What Is a Headhunter | Secrets Behind Head Hunter Meaning

what is a headhunterProfessional headhunters play a key role in helping companies of all sizes (from Fortune 500 to startups) succeed. What is a headhunter then you may ask? Let’s go through 29 of the most commonly asked questions.

After reading through this article, you will be perfectly equipped to engage with a headhunter for your particular search needs. Headhunters play an important role in the employment market. 


What is the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter?

headhunter vs. recruiterBasically, the two terms are generally used interchangeably. When people refer to job searches for positions in the executive suite, the word “headhunters” comes to mind, perhaps in reference to the fact that the search for and selection of a high-level candidate requires a particular skill set and ability. In the past, a headhunter was a term used to distinguish between the higher echelon, more highly paid employees than others at a lower level. Today the distinction is not so clear.

“Recruiters” perform the same sort of functions, identifying likely candidates to fill a specific job description. The word recruit is a clue to one of the lesser-known functions of headhunting and executive search. Many times, candidates are approached by search firms who have knowledge of their career achievements and are thus “recruited” to consider a job opportunity that they did not know existed.


Whats a Headhunter


What is a headhunter slang?

headhunter slangHeadhunters are also described as executive recruiters and within the industry, headhunters refer to the services they provide as “executive search”. Staffing agencies which often restrict their services to providing temporary workers to fill short-term job opportunities are generally not described as headhunters.


How do headhunters find you?

Good headhunters depend on their research teams to track and find likely qualified candidates. The business world is chock full of promising individuals who are building their experiences and refining their skills. Researchers are the unseen but essential backbone of every good headhunter. They use social media like Facebook and LinkedIn to find candidate contact information when their online profiles demonstrate their potential.  Other search engines help to add further details and checks to determine a candidate’s true viability. Headhunters also maintain extensive files of resumes in their databases.


professional headhunter


How much do headhunters make?

The answer to this is unique to each and every headhunter! The industry in general charges a percentage of the first year’s compensation of a new hire so amounts can vary considerably depending on the importance and salary of the candidate. Most often a company will pay a fee of around 20-30% for a successfully completed search. Annually headhunters will likely make in the six figures if they have 2-3+ years experience. If they manage a successful team, headhunters can make in the seven figures


Define Headhunter


Is using a headhunter worth it?

A headhunter is most definitely worth it for companies large and small because a headhunter expands your reach and possibilities considerably. No firm can afford to maintain the knowledgeable research capabilities of a headhunter. Because their sharp search skills have been developed over years of experience, a headhunter comes to your specific job profile needs with an ability to cast a wide net to find qualified candidates fast.

Your time is valuable, and it makes sense to outsource your search needs to locate and screen a highly qualified panel of potential new hires. As more jobs are being managed remotely, the talent pool has expanded enormously and only a well-resourced headhunter, search firm, employment agency etc. can provide the talent you want and need. What is a headhunter is really all about research. Think of headhunters as a supercomputer for helping you hire top talent. Is hiring top talent important for positions that have a big impact on your bottom line? The answer is clear: YES. 


How do you get a headhunter to find you a job?

headhunter searchWell, you don’t really, because headhunters work for the employers who hire them to find the right candidates for a job opening. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your chances of being found! Just keep in mind they’re “headhunters” not “jobhunters”. 

Individuals who are hoping to find a new job can take several important steps to increase their visibility. Take a critical look at your profile on LinkedIn and other social media sites to see that it correctly displays your professional talents as positively as possible. Just as you choose to dress professionally for a job interview, you should spruce up your online appearance. Remember that headhunters use social media to search for talent so be sure that you use descriptive words to explain your job history and interests. These words may catch the eye of a professional screener who is looking for a particular skill set. Learn what are job placement services


When should you follow up with a headhunter?

Remember what they told you! Most likely during your first contact with a headhunter they will explain why you’ve been contacted, and they will give a timeframe to indicate when you might expect a callback or update. Follow that timeline and try not to jump the gun to contact them asking for any new information. That said of course, you should circle back within a few days or a week to ask if you are still in the race, and see if you can provide more any information about your qualification which could be helpful. You might have answers to questions that improve your chances of getting in the door. Resumes and interviews don’t always immediately lend themselves to the information which could be helpful in landing you a great job. 


executive search firm


Why recruiters are bad for your career?

Recruiters are great for your career actually! A recruiter may call out of the blue to ask if you might consider changing jobs, and you should certainly hear what they have to say.  Just because you are not actively looking for a new position does not mean that you might not make a change. Sometimes opportunity knocks when you least expect it. Most people owe it to themselves to peaking inside the door if there’s an opportunity that has potential. 

why recruiters are badThere is one caution of course and that is the chance that a new job might not be the right fit for you and it’s important to carefully evaluate the opportunities being offered. Sometimes the old advice, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can apply to changing jobs. Entertaining an opportunity that could move you up career-wise, increase your compensation, lessen your commute, get you with a company who has a better culture, have you in an industry which interests you more, place you working for someone who values your experience more, match you with a more stable company etc. is at the very least worth it if it potentially is a good fit. 


Whats a Head Hunter


How many calls should a recruiter make a day?

The number of calls or email messages made by a recruiter is far less important than the quality of the contacts made. What is a headhunter, or a recruiter is not the business of making cold calls to unsuspecting individuals. Headhunters aren’t in the business of spamming. They’re in the business of finding the talent who add value to their clients. 

During an active search the number of contacts increases, and smart executive recruiters are careful to keep both their clients and their candidates updated with appropriate news in an ongoing search. Every search has its unique pace and a wise recruiter checks in frequently even when they don’t have news to share just to maintain trust and contact.


How do I connect to a headhunter?

finding a headhunterSearch the websites of headhunter firms in order to find their specific expertise. Some concentrate their practices on finance and accounting, others deal only in high tech or law for instance, so once you’ve identified those representing the kinds of firms that you might like to work for it’s time to work on your resume.

Resumes are not cast in concrete and so you should look at your resume with fresh eyes and bring it up to date carefully, making sure that your format is crisp and easy to read, no spelling or grammar errors please! Most likely you will find a portal on the headhunter’s website for you to submit your resume. Once you’ve hit send, don’t expect miracles but feel secure in the knowledge that you’ve now been added to their database which is being constantly searched to find individuals for very specific client searches.


What is another name for a headhunter?

Executive recruiters are also known as headhunters and the work that they do is described often as “executive search”. Job recruiters also are referred to as headhunters. 


professional headhunter


How do you become a head hunter?

Often individuals who have experience working in the Human Resources department of a large firm will find that their interpersonal skills are well suited to the function of being a headhunter. The best attribute of a headhunter is to be a “people person” which means having the ability to communicate with a wide variety of individuals, able to “hear” and understand what others are saying. Headhunters have to communicate clearly with their clients, seeking to understand and sometimes to help clarify a job description. Once the parameters of a job search have been determined, a headhunter next must research and find the right candidates for a job. Many times, people who have worked in the research departments of search firms will be asked to take a more public role as a headhunter.


Do I need a headhunter to find a job?

find a jobHeadhunters can help a lot but as a job seeker, you can’t hire one to find you a job. Headhunters work under contract with employers. Sometimes the work of headhunters is confused with agents who manage singers and actors for instance who work to place their client performers in jobs. Headhunters in business do not work in the same way. You can certainly find a job without a headhunter. If you’re working with a headhunter though, it’s very possible they will help you land a “great” job because the fit could be close to ideal. If the job you found on your own isn’t great but satisfactory, you would be wise to be open to exploring opportunities with headhunters if they contact you. 


Career Headhunter


What percentage does a headhunter get?

headhunter percentageHeadhunters contract with employers to find candidates for specific job openings. Fees are based on the first-year compensation of the new hire and are negotiated in advance of the search. For some complicated or lengthy searches, the fees are paid as a retainer which is a flat fee often with travel and other expenses included. In general, headhunters are paid as low as 15% and as high as one-third.


Can someone find me a job?

The person who can find you a job is you! Most certainly if an executive recruiter or headhunter contacts you, they might prove great assistance in expediting your job search.


executive search firm


Are there headhunters anymore?

It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but YES, headhunters still exist, and for the very good reason that they provide essential services to businesses. While there are lots of ads promoting web-based companies that collect resumes and promise to help employers find the right new hire, the process is actually not so easy or fast. What is a headhunter is the opposite of do it yourself hiring. Time and accuracy are the essential ingredients that headhunters offer to their clients. Headhunters do the research so that you don’t have to, and they’ll provide you with a selection of candidates to consider that have all the skills you require.


Headhunter Career


How does a headhunter work?

How headhunters workThe first job of a headhunter is to work with the client to create a job description that accurately defines the job to be done. The headhunter’s experience can help employers to clearly define salary ranges, along with the skills and experience needed for the position. Once the job profile is ready, the headhunter’s research team begins the process of mining their database to find the qualified candidates who best fit the profile. Headhunters can accomplish a wide-ranging search and conduct interviews with promising candidates to narrow the field down to perhaps 3 or 4 candidates whose credentials are then presented to the employer for the next round of virtual and/or in-person interviews. Headhunters can assist in salary negotiations and provide background checks as well.


Do recruiters look at LinkedIn?

Absolutely yes. LinkedIn is a standard communication tool for any working professional.  Your LinkedIn page is a window into your professional life and it is frequently seen before anybody has a chance to read your resume so it’s imperative that you create the best and most professional presentation of yourself on LinkedIn. Think of LinkedIn as a “professional” network whereas Facebook is a “social” network. 


Is being a recruiter stressful?

Often, the answer is yes! It stands to reason that once an employer has contracted for a search to be executed, they want to have results as fast as possible and they want to see the best/the most qualified candidates available. Recruiters not only must balance the needs and desires of the employers but the interests and anxieties of candidates wishing to be selected and wanting to hear good news sooner rather than later. What is a headhunter is but a manager of expectations!


professional headhunter


How many placements should a recruiter make a month?

How many placements should recruiters make

There is no standard rule although some recruitment agencies may set quotas particularly for lower-paid positions. The recruitment process involves time spent with the client determining the scope of the work plus the time needed to complete researching available candidates and the final process of selection and salary negotiation. If an employer has an established relationship with an executive recruiter, the time needed to complete a new hire can be shortened significantly.


Is a recruiter a good job?

Yes. Recruiting is a fun, fast-paced and challenging job. It requires an outgoing and inquisitive personality and excellent organization skills. Being a good communicator is essential and it’s vital that a recruiter is a self-starter and extremely ethical. The downside is that a recruiter is a little like a performer who is always on stage, available to talk and work with clients and candidates at a moment’s notice. Recruiting is a very stable profession if you’re a persistent hard-worker. The first six months can be sink or swim, but once up and running many never look back. 


Do Headhunters Still Exist


Is it better to apply directly or through a recruiter?

apply direct or through recruiterA good recruiter adds value to any job search. Recruiters know specific employment markets very well because that’s their daily business, so they are experts on salary ranges and trends in hiring. Recruiters can help candidates improve their resumes and they also provide coaching for job interviews. Recruiters often are working with key decision-makers and may present you with an opportunity that’s confidential in nature. It’s possible the recruiter’s position is also not being advertised so your ability to apply directly would be by a random chance if that particular company interests you. Then comes into the equation who exactly is receiving your resume at the company when you apply directly. There’s a valid reason why candidates feel frustrated when they apply directly to a company and don’t hear back when they know they’re a good fit. A recruiter can save you a lot of frustration and anguish by keeping you updated and in the loop. 


How do I become a recruiter with no experience?

It’s best to work your way up through working in an HR department or have a background in sales. Another approach is to start in the research department of a recruiting firm or work as an assistant. The skills needed include being able to multi-task and a drive to succeed. If you can get in the door, make sure your manager knows and sees that you are dedicated and willing to do what it takes (within reason) to make being a recruiter a career. 


executive search firm


How much money do I need to start a staffing agency?

money to start staffing agencyAlthough it’s possible to start on a shoestring, investments will be needed very early on. You need legal advice to create contracts and software to manage the information generated by your searches. A web design company to help you create a professional web profile will also be highly important. You’ll need liability insurance, and occasionally legal help with debt collections. $10,000 is a fair round number to expect is needed and helpful to have to start a staffing agency. What’s critical beyond this is having the experience to do the job. $1,000,000 can’t buy you experience. Experience comes through time and focus.


How to Find a Head Hunter


How do you become an independent recruiter?

The best path is to learn the business while working for an established headhunter or recruiter and then take off on your own. Get to the point where you’re having success operating a full-cycle recruiting desk (handling both the client and the candidate side). Build your professional network. Research the resources you will need to succeed as an independent recruiter. 


Why do recruiters go silent?

recruiters go silentThe most likely reason that a recruiter slows or stops communication during a job search is that the employers are experiencing a hiccup. This can be related to any number of internal issues ranging from the decision maker’s lack of time to focus on the hiring process or a real change of plans to the search itself. Experienced recruiters can keep their candidates in the communication loop by phoning to express regret that the process has stalled for the moment. Although they may not be able to share sensitive information, they should be in a position to provide an update. Don’t hesitate to check in with recruiters once a week (if they’re not doing this themselves).


Should I reach out to hiring manager after applying?

Yes and no. First of all, don’t jump the gun and call immediately after an interview or after sending your resume. It’s unlikely that you are the only person being considered and the first round of the selection process may not yet be complete. It’s best to wait a week and then politely check-in to ask for an update. At the conclusion of an interview, it is always wise to ask about the next steps in the selection to ask for advice about when you should expect news so you will know definitively when you could appropriately call to check-in.


professional headhunter


What do I need to know about headhunters?

Headhunters are business professionals that add value to both sides of the employment equation.

For businesses, even those with large human resources departments, headhunters bring specialized expertise in employment practices, salaries, the current job market, and competitive situations. Additionally, headhunters have bench strength in their research departments and experience in creating well-written job descriptions and access to a wide database of potential candidates.

Candidates working with headhunters are assisted in tailoring their resumes to fit specific job requirements, advice about salary ranges, and coaching to improve interview performance.


Hiring a Headhunter


What type of recruiters make the most money?

recruiter moneyGenerally, the larger the compensation package of the executive being hired, the greater the financial reward for the recruiters since fees are based on placements compensation. Most high-profile searches for C-Suite professionals are conducted as retained searches with the fees negotiated and extras like travel and expenses billed separately. Recruiters in the executive search business often make the most money if they’re in management. That said, qualified staffing recruiters who handle temporary recruiting services for low-level positions conversely can make a significant amount of money if they handle a large volume.


What is a headhunter conclusion

What is a headhunter to one person is a recruiter or a search professional to someone else. The terms are pretty much interchangeable to the business world. The function of a headhunter is often misunderstood because they are not agents to be hired to find you a job but instead, they contract with employers to find candidates to meet a particular job description.

They are a value add to both employers, offering expertise and research capabilities, and to candidates, providing advice about interviewing, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

In the changing business world of remote workers, headhunters are particularly helpful in searching for a larger pool of potential candidates. Finding an ideal fit for important positions can make a huge impact at companies. 


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