A Skilled Headhunter Provides a Strategic Advantage to Both Employers and Candidates
In today’s job market, there are many different avenues for job seekers and employers sourcing talent to connect with each other. With the rise of online job boards and recruiting through social media, it is easier than ever for employers to get in touch with job candidates directly. Despite these trends, engaging a professional headhunter helps both employers and candidates with the recruitment process. Having more options isn’t necessarily a good thing. Job seekers who send in an application in response to an online job posting may find themselves competing with hundreds of other applicants. Even if you are a great fit for the position, you will likely struggle to stand out from the crowd to potential employers if there is nothing to differentiate you from other candidates.
Likewise, having a large number of applicants doesn’t necessarily make the hiring process easier for employers. It can be frustrating to sift through hundreds of applications and still not find a candidate who both has the necessary skill set and is a good fit for the company’s culture. In today’s tight talent market, an inability to find enough highly skilled candidates is in-house recruiters’ largest obstacle to hiring.
The problem that employers and job seekers alike are facing is that making a connection is easier than ever, but finding the right match for everyone involved is a whole different story, especially when it comes to highly-skilled and senior-level positions. That’s where headhunters come in.
Unlike internal recruiters who work to fill roles within a specific company, headhunters are independent, external recruiters who develop working relationships with both employers and a network of candidates to find the best match for both parties. Headhunters help employers effectively grow their talent pipeline to improve the quality of their hires, while also working to connect job seekers with opportunities that meet their needs.
The long-term relationships that headhunters develop with both employers and a wide network of candidates provide them with unique advantages when it comes to sourcing highly-skilled talent for senior-level and executive positions.
One of the most common reasons that job candidates choose not to work with a recruiter is out of concern that the recruiter only cares about the needs of employers and doesn’t have the candidate’s best interests at heart. Many don’t realize that there are many different kinds of talent acquisition professionals that all serve different roles and functions. A skilled headhunter, who is concerned with finding the best match for both candidates and employers, can offer both parties a strategic advantage.
Why Should Employers Work With a Headhunter?
Headhunters can help employers find the right talent at the right time. Because of the relationships that they develop with top talent, professional external recruiters are especially helpful when it comes to sourcing highly-skilled candidates for a niche industry or meeting variable needs over time.
There are a number of ways that working with a headhunter can benefit employers:
Since good external recruiters typically work with multiple employers within the same field, they bring robust industry knowledge to the table. They know the current state of the job market in your industry, and they know how to effectively attract the right candidates in the shortest timeframe possible. Headhunters also spend time getting to know your long-term needs and pain points so that they can proactively source talent that you may need in the future.
The experience and in-depth knowledge that headhunters bring to the table is crucial for employers trying to fill roles that require specific, hard-to-find skills. Rather than casting a big net and attracting a large number of unqualified candidates for you to sift through, headhunters know how to target the right talent with precision. A headhunter helps you avoid wasting time assessing candidates for mandatory qualifications, so you can focus instead on finding the right fit for your company’s needs and culture.
Speed and Efficiency
Skilled headhunters don’t have to start from scratch each time you have a new vacancy. Instead, they work to build a diverse network of highly-skilled talent so that when you have a time-sensitive vacancy, they can take advantage of established lines of communication to quickly connect you with qualified candidates. We’re not talking about a database full of stale candidates; headhunters maintain a real network of talented professionals they know and understand.
By connecting you with a network of on-demand talent, headhunters can also increase your ability to respond to your organization’s dynamic needs as they grow and change over time. This allows your company to be much more flexible and responsive than would otherwise be possible.
Sometimes situations arise where publicly announcing your newest vacancy or upcoming business needs isn’t the most strategic decision. It can be difficult to search for a replacement for an under-performing employee in a senior position, for example, or to source skilled talent in anticipation of a project that has yet to be publicized. Headhunters can help you source talent discretely so that you can be prepared for future needs even when those needs are confidential.
An important advantage of external headhunters over in-house recruiters is their broader perspective and ability to be more objective. Since they are working with you rather than working as your direct employee, they are often willing to be more direct and realistic. They aren’t afraid to ask you the hard questions or be blunt with the truth.
The most successful independent recruiters make it their priority to deliver results that are viewed beneficially by both the employer and the job candidate. The concept of winners and losers isn’t part of the headhunter’s vernacular; there are only winners and satisfied parties to the recruitment and hiring process.
Rather than single-mindedly pursuing the best candidates with a one-size-fits-all attitude, headhunters consider it their responsibility to understand the unique qualities of different companies and work environments. This allows them to offer candidates who are not only qualified but also have career goals and lifestyle preferences that are a good match for specific employers. In the long run, this approach of finding the right match for everyone involved leads to higher engagement, more productivity, and stronger commitment.
Why Should Job Seekers Work With a Headhunter?
Working with a headhunter can give job seekers a big advantage by helping them get their foot in the door. Even if you possess all of the qualifications for a position, it’s hard to avoid getting lost in the crowd when you are competing against hundreds of other applicants.
Here are some important ways that a skilled headhunter can benefit job seekers:
When you work directly with a headhunter, you significantly raise your chances of being noticed by the company you want to hire you. You may even land interviews for specific companies and/or jobs you had previously pursued but were unable to get noticed on your own. You get the benefit of the headhunter’s internal connections with industry leaders and professional knowledge.
Headhunters develop relationships with top employers in your industry, so they know about relevant employer needs before anyone else. A headhunter can give you access to opportunities that may never have been publicly announced as vacancies. This is especially true when it comes to senior positions and leadership roles.
Industry Knowledge and Feedback
External recruiters typically work with multiple employers in your industry, so they have strong knowledge of current business needs and trends. Headhunters can help you both direct your job search in the right direction and market yourself to your ideal employer.
They can also provide you with detailed feedback throughout the job search process. It can be frustrating when you don’t get selected for a position after an interview that you thought went well. The worst part is that you often don’t receive any kind of feedback about why you weren’t selected or what you could have done better. Recruiters are often able to follow up with employers on your behalf and give you feedback about ways to improve or new directions to go in.
Remember, recruiters want you to do well. When a headhunter recommends a candidate to one of their employer clients and that candidate is selected for the position, it is not just great for the candidate but also reflects well on the headhunter. When you are working with a headhunter, they have a strong motivation to see you succeed. This means that a headhunter can serve as an advocate who will help you highlight your strengths to potential employers.
Skilled Headhunters are Good Coaches and Mentors
Before a headhunter will present you to an employer, they spend quality time with you to gain a full understanding of your career goals, strengths and weaknesses. They will coach you on how to best present yourself, including improvements to your resume and your online professional profiles. If you’re dealing with a headhunter who isn’t willing to invest time in you, move on and find one who takes a personal interest in you.
If you find a headhunter who is willing to make the commitment to help you advance and grow in your career, consider returning the favor. It’s human nature for anyone to invest more time and effort into people who appreciate and value the assistance. Agreeing on a short “exclusive” period where you’ll only work with one recruiter will encourage them to work harder on your behalf.
Finding the Right Match
Not only can headhunters give you great advice on how to get a job in your field, but they can also help you decide what jobs to apply to in the first place. The most difficult part of a job search is often finding the company that is the best match for your personality, skills, and career goals.
Because of the relationships that they develop with their clients, headhunters have in-depth behind-the-scenes knowledge about employers in your field. This allows them to provide informed guidance to candidates about the best opportunities for their needs.
Employers and job seekers can both gain a strategic advantage by working with a skilled headhunter. The best external recruiters value the needs of both candidates and employers and make it their mission to develop a relationship with both parties. The goal is not to value the needs of one over the other, but rather to strike a balance and find the best match for everyone involved.
If a recruiter is only primarily concerned with employer needs and doesn’t take candidate needs into consideration, the partnership is doomed to fail. Not only will the candidate not get what they want, but the employer will also suffer as well. No company wants an employee on their team who isn’t happy to be there. The opposite is also true. A good headhunter is one who develops real partnerships with the employers they work with. By getting to know employer needs, headhunters are better able to serve candidates as well.
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