While their titles are often used interchangeably, there are key differences between executive search firms and headhunters. With expertise in an organization’s hiring needs, recruiters and headhunters are both skilled in selecting, screening, and securing talent. However, their approach and resources are what makes them unique to the companies they serve.
So, what makes executive search different from headhunting?
Headhunting, often refers to a recruiter approaching someone who is already in a similar role. While this may seem like a great tactic in theory, it is not the best approach as a person’s success at one company doesn’t guarantee success at another. With an executive search recruiter, chances are you will find a better fit for the role as they have:
A Larger Network
Many recruiters or recruiting firms have access to a wider network of eligible candidates. Typically they have top talent in mind or can quickly narrow down a list of potential pre-screened hires. Having access to a variety of candidates nationally or internationally, depending on the firm, is also of great benefit. And as geographic borders (and higher costs) may have prevented top talent from relocating in the past, the rise of blended workplaces in 2021 have allowed recruiters to match their clients with talent worldwide.
A great recruiting firm or executive recruiter will have developed deeper relationships with clients overtime. Some have secured many roles and over time have gotten to know clients’ needs, values, and the type of talent that would be a great fit. This allows for better placements for both the candidate and client. Specialized recruiters will also be familiar with industry specifics and role nuances, whereas headhunters may fill specific roles but may never fill that type of role again.
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