Interview with the Headhunter

By Kevin Donlin

Recently I spoke with employment expert Nick Corcodilos, an experienced recruiter and author of the weekly, Ask The Headhunter Newsletter.

If you ever wanted to sit down and pick a headhunter's brain (pardon that visual), this interview will give you 3 "insider" tips to help you find a new job faster.

Kevin: A lot of folks are struggling in this job market. What's your advice to help them cut through the clutter and get hired quicker?

Nick: The harder it is to find work, the harder and smarter you have to search.

I suggest finding one or two professional associations online with discussion forums. You can locate them at or

Look for managers and successful members who will take time to get to know you. Share your knowledge with them and establish your credibility. Why? These people are insiders who can make personal referrals, which will help you uncover job openings before anybody else.

Even better -- build these kinds of work-oriented relationships in person. Any city of any size in America has at least one group meeting regularly where you can network with others in your field. Go there. Meet them.

Kevin: I couldn't agree more. Smart networking, while it doesn't produce miracles overnight, will produce job leads.

I tell people to keep this math puzzle in mind as they network -- if one lily plant divides into two, four, etc., and covers a pond completely in 30 days, on what day is the pond 50% covered? Answer: the 29th day.

Networking is the same way. You could go days or weeks without any visible results and then -- BAM. Interviews appear "overnight."

Nick: Exactly.

Kevin: Next question. What can job seekers do to negotiate the highest possible salary package?

Nick: The economy is still lousy. Companies have less money to spend on new hires and salaries, so you may have to reconcile yourself to that. But there are two things that will help you negotiate the best package.

#1 Never reveal your salary history, even if HR managers ask you directly.

(A good tactic is to say that your prior compensation is company-confidential and can't be divulged.) Not discussing your past salary is important. Because, once employers know how much you've made, they know how much to offer, which may be lower than what you're worth. You're better off if they have to figure out your value by talking to you. Then you can influence the offer upwards.

#2 Be ready to discuss what you want in terms that benefit the employer.

Find two or three things that are broken at this company -- things they are hiring you to fix. Write a concise plan to show how you'll "make repairs," and include estimates of the savings or new revenue that will result. Hang your desired salary on that, and you will have a good basis for negotiations.

Any time you can show employers that your new salary will be just 10% or 35% of the bottom-line savings or top-line profits you will deliver, you are in a great position to negotiate.

Kevin: Final question. What if employers haven't called after the interview? What can candidates do to boost their chances of getting a call-back and a job offer?

Nick: My advice is to not let someone else control your agenda. The single best way to deal with "the wait" is to develop other opportunities at other companies. I know most people won't want to hear this, but trust me -- most interviews end without job offers, and yours may be one of them.

Once you've interviewed and demonstrated your ability to employers, the rest is up to them. It may seem like an eternity before you hear anything because most companies are flat-out inept at hiring.

And contrary to what many career books suggest, there is almost nothing you can do to get a company off the dime. So, get working on two or three other targets (jobs, or maybe your own business ideas), and you will be more in control of your life.

-- Kevin Donlin is the author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed,".

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