Attracted by high employment rates and super successful companies, many job seekers are setting their career sights on the Washington, D.C., area. The influx of potential candidates makes landing the perfect job a competitive sport leading some to double their search efforts by partnering with a headhunter.

“Why be the only person working to find you work?” suggests David Gaines, a headhunter for Manpower in Washington, D.C. “With a headhunter you have a professional with access, inside knowledge and a trained tenacity at finding jobs. As good as you are at what you do, this is what headhunters do best.”

In most cases, headhunters are hired by companies who need assistance filling vacancies for everything from top-level management positions to mid-level management and temporary staffing. Head-hunters can seek out qualified candidates who may be currently employed elsewhere and/or take on job seekers who want some help in their search.

“Before working with a headhunter, be sure to understand what the headhunter’s industry or field is,” says Gaines. “And what types of positions the headhunter specializes in. It has to be a good fit.”

In his book, “How to Work with Headhunters,” author Nick Corcodilos looks to debunk myths regarding headhunters saying “headhunters don’t find jobs for people. They are paid to go out and find what their client needs. Those people aren’t looking for jobs. Getting (headhunters’) attention requires a lot of effort.”

Reputable headhunters do not seek compensation from the job seeker. They get paid by the company when a successful match is made.

“A good headhunter can change your life profoundly for the better,” Corcodilos writes. “A good headhunter pursues specific people who are exactly right for the job. If the headhunter has done his homework, he has targeted you for good reasons.”

Andrew Cheney found his current position as vice president of business development with World Technical Services, Inc., in Maryland with help from the Washington-based search firm ESGI.

“With any job search, but particularly at more senior levels, it can be a challenge both gaining initial exposure, and following through all the way to an employment offer,” says Cheney. “They (ESGI) helped me identify and successfully engage with employers. The employer’s process, needs, and timing can present major roadblocks, and sometimes the only way through that challenge is through the help of an intermediary.” Consider recruiters as a vital component of your network. “They know a lot of people,” he adds.

This special advertising section was written by Jennifer Leeper, a freelance writer, in conjunction with The Washington Post Custom Content Department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.