Headhunters and recruiters can be perceived to perform roughly the same function. However, there are distinct differences in the role that headhunters play compared with both recruitment agencies and in-house HR teams that set them apart in levels of expertise.
While the recruiter could be seen as a reliable all-rounder who will help keep a business well-staffed, the headhunter is a seasoned expert with specific insight and skills to enable them to find the highest calibre of candidates.
What Is The Role Of A Headhunter?
Headhunters are outside individuals or organisations, brought in by a company to find the ideal candidates to fill a specific position. Contractually, the headhunter is working on behalf of the company – but in reality, this is a somewhat simplistic assessment.
The experienced headhunter will need to have quality candidates on board in order to place them with a client business. At Red Diamond, we recognise that it’s absolutely vital that we uncover red-hot candidates for each role – after all, they will be shaping the future of our client’s businesses.
In fact, we find that on many occasions, the right candidate will go full circle, looking to us to help find their own executive team.
Once on board with a client, our role is to analyse the business’s current and future expectations. This includes looking at the wider business and the industry landscape both from a financial and cultural perspective.
Many headhunters will specialise in a particular market – for instance aerospace or financial services – as this makes it easier to be fully immersed in the sector in question.
This process of market mapping is very in-depth – we consider not just the client’s pain points but their future plans and how their market is likely to perform both in the short- and long term.
It may be, for instance, that the client is not achieving the market share they want, which may be down to an underperforming sales team. It’s our job to not only pinpoint the cause but then identify the right person to take the reins and to make a difference. As a global business, we are able to cast our net far wider than an in-house HR team would, to identify the top calibre candidates regardless of where in the world they may be based.
At this point, the candidates are, more often than not, quite happy in their current position, with little or no thought of moving to another post. The seasoned headhunter will be able to uncover these hidden gems, tapping into their networks and resources to identify exciting prospects who may not, until that point, have ever considered switching roles.
Keep It Confidential
In the current climate in particular, a client may not want to advertise the fact that they are looking for a new senior team member. The pandemic has seen businesses across all manner of sectors forced to restructure – yet the need for strong leadership at such times is more pertinent than ever.
In fact, there are a number of reasons why a client wants to conduct a job search under the radar. It may be that they are buying a business, or themselves leaving the company, and to announce such changes to the wider workforce would create instability; perhaps a restructuring has resulted in job losses in one area of the business and be seen to be actively looking to recruit for other roles would be perceived as insensitive.
Our clients often have niche requirements that make recruiting from their own existing networks impossible. We are effectively searching in an inactive job market, targeting professionals who aren’t actively seeking a new challenge – which is where the seasoned headhunter’s network of contacts proves invaluable.
This is one reason why companies trust us and come back to us time and time again, empowering us to find the right person for them. Bringing in a headhunter who understands the company DNA and who can bring in a successful candidate is a decision that in terms of ROI will pay for itself; a great appointment will generate far more than the headhunter’s fee once they are in the post.