At every career stage, the words you need to hear when you want a new challenge are YOU'RE HIRED!


It may not be Donald Trump speaking those fateful words, but odds are soaring that you - the very person reading this now, whether you're a newly minted MBA or a businessperson on the move -will be hearing them soon.

What makes this moment so special is that for roughly four years, those two words just weren't said very often. Companies weren't recruiting, headhunters were hibernating, and your phone wasn't ringing. Listen up now, however: The bells may soon be tolling for thee.

"There's been a sharp turnaround in hiring activity," reports Tony Lee, publisher of the Wall Street Journal's CareerJournal.com. "This is the best since the 1990s."

So don't be surprised if, soon, you're part of a dance that begins like this: "Are you interested in exploring possibilities at XYZ company?" The speaker will be an executive recruiter - aka a headhunter. And therein lies the challenge: What do you say to that recruiter on the other end of the telephone line? How much do you dare ask for? How outlandish can your requests for perks be? The temptations may be luscious, but do you know the next step in this delicate courtship?

Likely not, partly because of inactivity and partly because the rules are changing. The good news is, we have 10 things you should know to maximize your recruiting success. So, when the headhunter calls, breathe deeply,­ ask for your dreams, and ask again. The answer just may be a glorious yes.

1 Privacy, Please
The Internet is a double-edged sword for job seekers, according to recruiters. On the one edge, the web makes it easy to investigate companies, even midsize and private ones. Company job boards are becoming better places to look for jobs; most large companies now maintain fairly comprehensive job listings.

The other edge? The Internet also makes it easier for current employers to stumble onto an employee's job search. Unless, that is, the employee uses the privacy protections built into job sites such as Monster.com.

The job seeker should also be careful when dealing with headhunters. "Some [headhunters] will sling résumés all over the Internet," says Silicon Valley recruiter Jolie Downs. So, every recruiter's call should be fielded with guarded enthusiasm. Carefully vet all recruiters before giving away too much information, and set ground rules about where your info can go. Require the recruiter to get permission from you before sharing your information further.

This may sound harsh, but savvy recruiters know that good employees want to protect their rear flanks.