Are You a Hunter or a Farmer?

There are two types of job seekers. In a market that relies on survival of the fittest, one is more likely to outlast the other. Which type are you?


In sales, talent is often labeled as coming in two varieties: hunters and farmers.

Hunters are known for:

  • pursuing new business
  • seeking out leads
  • being aggressive finding potential new customers
  • breaking new accounts
  • expanding existing footprints
  • thwarting defections
  • keeping clients loyal
  • generating additional revenues
  • producing new profits

In short, they go after wins. On the other hand, farmers usually:

  • maintain the status quo
  • are content to harvest existing customer business
  • are often in maintenance mode

One role may be a better fit depending on the market conditions. However, today’s highly competitive job market demands that candidates adopt the hunter approach.

Those who create positions for themselves are labeled “opportunists.” The opposite are “applicants.” There are too many other qualified individuals wooing employers for the standard “applicants” to win.

The farmers are often left waiting in the dust while their proactive, persistent hunter competitors land new jobs. Farmers don’t do anything “wrong” or “bad,” but neither do they do anything innovative. Farming only works if business is already in hand and the competition is asleep at the wheel. Yet this is not the case with the current market. Positions are not abundant; it takes some hunting to scope out potential openings.

A buyer’s market

Employers today do not have to pursue candidates; they are in the driver’s seat. That means candidates have to jump start the sales process.

Today, all job seekers are in sales. They are marketing themselves to employers who have lots of choices. With stiff competition for openings, candidates cannot get a job just because they are talented. To get a foot in the door, job seekers need to assert themselves and appeal to employers’ interests. Insist that a new job could be created just to meet a specific challenge.

These hunters don’t wait for a recruiter to track them down; they pursue what they want. You won’t see them submiting an application and waiting for an interview appointment. More likely, they’ll connect with the hiring decision-maker and position themselves as the preferred solution.

Are you going to be a hunter/shopper/opportunist and land a new exciting career challenge as quickly as possible? Choose to network purposefully and connect with insiders who know about potential openings before they are advertised. Show employers that you are a hunter who will deliver for them.