Headhunters: Everything You Need To Know

Whether you are a business looking for a fitting employee or someone looking for the right job, headhunters are truly Godsent. Using their expertise, experience, and wealth of knowledge, they guide you to the path of success. 

However, some questions like- what is a headhunter, and how do these people work, being contacted what best you can do to secure your interest can be a bit worrying. And yes, the answers seem complex too! But having the right approach, they’re pretty straightforward. 

Here is everything you need to know about how headhunters work and how they can brighten your career prospects. Moreover, we’ve also curated a list of clever questions to help you figure out the best course of action. 

What is A Headhunter?

A headhunter is a person who approaches individuals on behalf of organizations and pitches them an opportunity. However, in some cases, a headhunter may work for individuals and help them find a befitting job. 

They are dexterous at researching, identifying, analyzing, and finally communicating. These people specialize in roping people in for jobs they don’t necessarily seek. 

Moreover, it’s difficult for businesses to convince highly valued individuals to join their company. Hence the headhunters take up this task and gather sufficiently alluring information and thus manage to convince them.  

How Does Headhunting Work?

While every chase and project differs on various parameters, the outline of the process is mostly constant. Here is a breakdown of the multiple stages of headhunting for your better understanding. 

Alright, to make it simpler, let’s assume you’re an organization seeking a suitable employee. Now go on! 

Stage 1- The First Interaction

The process typically begins by contacting an individual headhunter or a headhunting firm. Afterward, you communicate and fix a meeting to discuss the project outline. If all goes well, the headhunters typically create a brief. 

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Stage 2- Outline and Research 

As mentioned above, the headhunter will create a brief for your business. It will have crucial information such as your business details, an in-depth job description as well as your requirements. 

Additionally, the most crucial bit is the types of firms or businesses you want them to target. After this, if both parties agree, then the headhunter begins researching for you. At this point, they’ll break down all your competitors and analyze their top employees.

Stage 3- Finalization

Arguably, this is the most vital stage, as the headhunter will identify and shortlist the best candidates for your business. Usually, the people they select are highly successful, promising, and hold great value.

However, whether the candidates are seeking new jobs or not doesn’t make any difference. The headhunters primarily focus on finding the best candidate to fill up the required position. They approach the shortlisted people later, very discreetly. 

After this, they’ll ask for your approval on the list. You can then eliminate any candidate or firm that you don’t want to approach or meddle with.

Stage 4- The Chase 

It’s called headhunting for a reason. Now that the target is in the headhunter’s line of vision, he/she will chase the person and discreetly approach them. Moreover, they’ll enticingly market your business to attract that candidate.

They’ll explain the potential benefits of working for your business. Additionally, they do consider any scope to convince the person or if the candidate is interested. After this interaction, they approach you with a list of prospective candidates that are highly suitable.

Stage 5- Recruitment

This stage resembles pretty much any other recruitment process. With a lot of determination to find the best person for you, the headhunter will interview, examine and sort out these people. 

Mostly, they interview in multiple phases and combine the prospects with competency tests. 

Besides, the best headhunters will carefully conduct psychological and behavioral assessments. This way, they entirely scrutinize the potential employees and bring all reservations to light. 

Stage 6- Reviewing and Finalizing

Now the ball lies in your court as you’re free to interview the candidates with the headhunter’s supervision and assistance. Moreover, the headhunters usually aid the selection process, as they provide you with useful reports and comparisons.

These details help you arrive at a decision much faster. Else, all the candidates you meet at this stage are interested in taking up the job you have offered. By negotiating and intervening as needed, they help you pick the right person.

Stage 7- Clean-Up

As you orient the selected person and employ, the headhunter will wrap up the loose ends. While you’ve chosen one person, the others have to be informed responsibly.

Moreover, the headhunter ensures that the rejection seems professional and doesn’t leave a bad taste. This way, the rejected candidates go with a positive image of the business and may even willingly join later.

6 Questions You Must Ask Them

Even though there are various headhunters in the market and each has its unique skill set, you have to pick one. Hence, this task can be a bit daunting if you don’t know how to gauge the good one. Also, take your time to curate your resume before approaching. If needed, take help from the recommended resume professionals to increase your chance of being noticed by a recruiter.

To help you select the smartest and apt headhunter for your purpose, we’ve curated the list of questions as mentioned above. They’ll also assist you in dealing with a headhunter who approached you for a position. 

  • What is your placement rate?

That is a great question to help you judge how successful the headhunter has been in the previous projects. You can also estimate if you’re likely to get the job if you decide to proceed. In fact, a moderate to high placement rate looks good.

  • What method do you use for headhunting?

As per your requirement, the method will make a tremendous difference. While some headhunters have a client-based approach, others prefer not to involve you as much. Hence, if you wish to be kept in the loop, you need to choose the former.

  • Do you offer a guarantee?

Headhunting is an all-encompassing and tedious process, and sometimes, you don’t end up with a good result. However, some headhunters will give you guaranteed deadlines and pre-agreed results.

  • Do you assist in negotiation?

Some headhunters are excellent negotiators, and as a result, they can convince the candidates on your behalf. Moreover, this skill comes in handy when you finalize the paperwork or interview the candidate. That is because they promote bridging the gap between the parties.

  • Would you mind describing your relationship with your last three clients? 

This question will accord you a clear insight into how fruitful and smooth-sailing their past assignments were. With this understanding, you can decide whether you wish to proceed.

  • Do you have experience in headhunting for this position?

It’s natural for headhunters to specialize in specific job roles. Thus, you can ascertain whether the person can help you get the aptest employee or firm.

Final Words

You may wonder how much a headhunter costs. Most headhunters charge different sums following their placement rate and the magnitude of the project. Generally, they do charge somewhere between 15%-30% of the candidate’s first year’s remuneration. 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of headhunters, you will see how beneficial they can be! Even though the process is quite exhaustive and takes around 6-7 weeks, it’ll lead to a decision you won’t regret. 

Yeah, so best of luck with your hunting! 


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