

Kim got furious, saying, “It would have been a big mistake if I had sent in the letter of resignation. The headhunter deceived me to get a commission.”

# Case 2

Lee, a 33-year-old game developer, met a headhunter to move to a larger firm.

After reading Lee’s resume, the headhunter assured him, saying, “I can help you to get much more income.”

Pinning his hope upon the headhunter’s sleeves, Lee resigned. But, he has yet to land a new job for three months. Lee later found that the headhunter had sent his resumes to dozens of firms in the game industry and Lee has been branded as a person who should be avoided.

○ Growing number of headhunters in finance and IT sectors

Increasingly more people, especially employees in the finance and IT sectors, are suffering from misleading information of headhunters in locating a new workplace. Headhunters are growingly focusing on finance and IT sector workers because of rising demand for job transfers in those sectors.

As the Financial Services Act comes into effect next year, the nation’s securities industry is expected to add 4,000 more jobs this year. Similarly, the Financial Services Commission predicted that 11,000 more jobs will be created next year in the industry.

Surging demand for workers has encouraged headhunters to connect firms, which hope to reduce retraining costs, and experienced workers.

It is estimated that around 400 headhunting firms including global firms are running their businesses in Korea. The headhunting market is approximately worth 400 billion won.

A headhunter is given commissions amounting to 20 percent of the annual salary of the newly hired. Some headhunters distort information for the commission.

Some headhunters even deceive jobseekers by including a signing bonus (a sum of money paid to a new employee by a company as an incentive for joining the firm, which is usually paid after two or three years of employment) in the compensation package. Usually, a signing bonus is not included in the amount of annual salary since it is given to a new employee only when he or she fulfill the terms of payment.

Some headhunters even notify jobseekers that they are successfully recruited before the recruitment process ends.

○ Get help from acquaintances and meet headhunters

A jobseeker can suffer disadvantage at the current company if he or she is found to have decided to move to a new firm. Also, it is not easy to quarrel with the potential new employer about salary.

That explains why jobseekers mostly depend on headhunters.

Experts say that jobseekers should be able to tell trustworthy headhunting firms from untrustworthy ones and avoid solely depending on headhunters to make a decision.

Kim Cheol-seop of Careercare, a large headhunting firm, said, “Jobseekers should try to understand the working environment of a new firm by seeking advice from acquaintances.”

Kim Su-mi of NTerway said, “Lots of jobseekers send their resumes to headhunters via e-mail without personally meeting them,” and advised against it.

Bestall’s Park Yeong-gi, in charge of game business, stressed, “Jobseekers should not unconditionally trust the headhunters if they promise much better treatment than expected.”