For the uninitiated, headhunters are ‘recruiting firms’ which get a finders fee for successfully placing an applicant with an employer. Sometimes they have a contracts with companies so that there are exclusive listings, most often these firms just trawl the job boards and repost job listings with contact information and names removed and then effectively attempt to extort money from the company by showing them your scrubbed resume with no contact info and offering to make an introduction for a fee. You may notice most actual applications you fill out say “no recruiters” on it somewhere which should give you an idea as to how these companies are viewed by employers.

My advice to you is don’t bother applying to any posting from a search firm. In fact, some tell new attorneys specifically to piss off (BCG is such a class act they point new attorneys to well known scam sites like LawCrossing, Thanks guys!) Another class act I see often is DiCenzo, several attorneys I know have wonderful stories of being sworn at over the phone by them. Most people I know make the mistake of filling out applications for recruiters in the beginning, but you figure out pretty quick that they will absolutely never ever pan out. Ever. Not really the best business plan for longevity of a company since young attorneys of today will remember their experience applying and in the future when the time comes to hire anyone they will tell any recruiter who shows up to go take a flying fuck.

So why aren’t recruiters worth applying to? Pretty simple. The employees in search firm are not legally trained and operate under extremely rigid thinking. So the company looking to hire someone provides pie-in-the-sky requirements of what the ‘perfect’ employee would look like. Rather than using some intelligence when looking over applications, it becomes necessary to have an applicant meet or exceed everything on the list the recruiter is provided. The obvious problem arises when your resume says “extensive experience in chain of title, oil and gas lease, closings.” The recruiter looks over at “real estate experience” on their list… nope… no match. Rejected.

How about an actual example. A real listing I ran across was looking for “recent law school graduates with 3 years experience.” or  this one “This is an entry level position responsible for advising the company concerning simple to moderately complex legal issues related to business activities…. Requires 3+ years experience or equivalent combination of education and competency.” What the hell? This is translated as “I want to hire someone experienced but pay them as if they aren’t.” What this turns into in the hands of a recruiter is a job which will never be filled, at least not by the so called entry level applicant.

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