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Finding the right candidate for an open position is never easy, but with the right help, hiring managers can identify the right fit. Working with a recruitment agency or headhunter can be far more cost-effective than investing a significant amount of time and resources into finding the wrong candidate on your own.
Before you work with a recruitment agency or headhunter, there are five key differences that you should understand about what each offers to hiring companies:
Headhunters and recruitment agencies typically search for different types of candidates. A recruitment agency looks for positions for active job seekers. On the other hand, a headhunter usually focuses on finding candidates who are not actively seeking new jobs. They look for hard to find candidates who are the perfect fit for a specific role.
The process of finding and matching candidates with job opportunities is handled differently among headhunters than it is through recruitment agencies. For example, a recruitment agency typically places ads to find candidates and maintains an extensive candidate database from which to pull qualified candidates as opportunities arise.
Headhunters work a bit differently. When a headhunter receives an order for a specific position, he or she searches the entire market (including people who aren’t currently looking for new jobs) to find the best candidate at that moment in time.
Since recruitment agencies typically work with a number of companies to fill their recruiting needs, they often look for candidates with broad skills who can fill a variety of positions as needed.
However, since headhunters look for candidates to fill very specific positions, they usually search for people with highly specialized skill sets.
As mentioned in #3, a recruitment agency works with multiple companies and usually needs to fill a large number of roles.
Headhunters search for candidates for very specialized roles, executive roles, and jobs that are hard to fill. As such, they usually fill a small number of roles at a time.
Remember, recruitment agencies need to fill a large number of roles for clients, so the focus is on quantity. That means they’ll spend a small amount of time with each position and candidate and move on to the next.
Headhunters need to find the best candidate for a very specific role, and that candidate is usually not easy to find. It is not unusual for a headhunter to spend a very long time on each position and candidate to ensure they identify the right match.
Choosing a Headhunter or Recruitment Agency
If you’re thinking of working with a headhunter or recruitment agency, keep the five differences above in mind. Also, consider any payments that might be required.
Headhunters are usually paid by the company that hired them to fill a position. Recruitment agencies typically work on commission paid to them by the hiring company if the agency successfully finds the right candidate for a position.
Whatever you decide, make sure you understand the specific services the recruitment agency or headhunter will provide to you as well as all fees before you sign any contracts.
James Stier says
I have seen that most of the companies contact recruitment agencies to hire a candidate. Does, this is due to price difference.
David Beck says
Thanks for helping people differentiate between headhunter and recruitment agency.