Headhunter vs. Recruitment: What’s the Difference?

I’ve recently come across some rather odd (if not downright bizarre) articles online that attempt to explain the distinction between a headhunter and a recruiter, so I wanted to provide a concise and definitive explanation to clear up any confusion.

Definition of Headhunter 

A Headhunter is a third party professional and talent-finder that works on behalf of his client to fill one or more available positions. Headhunters can be a single employer or a recruiting company.

Headhunters are like skill scouts – they search and find potential contracts using a large range of ways. Headhunters source (search), screen and eventually advise their client to consider the most desirable applicant(s). Headhunters are usually involved with the applicant and the user during and frequently after the interview. 

Many headhunters are specialized in niche areas, where applicants with abilities and expertise in a certain sector create a network or pipeline. Although many people primarily connect headhunters with senior responsibilities or even executive jobs, the phrase may apply to anyone working to fill posts at all levels.

Definition of Recruiter 

Sara White, head of digital services, customer and insights at the recruiting firm Tribe, argues that any recruiter’s first objective is to assist companies locate suitable candidates for employment.

“A recruiter generally collaborated with a contracting officer to identify the needs of the work and to comprehend its ideal staff,” White explains. They are responsible for all pre-hiring responsibilities, including advertising, testing jobseekers, who can be invited to an interview, questioning applicants to evaluate their skills and cultural fitness, booking second interviews, compliance checks and bids.”

Real distinctions between a headhunter and a recruiter

1. Positions

As employer agencies usually engage with numerous companies to meet their recruitment needs, they generally seek applicants with extensive skills that are suited for a range of roles. However, headhunter job services typically seek candidates with highly specialized skill sets to fill very specific roles.

2. Time required

There is another important distinction between hiring and seeking. When recruiters have many applications, the amount of time spent on each prospect is considerably less. In the case of recruiting the attention is mainly on quantity.

For headhunters, quality is more important than quantity. Headhunters must find the best candidates in their industry and skill set. You will need to devote a significant amount of time to headhunting, from scouting to rapport building to the final absorption of the talent. Headhunters don’t usually go for months on a target then switch to the appropriate skill sets owing to only a tiny variation. Before concluding a sale, it is vital that headhunters discover the appropriate solution.

3. The network

When recruiting encompasses wider and more diversified areas of recruitment, recruiters tend to have a greater network than head chasing. Recruiters have enormous openings and jobs to fill, which means that they need extensive relationships in many areas. It is certainly not wrong that you need to be a hobbyist of all businesses, if you are a master of any sort of company and the difficulty of the task depends typically on the type of organization you have dealing with.

Headhunters normally have very large networks in the headhunting industry, but are generally defined for a certain domain of their speciality. The head chassis entrusted with filling the R&D leader will likely have a network restricted to the tech field. Although a headhunter might have a lesser network than a recruiter, they often have a much deeper network in their field.

To sum up, Headhunting and recruitment are NOT synonyms!

Each industry has to grasp the distinction between headhunting and the recruiting process in order to optimize its recruitment. For your business it is equally crucial to discover approaches to maximize recruiting and head hunting. 

While the separation on paper appears to be quite strong, in practice many companies have very little difference. Positions at a level or two above the mid-level may cause confusion for businesses.

Talentnet is a major human resources consultant for Viet Nam. With the latest technology and a high standard of protection, a deep understanding of employment legislation and appropriate HR solutions, it uses its payroll framework as a great long-term partner on human resources. Email us to find out how Talentnet can save you time, resources and highly qualified people eager to accomplish your job.

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