Recruitment Versus Headhunting – What’s The Difference?

Although Recruitment and Headhunting are very similar forms of Candidate Sourcing, there are some crucial differences that mean one method will suit certain situations better than the other. Both would use Searches, Networks, and Talent Pools but to different ends.

Traditionally, Recruiters work with a Pool of candidates along with an existing network of clients and various Job Boards whereas a Headhunting is more consultative requiring an active search for a new Candidate to fill a role.

Traditional Recruiting tends to be targeted at a specific job role by a client and utilising your industry knowledge and understanding of said client, you will utilise your network, talent pools, and various job boards to perform searches to identify potential options for the position you are working on based on keywords. This would normally mean that the results generated are from active candidates who are currently looking for a new opportunity, potentially limiting the results.

Headhunting is more consultative and can start with assisting the client in the first instance to identify what skill set would be able to fulfil the current business needs. The approach after this is much more specific and tailored, using search methods such as LinkedIn Recruiter to identify passive candidates who fit specifically into the business need and may also be completely passive and not actively looking for work but open to a change through persuasion.

As headhunting is much more specific and tailored, headhunting tends to incur higher fees. The Headhunting process takes longer and requires a more in-depth process from start to finish compared to general Recruitment.


How do Recruiters collect Candidates?

Traditional Recruiters will post jobs on behalf of clients onto their company web site as well as Job boards – think Indeed, CV Library and Monster as well as their social media pages and wait for applications. A recruiter will then filter out the applications into potential candidates for the employer.

Often a Recruiter will post a non-existent job just to harvest Candidates in preparation for a job that they may be advertising later. This enables Recruiters to build a Candidate library that they will contact when a new job drops onto their desk.

How do Headhunters collect Candidates?

Although there is some cross-over between Recruiting and Headhunting, Headhunters will mostly take a more precise approach, looking for Candidates not from a CV bank but specifically based on the Role that they are recruiting for. They will headhunt the best candidates from multiple sources ranging from LinkedIn, Social Media and Company “Meet the Team” pages.

Do Headhunters use Artificial Intelligence Robots to find candidates?

It is becoming more common for Headhunters to use Artificial Intelligence Recruitment Engines that ‘scrape’ hundreds of Internet Sources and use their algorithm to narrow down and present Candidates.

The process doesn’t start with a Role but rather it starts with the perfect candidate. Using this perfect candidate as a template, the AI will search a wide pool of diverse and qualified professionals and match this template with other candidates.

Some AI Software will perform the outreach on your behalf but candidates will typically favour the human touch. AI Bots are typically very expensive – headhunting candidates for as few as 5 roles can often cost the salary of a good headhunter, and doesn’t look as good on Social Media!

What is another Job title for Headhunter?

The term Headhunting is often used in place of other terms such as Talent Manager, Internal Recruiter, Talent Selection and Talent Acquisition but they all refer to a person who identifies and approaches suitable candidates employed elsewhere to fill business positions.

The term Headhunter is falling out of favour in the modern recruitment market.


How do Recruiters and Headhunters get paid?

Recruitment fees generally consist of a placement fee, typically 10-15% of the Annual Salary after an agreed period. Headhunting often follows the same payment structure although it isn’t uncommon for Headhunting to agree an upfront fee.


Is headhunting ethical?

Holt Recruitment Headhunters approach candidates in an honest manner that takes privacy into consideration, we are not misleading and we always ask for permission to communicate. Holt headhunting is and will remain a highly ethical and successful recruitment method.


Why use a Headhunter?

They will save you time, and time is money. Automotive recruitment agencies take the job searching process off your hands, saving time and energy so you can spend your time earning money and your evenings relaxing and doing the things you enjoy.

Headhunters have access to a much larger Candidate pool than if you were to upload a Job Role to an online Job Board. The right person for your Role may not even be looking for another position – yet!


If you are interested in finding out more about our Headhunting Services, please contact Nathan Dixon.


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