June 17, 2022

What is headhunting and how does it work?

You probably have heard about headhunting. That is a concept similar to recruitment and is usually used in the context of talent search and acquisition. In fact, many people think that both terms refer to the same idea, which is absolutely not correct. So, what is headhunting and how is it different from regular recruitment? 

Not all job positions are the same and that’s why there are several types of recruitment that are useful when it’s necessary to find certain profiles. At T2W we know the world of recruitment and Human Resources, so we can delve deep into this concept. In this article we will show you what is headhunting and we’ll explain the way it works. 

What is headhunting? 

Headhunting is a talent acquisition method that focuses on finding management profiles or professionals with a specific skill set. For this reason, this is usually referred as executive search. In general, being able to find this type of special profiles requires knowledge about the field and experience in recruitment. As a result, headhunting usually is a service offered by agencies that focus on recruitment for specific positions. 

How do headhunters work? 

In general, the talent acquisition process headhunters follow is similar to regular recruitment. The main difference is in the way they source and contact candidates. Let’s take a look at the headhunting process. 

Phase 1: What profile do you need? 

The first step for a headhunter is to identify the profile of the position that must be filled. This is defined by the needs of the organization that needs the services of the headhunter. In this stage, the organization must inform the recruiter about the characteristics of the position (benefits, requirements, responsibilities, etc.). 

Phase 2: Where can we find that profile? 

The next step is identifying the spaces and platforms where we will likely find that specific professional. The main platform nowadays is LinkedIn. It is perfect for finding and connecting with people with special profiles. However, a good headhunter knows several niche platforms specially focused for each type of professional. Likewise, they usually already have a talent pool that helps them find qualified talent quickly. 

Phase 3: Who are the best candidates? 

Once the platforms have been identified, headhunters start looking for candidates that fit the profiles requested by the organization. Since these profiles are very specific, the candidates they find don’t tend to come in large numbers, but are better aligned with the company’s needs. 

Phase 4: What candidates are interested? 

The next step requires headhunters to communicate with the professionals that best fit the position. In general, due to the high demand of specialized professionals and people in managerial positions, the best candidates are already working for other companies. For that reason, it’s important for the headhunter to present the job offer in an attractive way. 

Phase 5: Who is the ideal candidate? 

Once headhunters have a list with the candidates who fit the profile and are interested in the position, the next step is entering the interview phase. Here, headhunters will identify the ideal person for the vacant position. Finally, the headhunter sends the company a report with the best candidates. Some recruitment agencies also let the company supervise the whole process to better identify the ideal candidate.  

Difference between recruitment and headhunting 

Difference between recruitment and headhunting

The type of profiles they find 

On one hand, regular recruitment focuses on finding relatively simple profiles in the work market. For this reason, they can fill several positions at the same time. On the other hand, headhunters have to find managerial and specialized position such as, for example, IT professionals. For that reason, they usually fill one or two positions at the same time.  

The way of working 

In a regular recruitment process, recruiters publish a job ad and wait for candidates to send their resumes. A headhunter assumes a more active role when it comes to finding talent. The more specialized nature of the positions they need requires a different kind of approach. For that reason, they search and contact directly the candidates. 

The nature of the service 

In general, companies have an in-house team that deals with the recruitment needs. These professionals are usually part of the Human Resources area of the organization. In contrast, the high level of specialization in headhunting requires more experience. For this reason, this is usually an external service offered by recruitment agencies. 

Headhunting in Talent2Win 

At T2W we have professionals with more than 25 years of experience in the world of recruitment and Human Resources. That experience is perfect to find especial and difficult profiles. For that reason, several company leaders in different fields choose us as consultants in order to get the best results and minimize hiring risks. 

Additionally, we have developed our own recruitment methodologies such as Right Fit and Talent without Borders. These help us support our clients through every stage in the attraction process of high-potential leaders. The result is a talent acquisition service that really fits the needs of each company. 

Now you know what is headhunting in Human Resources and the way it works. This is a service that can help you find the ideal professional for the important position you need to fill. 

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.  

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