HeadhuntersLike all answers a consultant will give…..it depends.

In the past I thought headhunters or as they like to be called executive recruiters were a waste of time and money. Over the past few years I’ve changed my mind. There are many situations where it’s not only advisable, but essential if you want to get the very best person you can.

If you’re interested in my reasons, read on.

Who should a recruiter help you hire?

You could use a recruiter to hire everyone in your company. I have some clients who do this. I’m not sure this is the best use of company resources when it comes to your hiring process.

I believe that headhunters provide the most value when you’re looking for senior people in your company. Senior people are much harder to hire than rank and file employees.

Not that you should just ignore your rank and file employees, it’s just easier to hire and you can do this internally with just a little support. Hiring senior people requires extra due diligence and having a recruiting professional work with you on getting the right person is easily justified.

Headhunters can save you tons of time.

Hiring great talent takes lots of time. I’ve bet you’ve gotten involved in hiring people for your company and you think the process just drags on and on.

Because recruiters get the majority of their money when they place someone they’re likely to keep prodding you through the process. Also, hiring has lots of drudgery involved. A headhunter can take most of the drudgery off your plate.

I bet that you would be more enthusiastic about your hiring process if you weren’t involved in all of the nitty gritty that no one in your company but you can do. This is one of the places I think a good headhunter earns their fee.

Headhunters often know the marketplace for what you’re looking for.

When you’re hiring a senior manager you’ll often be looking all over the country to find the right person. There are skills that good recruiters have learned to help make this activity manageable.

Gone are the days where you just stick and ad in the paper and prospective employees come running. In fact, the best people you can hire won’t even be looking for a job.

That’s why headhunters use the term executive recruiter. They’ll have to recruit to get you the best person for your team. Knowing where to look is a major part of the challenge in getting the right person.

How to hire a headhunter.

Like every profession there are competent and incompetent recruiters. I recommend you use the exact same system to hire a headhunter as you would use to hire an employee in your company. After all, they’re an employee, just not a W2 employee.

Make sure the recruiter that you hire is a good fit for you to work with. Make sure your recruiter has some sense of what it will take for a potential employee to fit in at your company.

Oh, and you do have a system for hiring employees don’t you? If not, you need to start there and put a system together before you even think about hiring a recruiter.

What a headhunter won’t be very good at.

I find that headhunters aren’t very good at understanding your corporate culture. They’ll provide you with a list of qualified candidates who have the technical skill and have shown success in prior jobs.

It’s going to be up to you to use a hiring process that helps you learn whether your new team member will fit in at your company and will be enthusiastically willing to do the activities you need for success in their job.

It’s up to you for the next step.

Next time you need to recruit a senior member of your team, consider using a headhunter. If your recruiter is good at what they do, they’ll actually save you money and get a better person for your company. To me that sounds like a great deal. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.


Topics: headhunters, executive recruiters, Hiring

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