21 Jun, 2013

5 reasons why you should use a headhunter

21 Jun, 2013

Whether you run a public sector, private sector or charitable organisation the benefits of using a good Headhunter will repay your business 10 fold. Whilst cost may have a major impact on the method of recruitment the results will speak for themselves.

So lets start with the basics. What is Headhunting? In simple terms it’s a method of locating, sourcing and attracting great people who are probably working for your competitors or at least in the wider sphere of your industry. A Headhunter will approach very specific people for a particular role and inform them about your opportunity. They will then be taken through a professional  hiring process and the best candidate will get the job. That’s the theory.

There are 2 approaches used by Headhunters; Contingency and Retained processes that offer entirely different methodologies. Contingency recruiters often use a database or their network of contacts to approach a few individuals and they generally work on a large volume of recruitment projects simultaneously as the fee is based on success only.

Retained Headhunting however is a very different proposition with more of a consultancy focus on the clients exact needs and requirements. There is always an upfront payment required in order to ensure customer commitment and also to cover the costs of the intensive research phase at the start of the assignment. A good retained Headhunter will take a detailed client brief then go into the market and identify anything from 20-100 candidates per role. They will approach and attract appropriate people and interview these individuals to ensure they are putting a relevant and screened shortlist forward to the client. It is normally at this stage the second part of the retained recruitment fee becomes due. Once the retained Headhunter has arranged all the client interviews and coached all parties through the process resulting in a successful hire then the final stage fee is due.

So why should I use a headhunter? Well the benefits are numerous but I aim to focus on the main 5 reasons why a good Headhunter will help your business immeasurably.

  • By using an experienced and reputable headhunter you will ensure that the shortlist you receive reflects the best your industry has to offer. Good people don’t respond to job adverts because they are too busy at work achieving results and hitting targets. By Headhunting  you will bring fresh blood, new ideas and competitive knowledge to the table that will not be locatable using any other method. Headhunted candidates are ambitious, unafraid of challenge or change and can sometimes bring teams and customers with them.


  • Confidentiality is often critical for clients particularly if they are trying to replace an incumbent. Good Headhunters will ensure that candidates sign an NDA to ensure all information remains in the right hands. All parties need to have confidence in the levels of privacy as there is a lot at stake if information leaks from either side.


  • Although the cost of using a top quality headhunter can seem initially expensive in the long run you will recoup the costs and ensure a ROI. Firstly by hiring the right person using a professional method can save you from making an expensive and time consuming mistake which can prove very costly in legal fees, severance packages, loss of customers, team morale issues, targets not being met and of course the cost of re-hiring a replacement. Any good Headhunting  company will offer guarantees in case the new hire doesn’t work out in the first few months and they should then source a replacement at no additional cost. Headhunting can be cheaper than advertising if you factor in the cost of an ad in a broadsheet, the time you are wasting interviewing the wrong people and sifting through hundreds of inappropriate CV’s without any guarantee of success.  A successful Headhunted candidate will already know your industry and often your business and products or service if they come from a direct competitor. This means training requirements will be minimal and they should already have the necessary knowledge, contacts and network to begin adding value very quickly. Also this will ensure a smooth transition for your own customers and team who will be impressed that you were able to attract such a high calibre individual.


  • Headhunted candidates see that an investment has been made by any company using a retained Headhunter. They will feel the quality of approach, experience and professionalism of the service and this will give them the confidence to get involved in the process. Also candidates see that the client is committed to the process and serious about hiring and having the resources to attract the best people.


  • Speed of hiring can be very important to some clients particularly if they need to urgently replace an employee who has unexpectedly left or needs to be removed swiftly from a role. Some headhunters can guarantee to deliver a shortlist of candidates in as little as 2 weeks. This is much faster than placing an advert, waiting for a response and receiving the details of disaffected and unhappy candidates who are keen to move for a whole host of reasons. If you have an urgent gap in your team then you need fast, high quality, confidential and extremely effective targeted results which only Headhunting can offer.