Apr 18

Why the headhunter won’t work with you

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a headhunter in order to get a job.  Unless you already know someone in the company you’re applying with, as much as they like to tell you otherwise, monster.com isn’t going to get you the job.  You have to get a headhunter, more on that here.

I spoke to a friend of mine, Eddie, that works as a headhunter for Lucas Group.  I’m not getting paid to say this, I just honestly believe they are the best firm out there. If you’re talking to someone else, I recommend you give Lucas Group a call, they’ll work with Officers and NCO’s alike, but there are some people they won’t work with.  So here’s an hour long conversation about a candidate they won’t work with given to you in 700 words…

“You must have the right attitude”

I’ve said this before, and I discuss it in great detail in the book, but you are starting a new career and you need to realize that.  Look, I don’t care if you were a Brigade Commander in the military, you don’t know anything about my business.  If you think that you’re better than my team because you wore a uniform, then you don’t belong on my team.

You need to come out of the military with some humility.  You can be proud of what you did, and you should be, but if that pride makes you look down on others that didn’t, then you’re going to have a tough time and i’m not going to hire you.  Tell me instead that you don’t have a problem starting at the bottom.  Say, “It’s an opportunity to learn about the business and I’m confident my skills will get me promoted quickly.”  Bam!  That’s what I want on my team!


The right combination of “shuns”

“You have to have the right combination of the 3 ‘shuns’: Location, compensation, occupation.  If you tell me ‘I want to be a program manager in west chicago and make $120k a year,’ I’m going to say ‘good luck.'”  

You need to have realistic expectations of what kind of job you can find when you get out.  There was a boot shop in Fort Bragg that had a sign that read, “we do 3 types of work: Good, fast, and cheap.  Pick any two.”  That saying is very similar to what you need to consider in your job hunt.


“I can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard, ‘I need to stay in Dallas, my girlfriend is from there.’ Then I have to take my recruiter hat off and put on my life coach hat…”

Location is the 3rd question of the big 4 questions, go read more about that here.  Although there are occasionally good reasons to limit yourself geographically like a special needs child or a sick family member, generally you should consider a wider net.


“I had a guy tell me, ‘well with BAH, Flight Pay, and Jump Pay i’m making about $130k a year, so I expect to make something commensurate to that.’ With a history degree? There’s no way.”

You need to be realistic about what you’re going to make.  That’s one of the reasons why finances are the 1st of the big 4 questions. You are going to take a pay cut, just wrap your mind around that.  Plan to live off your base pay and understand what that means to your budget.  This way, if you get a job higher than your base pay, you’ll have extra spending money.  Don’t worry, I have the utmost confidence that if you want it, you’ll be able to get promoted quickly above and beyond your peers. More on finances here and here.


“I have guys tell me that they only want to do program manager jobs.  Dude, you don’t even know what’s out there and what you’re qualified for.”

The 4th big question is to understand what you want to do, and i’ve explicitly said “lead people” is an acceptable answer.  It is important for you to want to do something that you find interesting, but you should keep your mind open to possibilities that you might not have considered.

“If the alarm goes off in the morning and your feet don’t immediately hit the floor, you have a job not a career and there’s very little compensation or location that is going to make up for you being miserable 40, 50, or 60 hours a week.”

So basically if you’ve read the book or follow the blog, chances are you’re going to get a headhunter to work with you because you’re not going to make those mistakes right?  I’ll close with one final quote:

“The biggest obstacle in these guys’ career is themselves.”


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