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How a Headhunter Can Help with Your Executive Search Needs

Finding an executive for your company is important for a wide variety of reasons, including company productivity, profitability, and culture. Whether It’s a C-suite level executive like a CEO, CTO, or CFO or it’s a regional manager or department head, putting the right person in the right role is absolutely crucial. But it’s not easy. 

Often, companies make the mistake of thinking they’ll be able to source and hire an executive entirely on their own. And while it may be possible, it won’t be a simple process. The choice to utilize an executive search firm is often overlooked, either because of cost or skepticism.  

The truth is that employing professionals to find high-level executives for your organization is the best course of action. And within that executive search firm, a headhunter is probably the person to turn to in order to help you find and hire the best executive for your business.  

What exactly is a headhunter? How are they different from a standard recruiter? And why should you use a headhunter for your organization’s executive search needs? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and see why a headhunter is the right choice for your company.  

What is a Headhunter? 

A headhunter is someone who works to recruit candidates with specific talents, backgrounds, or experience. Headhunters often recruit at higher levels, although not exclusively. In fact, executive recruiters are often thought of as headhunters. When you hear the term “headhunter,” it’s often referring to someone who recruits C-suite executives, such as CEOs and CFOs, for large companies or organizations. Of course, headhunters can also recruit managers, department heads, and other leadership individuals.  

It’s important to understand that a headhunter doesn’t cast a wide net in order to find the candidate they’re looking for. Rather, they laser-focus on specific individuals that they know would make the perfect fit for a particular role. That knowledge is based on the headhunter’s familiarity with the individual’s experience, personality, and career goals.  

What’s the Difference Between a Headhunter and a Recruiter? 

You may have read the above description of a headhunter and thought, “What’s the difference between that and a recruiter?” And you would be right to ask that; the roles definitely have similarities. Recruiters and headhunters both recruit candidates, get to know them and their preferences in order to match them with employers, and may work as a third party outside of the organization that is hiring.  

So, what’s the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter?  

Headhunters Recruit Top Executives 

Recruiters can recruit top executives, yes. But “headhunter” typically refers to someone who aims to recruit leadership candidates for top-level roles, rather than entry-level candidates for blue-collar jobs. To put it simply, executive headhunters recruit top executives and managers, while recruiters in general recruit individuals at every level.  

Headhunters Recruit Passive Candidates 

One of the major differences between headhunters and recruiters is that headhunters often recruit passive candidates. Recruiters may recruit passive candidates, too, but it doesn’t happen as frequently. Oftentimes, a headhunter’s job is to find a high-level executive who is already employed and entice that individual to come work for another organization.  

Headhunters Often Work Within Specific Industries 

Headhunters often work in the executive space, as mentioned above, but they also work within certain fields in the executive space: pharmaceutical executives, or technology executives, for example. They make it their business to know particular industries inside and out, allowing them to find the perfect candidates to lead organizations or initiatives within those spaces. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Headhunter for Your Executive Search? 

As mentioned above, some companies believe they don’t need the help of a headhunter for their executive search, that they’ll be able to find and entice these C-suite level executives on their own. And while it is possible, it’s not likely. The fact is that a headhunter will make your company’s executive search easier, timelier, and more cost-effective. Plus, you can rest assured you’re getting the right candidate for the job, every time.  

Let’s consider some of the additional benefits of relying on a headhunter for your executive search needs. You might even pick up some executive search tips of your own. 

Headhunters Are Experts 

Executive recruiters, as the name implies, recruit executives for organizations for a living. That means they’re the top experts at what they do. When it comes to something as important as deciding on the leadership for your company, you want to trust the people who really know what they’re doing.  

Consider this: if you used your own internal resources to find C-suite level executives, how would you go about doing it? Would your HR department be able to land an interview with the CEO of a Fortune-500 company? More than likely, you wouldn’t get a response. When you go through a headhunter, however, you’ll be able to gain access to top executives that you wouldn’t otherwise have.  

Headhunters have spent years developing professional networks and connecting with top-level executives at all sorts of companies. They can draw on that network for your business. And that means your organization gets the leadership it needs—and deserves.  

Headhunters Save You Time and Resources 

Attracting, recruiting, and hiring top executives is an expensive and time-consuming process. If you use internal employees who aren’t experienced when it comes to hiring these types of individuals, it will only waste more time and money.  

Another problem is that using the wrong people for the hiring process raises the chance that the wrong kind of person will be hired for the position. The cost of hiring a top-level executive who isn’t really right for the role is very high—and it’s embarrassing. High turnover in the leadership space can even impact your company’s morale and culture. When you rely on the expertise of a headhunter, on the other hand, you’re making a time-sensitive, cost-effective, and low-risk investment.  

Headhunters Recruit Passive Candidates 

As we’ve learned, headhunters most often recruit passive candidates, not active ones. That means they find people who already have a job, not ones who are looking for work. Think about it: top-level executives are not browsing the job boards, looking for a CEO position to pop up. They’re running companies, providing leadership, spearheading new initiatives. And headhunters meet those individuals where they are and offer something even better.  

The advantage of hiring passive candidates is that they will join your company because they truly want to—because it’s a better fit for them. That means they develop loyalty to your organization right off the bat; you’re hiring a candidate who is truly “all in.”  

Headhunters Can Fill Roles Faster Than Traditional Methods 

The executive search isn’t always a speedy process, but headhunters will get it done much faster than you would on your own. And hoping for a response on a job board posting is a lost cause. Thanks to headhunters’ large networks and their particular skill at sourcing top-level executives in specific niche industries, your organization will be able to find and hire the executives necessary to push business objectives forward. 

Headhunters Recruit Confidentially 

Dealing with top level executives can sometimes be a sensitive matter. Your organization may be planning on replacing an executive while they’re still in their role, for example. You want the search process to be as discreet and streamlined as possible, and a headhunter will make that happen.  

Your executive recruiter will be able to discuss what fell short with the executive you’re trying to replace, and they’ll work their magic to find a candidate who will meet the standards you’re looking for. And they’ll do it all without ruffling any feathers. That’s a good thing for your company’s morale and productivity.  

Need Help with Your Executive Search? 

Clearly, relying on the expertise of an executive recruiter has its advantages when it comes to finding and hiring top executives or managers. If you’ve been trying to find an executive for your organization with no luck, it’s time to change your approach. 

Looking for executives in the Dallas area? Need to change up your organization’s leadership or find a new professional for a top role? Contact the experts at PrideStaff. We can help find and hire the leaders you need to make a change at your organization or to lead your company into the future. And if you’re interested in executive recruitment specifically, our new division, G.A. Rogers and Associates, can help. Get in touch today to learn more and get started.  

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