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Headhunters help job-seekers stand out in crowed market

June 23, 2002 Denver Post – by Joyce Lain Kennedy – Headhunters can be a good bet for many job-hunters, especially in this economy.  The employment stage is better set for you when a recruiter brings you into a company because you wear the halo of qualification. A professional’s judgment has endorsed your ability to do the job.

   Moreover, executive recruiters often hold the keys to better jobs that never see the light of print to online publication, says Dallas-based retained executive search consultant Robert T. Pike, senior vice president of the Tuttle Venture Group.

    Pike suggests I tell you the basics to better understand how each type of headhunter can help you add luster to you career.

    There are two types of search firms – retainer and contingency.

    Both types charge employer – not you – a fee, which ranges between 20 percent and 35 percent of the job’s first-year compensation.

    Differences –

Retained firms are hired by clients for assignments and are paid no matter the out-come of the searches.

Contingency firms are paid only when their candidates are hired.

  Although not universally true, contingency search firms are most often used for junior and midlevel managers.  Retained firms typically hire on to fill high-level positions.

    Contingency firms are placement-oriented, focusing chiefly on job-seekers who are actively hunting for new employment.

    Retained firms traditionally go after potential candidates who are not in the active job market (the jargon is “passive” candidates).

    Seeking pay for performance, contingency firms may be more proactive in finding a new position for you while retained firms’ ears will pick up only if the have a search for your type of job and see you as a prime prospect.

    Superior talent stays in the databases of both types of recruiters.

    Retained firms ordinarily present tow to four candidates to the client, being highly selective in who make the short-list.

    Contingency firms usually don’t have exclusive agreements with clients, and you can assume you’ll be among a larger group of prospects presented.

    In targeting recruiters, zero in on those who fill jobs in your industry, function and salary range, no matter where they are.  Although some recruiting firms tend to work regionally, a firm in Denver may have assignments in Chicago


The Internet Revolution: How Web-based Applicant Tracking Systems can Change the Way You Do Business

April 6, 2001 - Donald E. Breckenridge as seen in Employment Marketplace - No industry feels the impact of the Internet more than the staffing industry. The Internet has provided the infrastructure for greater connectivity between companies, recruiters and candidates, and has sped the process of sourcing candidates, communicating with client companies and making placements.

With this increased efficiency and accessibility to candidates and hiring managers, the barriers to entry into the marketplace have diminished, therefore increasing the number of recruiting competitors. Furthmore, job boards and other sourcing tools have developed bringing candidates and companies in direct contact, completely bypassing the recruiter.

Combined, these factors have put tremendous pressure on recruiters to increase the speed at which they source and present candidates for open job orders and to ensure the quality of those matches.

A solution to these problems can be found in a new class of software that is creating a revolution, not only in the staffing industry, but also in industries across the board. The new class, known as web-based applications, provides benefits far beyond greater accessibility to an application and its data. Web-based applications can change your business model and the way you communicate with your customers, candidates and other recruiters.

What exactly are ASPs and web-based applications?

ASP stands for Application Service Provider, a third party entity that manages and distributes software through the Internet. Quite often, the applications they host are web-based and users access the application and data (which resides at a data center) through an Internet browser. The application and related services are packaged and rented for an affordable monthly price, rather than a large, up-front cash outlay. In addition, web-based applications for the recruiting industry…

bulletRequire no software installation or special hardware
bulletAre accessible at any time from any Internet-enabled computer
bulletAre capable of offering full integration with the user’s web site
bulletProvide the means to offer integrated third-party resources to the user
bulletCan offer effective collaboration between recruiting firms
bulletAre flexible and easily upgradeable

Let’s look at each of these benefits in further detail.


While client server-based applications are highly functional, their high up-front costs, ongoing maintenance fees and expensive hardware make them unaffordable to many smaller agencies. Web-based applications are less expensive because the ASPs provide the service of housing, deploying and maintaining the software. And because the application runs inside an Internet browser, there is no CD installation, there are no special hardware requirements, no maintenance and no significant up-front costs.

The basic pricing model for an ASP application, which is typically the monthly “rental” fee, simplifies cash flow management. Thus, smaller firms can afford big-ticket applications that would be too costly to buy outright and implement. And ASP clients don’t need to worry about operating system, database or application user-license fees and compliance because the ASP bundles all these fees within the single monthly fee.


Quite often, recruiters contact candidates from their home or while on the road and need to update their applicant tracking system from these off-site locations. Because web-based applications reside on the Internet, their applications are accessible at any time from any Internet-enabled computer. This also means that all of your recruiters can access the same data at the same time from multiple locations.

Web Site Integration

Some of the more sophisticated web-based applicant tracking systems will integrate your web site with their database, allowing hiring managers and candidates to access and update information right on your site. Candidates can enter their résumé, keep it updated, upload attachments such as portfolios and take authorized assessment tests. They can view where you've sent their résumé, what interviews they have and any tips you might provide. Hiring managers can enter and update job orders, view résumés you've sent and manage their interview schedule. Visitors can search and browse job orders posted to your web site helping you attract new candidates.

Third-Party Resources

Web-based applications provide the means to offer continuing services to the end-user. Users can purchase services such as assessment tests, global job posting, and a host of other services directly through the application. With the click of your mouse, you can select skills tests for a candidate or request a background check. And a few of the higher-end systems will import the results directly into the system so you don’t have to enter any data by hand.


One way to increase your number of placements is to develop “split-fee” arrangements with other recruiting firms. As technology evolves, applicant tracking systems must incorporate a mechanism through which recruiters can easily collaborate in order to increase their split fee arrangements.

Currently there are varying degrees of collaboration among web-based applications. Some systems allow for posting open job orders to an external recruiter-to-recruiter exchange, while others are even more advanced., for instance, provides sophisticated search mechanisms within the application to automatically match job orders to candidates across staffing firms based on certain criteria, such as skills, salary requirements, location, education, etc. Once matched, the application walks both recruiters thrugh the placement process as if they are in the same staffing firm. This technology further streamlines the collaboration process and enables recruiters to find qualified matches faster than ever.


Electronic recruiting methods and technology change monthly. With traditional client-server systems, users must wait for the next upgrade to become available. However, with an ASP, the latest versions of the applications are available to all users without the need for costly site-by-site in-house upgrades. As enhancements are made to the application, they are immediately available to the users. Furthermore, because you don’t have a major installation process, you can be up and running very quickly.

Are web-based systems for everybody?

The objective of an ASP is to have a multitude of clients using the same application, not to manage dozens of different customized versions. Therefore, an ASP may not make sense for large companies that need to have a packaged application extensively modified for their specific needs.

But for the most part, if you’re thinking about upgrading your current applicant tracking system, it would pay to consider outsourcing via an ASP as an alternative to an in-house implementation. When doing so, it’s important to do your research to make sure the system is right for you (see 10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Web-Based Applicant Tracking System).

While a web-based application won’t immediately increase your revenue, it can streamline your day-to-day activities for a manageable cost, enabling you to concentrate on the larger goal of making placements.


1.       Other than a web browser, what hardware/software, if any, is required at your company’s site?

2.       Does the ASP offer a secure connection?

3.       Does the ASP provide implementation and training services? If not, who does?

4.       What happens if the Internet connection goes down? Is the application down?

5.       What components of the placement process does the application track?

6.       Does the system offer an integrated recruiter-to-recruiter exchange?

7.       Does the application offer a standardized skills inventory to match job orders with candidates across staffing firms?

8.       What third-party resources are accessible through the application?

9.       Does the application provide complete management reports?

10.   How easily is data, such as résumés, entered into the application?



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Last modified: 07/08/05