What (or who) would provide commercial services to help a job-seeker find a job? That means, is there some kind of inverted headhunter who helps potential employees find companies (and not companies find employees)? Someone who tries to find the best job for an unemployed person? (and not the best employee for a vacancy).

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    Do you wish to find an agency that works for you, for a fee? If so, many "answers" below don't properly address that requirement.
    – Martin F
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:17

6 Answers 6


They're called career counselors or placement officers and their organization is called an employment placement service or an outplacement service. As the last name suggests, however, they are almost always found within, and funded by, larger organizations for the purpose of helping current employees or students who are leaving said organization.


They are called Headhunters.

Yes, they do find the best person for the job, but they also find the best job for the person.

At least the good ones do.

(Where do you think does the headhunter get the persons from?)

If you tell the headhunter which job you want he'll be able to help you to get there. It might take a few years and a few steps, depending on you current position and your target, but if you know what you want it's possible.

  • 3
    So, an inverted headhunter is called a ... headhunter?
    – Martin F
    Jan 3, 2014 at 18:14

Some job agencies work like that. You have to talk to them to figure that out, though.

I know a few and the common denominator in my experience is, that they try to get to know you personally over a few meetings, develop a detailed skill profile and have at least some knowledge of your field of profession in their team as well (which helps find better, more interesting opportunities).

Good criteria to look for:

  • they take their fees from eventual employers, much like head hunters (so it's free for you)
  • they are more than willing to step away from flaky employers or those that treat employees less than optimal
  • they're regularly in touch with you
  • their portfolio of employers to work with is interesting to you

If you need a recommendation for a job agency for germany that works like this, let me know.

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    When I was doing contract work, I maintained casual relationships with several agencies. If nothing else it was an occasional free lunch. At best, one time my agency gave me two tickets to an NFL game. Jan 9, 2014 at 22:21

If someone has a disability there may be various non-profit institutions that could help job-seekers find a job. There are a couple of organizations I know here in Canada that do this kind of work which would fall under what you are asking. Note that the disability may be a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety as well as various physical limitations that a person may have.

Alternatively, there may be services provided by colleges and universities to help job seekers find employment as well as provide resume writing advice and mock interviews.


I don't know of any particular service that gets paid as a result of a candidate finding a job and yet works exclusively for the candidate - every deal with a recruitment related person involves the opportunity provider paying the recruiter, and no obligation on the candidate's part to guarantee a payoff. My thought would be that it'd be hard to carve out a living on a per-job-placement basis.

Looking from another perspective, however, there is Career Counseling. Here's one example, although this isn't an endorsement, per se, I've never used one. They provide pre-job-placement services to help a candidate find a better job and to make a candidate's job search more efficient, but they don't absorb the work of doing the actual search. As far as I know, they are also paid for their consultation time, and not trading off work against the potential for making a successful placement.


As others have said, some headhunters will work with you to help you find a good position. Unfortunately, my experience is that they are more concerned with filling positions than whether the person filling the position will be happy in it.

There are companies which will help a job seeker find a job and are paid for by the job seeker. I have no personal experience with them and they seem rarer than a headhunter paid for by the organization trying to fill a position. Unfortunately, they generally don't seem to have a good reputation. One problem I've heard of is that they take a pretty large share of your first year's salary. Another is that they don't usually have the connections to really help job seekers find good positions. However, there may be some good ones out there.

At least in the U.S., many colleges & universities have offices which assist with job placement. While their main focus is usually those who are about to graduate or those who have recently graduated, some will help with alumni, at least for a while - I think my college assisted for up to 5 years after graduation.

Some municipalities also have people who help job seekers find jobs. Check your local government's web site for services such as this.

For any of these, you probably need to establish a good relationship with whomever you are working with. They will be more likely to help you if you can make clear what you want. Furthermore, if you have a more personal relationship with them, they are more likely to want to work to help you.

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