Given all the volatility in today’s job market, sooner or later you may find it necessary to work with a headhunter to find employment. Headhunters have some advantages that the ordinary job seeker doesn’t, such as knowledge about specific job openings and other inside information that is never advertised. They can also search for jobs more efficiently and draw on their pool of contacts to help match you up with the most suitable employers. However, before deciding to work with a headhunter, it is important to have a full understanding of how they work and what inside information they may or may not let you in on.

Here are a few thing you might not know about headhunters:

1. Your headhunter used to sell Insurance

All headhunters come from some other employment background. Headhunting isn’t something you study in college. It is a set of skills that is learned on the job. There is nothing wrong with that. It just means that a headhunter may not be very knowledgeable about your specific profession. He or she may be able to search for mining jobs for you, but they may not know much about the industry itself or what it takes to be successful in your chosen profession.

2. Headhunters don’t tend to spend a lot of time reviewing your cover letter and resume.

Headhunters are very busy and don’t tend to spend a lot of time thoroughly analyzing your cover letter and resume to find the perfect job for you. Their goal is to fill the job openings they have from employers. Most likely they will quickly glance at your documents before making a decision on whether or not you are a good fit for one of their openings. One way to make sure your most important information is seen by recruiters is to have an executive summary at the top of your resume where you highlight your most important skills and qualifications.

3. A headhunter probably won’t tell you if you aren’t presentable to send out to clients.

Your speech, dress and the way you carry yourself can all effect a headhunter’s decision on whether or not to refer you for a position. Headhunters need to make a positive impression with their clients and don’t want to send anyone out for an interview that isn’t presentable. However, a headhunter may not tell you that you were not chosen because you dress inappropriately or they don’t think you exude enough confidence. The key here is to remember that you need to take an interview with a headhunter as seriously as you do a real job interview. First impressions count, so be sure to dress and act in a professional manner.

4. Your headhunter may not tell you or even know whether you have what it takes to be competitive in the current marketplace of your chosen profession.

It is vitally important to keep your professional skills up-to-date in today’s competitive job market. Your headhunter may not be completely familiar with your specific profession to know whether you meet today’s current standards. It is up to you to keep your skills updated through continuing education and other means to give yourself the best chance to compete for today’s jobs.

5. A headhunter may not share with you the true odds of them helping you land a job.

Headhunters don’t find everyone a job. For any specific job, a headhunter may speak with ten candidates. Out of those candidates they may send out three or four for a job interview with a client for a specific job opening. Only one of those individuals will be hired. For generic interviews, headhunters may talk to ten people and only end up finding jobs for one or two of those clients. These are the realistic odds you are facing. A headhunter may or may not share this with you.

6. Your headhunter may not tell you the reasons why you weren’t hired for the job.

You may never get feedback from a headhunter about why you were not hired for a job you interviewed for. In order to get constructive feedback, you may need to consult with former employers, co-workers or headhunters who you are no longer associated with.

7. A headhunter may send you out on a job interview just to fill their “short list.”

Clients often want to be presented with a short list of qualified candidates for their employment positions. If a headhunter only has two out of three candidates they need, they may fill out their short list with someone who isn’t really qualified for the job. It is your responsibility to do your due diligence and watch out for jobs that sound to good to be true.