Speaking with Headhunters?

I received a message from a headhunter today, and spoke with him to get an idea about what’s out there. I’ve been with my firm for over four years, and while I enjoy working here, I wouldn’t be opposed to switching if the situation was right. With that said, I have a question regarding what sorts of information I can divulge to recruiters. His boss reviewed my resume and wanted to know, specifically, which clients I have worked with. I have worked on various ABS deals with many underwriters and issuers, CDO/CLOs with various asset managers and trustees, Sarbanes Oxley engagements, and business process review. But, it doesn’t seem right to tell him which specific clients I have worked with. Anybody have any ideas as to what information is acceptable to release, and what isn’t? The last thing I want to do is put my company (or myself, for that matter, at a risk or disadvantage). Thanks!

My 2c. I wouldn’t provide him with those details, especially given where you are in the interview process.

I agree with hobbes. Why does it matter what clients you’ve worked with? If that’s not public information, I don’t think you need to disclose it. You can tell him you’re happy to describe to him the overall nature of the transaction or project, but you don’t want to mention any names. If they can’t respect this, you should ditch them. BTW what’s the name of the HH firm anyway? Just wondering if I’ve heard of them. If you don’t feel like telling me, you should ask some other people that work in your field…if nobody’s heard of them, chances are they’re nobodies!!!

Thanks, guys. I’ll give him descriptions of the work performed and what the client’s industry (i.e., large energy company, top-tier bank, etc.). Thanks again

Are headhunter and employment agency mutually exclusive terms? Let us know how it goes. I’ve been getting massive cold calls from these employment/staffing agencies that I have never heard of. Today I am meeting with one. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you informed.

I don’t see the big deal in telling him. He wants to know if your clients were in the same caliber as Goldman or John’s ABS Mortgage Co. Saying, “my clients are X, Y, Z” doesn’t really make a difference to the client and you aren’t violating any privacy issues.

My firm is fairly guarded about all info relating to clients. If they are really curious about the caliber of clients with whom you’ve worked, you can give a general description. But it’s hardly their business to know the clients’ names.

I agree with cfa2grunt. There is no reason you need to give out specific client names. Giving the headhunter specific client names probably provides you with a very small risk/reward ratio. If they want to know the size of your clients, a general range would definitely be appropriate.