Recruiterly Resources

How Do Headhunters Work?

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on reddit
How Do Headhunters Work? - Recruiting 101 Series on

When you need to hire the best of the best and you don’t have the time to find them – it’s time to call in the pros. Or, as you may know them, headhunters. In this article we discuss ‘How do headhunters work?’.

What Is a Headhunter? How Do Headhunters Work?

Even though the word sounds ominous, headhunters are every employers’ dream.

A headhunter is a recruiter who approaches suitable candidates that are already employed somewhere else and hires them for your company.

For example, you may hire an administrative assistant through a regular recruitment process, or a full cycle process.

However, if you need to hire a CEO or fill a different responsible role, you probably won’t post a job ad to Craigslist.

You want people you can rely on.

People with proven track record.

And headhunters are the recruiters who can reach and wow them.

What Is the Difference between Headhunters and Recruiters?

The main difference between headhunters and recruiters is that headhunters are usually hired on a per-contract basis by the companies that want to hire.

Recruiters, on the other hand, are employed by recruitment agencies.

Additionally, headhunters usually specialize in a certain industry.

This is what allows them to connect with more prospects and be able to reach the top talent that a company wants to hire.

How Headhunters Conduct Executive Searches

Since headhunters are usually hired to find suitable candidates for senior-level and executive positions, headhunting recruitment is also known as executive search.

Typically, they first discuss the company’s needs and requirements for that position.

That includes analyzing the role in order to find the candidates with the right experience and qualifications.

Headhunters use a variety of methods to source candidates.

If they specialize in an industry, they attend networking events and create their own pool of candidates. They also use social media and digital channels, as well as private contacts.

They screen the candidates, as well.

When it comes to executive searches, everything has to be perfect, so the process is more thorough than traditional recruitment. Unlike recruitment agencies, which cast a wide net and then screen potential candidates, headhunters aim to find the perfect match.

This means the process could last longer, but it’ll ultimately result in better hires for your company.

In many ways, hiring with the help of headhunters is a guarantee of higher satisfaction in the long term.

How Are Headhunters Paid?

Typically, headhunters are retained by companies.

They receive a retainer fee up front, another fee as they seek out candidates, and the rest when the candidate is successfully hired.

However, some headhunters work on a contingency basis. This means that headhunters don’t get paid unless they find a successful candidate for the company that hired them.

When Should You Hire a Headhunter?

To sum it all up, consider hiring a headhunter if you want to:

  • Save time
  • Get better access to (already employed) talent
  • Find the truly perfect candidate
  • Get a competitive advantage by hiring extremely skilled and successful individuals

And of course, don’t forget about headaches.

A good headhunter will always help you avoid them by taking obstacles out of the process and introducing satisfaction.

Would you like to learn more about recruitment? Check out our full Recruiting 101 Series.

Join 1000's of recruiters who already have a head start.

Get free recruitment tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.