Headhunting – What does a professional headhunter do?

An individual headhunter will work as part of a larger professional team from a headhunting firm. They will have experience in various industries but generally specialise in one type of industry and they will be able to effectively “track down” candidates for your vacancies.

These candidates might not be looking for a new job but as the headhunter will have good negotiating and networking skills plus they will be skilled in spotting potential in the candidates they will find and put forward for the job vacancies.

However a head-hunter is definitely not is a recruitment consultant, they don’t work on behalf of the people who are looking for jobs but for the companies who have the job vacancies to fill. Although most head-hunting firms will accept unsolicited CVs or resumés which are then put into their database of potential candidates but this certainly does not guarantee a job vacancy would be found for them.

A professional headhunters job, finding candidates to fill their client’s job vacancies is very time consuming & intensive and the processes may include:

  • Researching of the marketplace/industry for companies that may be employing the potentially suitable candidates
  • Identifying who is best to target within those chosen firms
  • Making contact with the potential candidates for initial sounding out
  • Organising any required assessments and interviews for the candidates
  • Negotiating between the candidate & employers on salary, bonuses, benefits, etc
  • Dealing with a “counter offer” from the candidate’s current employer if there is one
  • Assisting the candidate with their resignation from their existing job

Although they may specialise in one or two industries a professional headhunter still has to have a good and broad skill set in order to track down and then get the best candidates for their clients. The skills must indluce a good understanding of the industry & business of their client and know what skills the potential candidtes must have for the role and recognise the experience they should have had.

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