Articles, headhunting, job market, recruitment, 13.01.2023

Headhunting – what is it?

6 min.

headhunting - na czym polega

Certainly! Here is the English translation:

Did you know that the first “headhunters” in the job market appeared in the United States in the 1920s? Today, headhunting is one of the most popular and effective recruitment methods.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. What is the definition of headhunting?
  2. Who is a headhunter and what do they do?
  3. How headhunting differs from traditional recruitment?
  4. What are the advantages of this recruitment method and its biggest challenges?

Headhunting by Definition – What is “Hunting Heads”?

Who is a headhunter? A headhunter is a person specializing in acquiring employees with rare qualifications or for high-level positions. The “headhunter” acts on behalf of their client, usually in collaboration with a recruitment agency. On behalf of the client, the headhunter contacts noteworthy candidates and presents them with a job offer. A professional headhunter has a wide network of business contacts, allowing them to reach individuals who meet the job requirements much more quickly.

It’s worth knowing: headhunting is a colloquial term for Executive Search.

Biggest Challenges in the Headhunting Process

Reaching individuals not actively seeking employment: It is said that the best candidates are not actively looking for jobs. This means they are not actively seeking employment but may be open to new and interesting professional opportunities. Therefore, a headhunter must be an excellent researcher. Convincing candidates to take on a new job is a significant challenge, requiring thorough and reliable reference checks, as well as excellent intuition (which is a result of experience).

Understanding the client’s industry: A good headhunter should be well-versed in the industry of the client for whom they are acquiring employees. Understanding the nuances specific to a particular environment facilitates the selection process. With a better understanding of the client company’s business, a headhunter can identify the best candidates more quickly.

Identification of Candidate Needs

A headhunter must not only reach individuals who meet specific requirements but also convince them to change their employment. Therefore, the work of a headhunter is more than just recruitment. It is primarily about building relationships. The recruitment process for high-level positions may take several weeks, but even several months. During negotiations, the headhunter must maintain good relations with the candidates.

Therefore, a headhunter must thoroughly understand the motivation of the other party, which does not always have to be financial. Sometimes, development opportunities or prestige are more important. A recruiter acquiring candidates for high-level positions must know what matters most to the candidate.

Due to the fact that headhunters operate in the business environment, they must demonstrate a set of soft skills. These include, above all, communicativeness, assertiveness, and knowledge of the business language. The personality of the headhunter plays a significant role in the recruitment process.

Maintaining Discretion

The recruitment process conducted by a headhunter should be entirely confidential—for the benefit of both the candidate and the client represented by the “headhunter.” The person acquiring employees must present themselves as trustworthy.

Reaching the best candidates requires time and dedication. Therefore, individuals with the right competencies and experience in acquiring high-caliber managers and specialists engage in headhunting.

Is it Worth Collaborating with a Headhunter through a Recruitment Agency?

Collaborating with a professional headhunter significantly streamlines the recruitment process. An individual specializing in acquiring candidates for high-level positions possesses an extensive pool of candidates and business contacts, facilitating the quick identification of the best specialists.

A headhunter strives to find a candidate who best fits the client’s expectations, both in terms of skills and financial requirements. A good match between the employee and the position helps limit turnover.

Human capital is one of the most crucial assets of any business. Therefore, acquiring a high-caliber specialist provides a competitive advantage. It can be said that collaborating with a headhunter is an investment in the company’s development.

Can Everyone be “Caught” by a Headhunter?

In principle, headhunters focus on acquiring candidates for managerial positions. However, this doesn’t mean that headhunters exclusively target managers and directors. Highly qualified specialists can also receive interesting professional proposals if they enter the candidate database.

How to do it? The simplest way is to participate in traditional recruitment conducted by a employment agency or to submit application documents without applying directly.

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