Why invest in a Headhunter before they successfully recruit a role for you?

A headhunter is a company or individual that works on behalf of an employer to help recruit exceptional talent. Companies invest in headhunters to find talented people who fit specific job requirements. Headhunters are also known as executive recruiters, and the service they provide is typically referred to as executive search. Some head-hunters are very specialist in the industry they partner and can work from a “black book” meaning they probably know the potential candidates needed by their clients. Other head-hunters provide a robust and bespoke service to research and engage with required candidates.

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Headhunters: An Overview

HR teams and, quite often, internal recruiters or hiring managers are often tasked with recruiting hard to fill but extremely important job vacancies. In some cases, either due to a lack of internal resource or because the vacancy will be very tough to fill, employment agencies or executive search companies may be used. Headhunters are usually retained to recruit positions that maybe challenging to entice sought candidates due to geography, a specific skillset or experience or due to confidentiality reasons.


Why Companies use Headhunters

Several factors will impact whether professional recruitment services are ideal for your company, including your demanding candidate requirements, urgency to appoint the role and in-house skills (just to name a few). Many companies determine that outsourcing employment services is the best strategic and cost-effective decision after weighing the benefits and drawbacks of hiring agencies. This might be due to a number of reasons, such as a lack of in-house recruitment resources or a knowing that the benefits of using a recruiting agency exceed the benefits of doing it yourself. Let's look at a few more advantages of partnering with headhunters to help you determine whether this is the best recruiting option for your company.


Benefits of Investing in a Headhunter Before Successfully Recruiting a Role;


Market Knowledge

A good headhunting firm keeps its ear to the ground and is well networked in their chosen specialist industries. They are well-versed in the state of the target job market and will be able to use this intelligence to develop a successful recruitment strategy for you. They are likely to be able to identify and entice your target talent quicker than you or a more standard, perhaps database or contingency recruitment agency can. Due to this you are likely to enjoy a good Return on investment!

Furthermore, perhaps you are entering a new market for your business and need to employ an expert to help figure out the competitor landscape and the talent they employ? Having someone who knows the ins and outs of your target industry can be a huge help.


Reduce New Hire Turnover

New hire attrition or turnover can be very expensive. A vacant position has several hidden expenses, including the time and resources required to acquire and develop a new employee — and if they don't work out, you'll have to start again with their replacement. When you choose a recruitment agency with a proven track record to help you put the best applicants in the relevant jobs the first time around, your retention rates and turnover costs go down. The disruption to your business well also be significantly reduced.


Driven by Results

A headhunting firm's purpose is to successfully fill your key vacancy right first time. It sounds easy but there is a lot to do which is very time consuming. In this current very challenging and candidate biased job market, it is not uncommon for a head-hunter to have to identify and reach out to 100 candidates in order to deliver a shortlist of 4 and fill your role. Head-hunters need to be relentless, innovative, and creative with their delivery of your project. Most also are not interested in short term client relationships and so filling your role is critical if you are to build an ongoing partnership.


Increase New Employee Hiring Rate

Want to get your new employee up and running quickly while still saving money? Through a streamlined hiring process, a professional recruiting agency can help you get talent up and running faster. Collingwood Search breaks the employment process into smaller, more manageable steps. We believe that recruitment entails more than just matching skills; it also involves aligning the organisational culture, personality, and aspirations of qualified candidates as they go through the hiring process.


Strong Network of Experts

Headhunters don't spend their days sifting through resumes at their desks. Yes, it is a part of their job. However, it is also their responsibility to build a strong network of professionals, both employed and unemployed. Recruiters attend conferences, seminars, and other professional events that provide networking opportunities, like individuals trying to expand their networks. This allows them to meet new people regularly and add them to specialist network.

You can certainly do the same. But how long would it take you to build a strong professional network in a new market? This is an expertise that the most resourceful headhunting firms have perfected. And, in comparison to novices, headhunters have years of networking experience.


A Wider Pool of Skilled Candidates

One of the most significant advantages of headhunters is their access to a massive and ever-expanding pool of candidates. Top-tier talent is attracted to a high-quality recruitment service, and recruiters are continuously working on expanding their professional networks.


Faster Turnaround Time

When companies need to create or grow a team, it's usually because they're working on a new and typically ambitious project. This requires juggling many duties. Headhunting services take care of the recruiting process, allowing team leaders to focus on the project at hand and what they actually specialise in!

Recruiting services can also fill a vacancy faster than you could on your own because of their expertise and resources. In other words, by using headhunters, your ideal team will form sooner, and the project will get off to a speedier start.


Better Access to Top Candidates

A high-quality recruiting agency and headhunter will not only attract more talent but also more top-tier candidates. Top-tier applicants are less likely to react to your outbound recruitment efforts, such as job advertising and social media posts since they are generally passive (i.e., they aren't actively hunting for work). Working with a recruiter is an excellent way to get direct access to these prospects, whose expertise and talent may be worth much more than the cost of hiring them.


Have Access to a Vast Recruiting Team

Unlike businesses that only have one or a few people (if they're lucky) to manage recruitment and staffing, a recruiting agency can have a significant team of experienced experts on standby to respond to unexpected or high-volume needs on-demand. There are two examples that come up frequently:

  • A client needs to hire a large number of people at once, but its HR department is understaffed to handle the workload. Within an agreed period of time, a specialist headhunting agency can mobilise a team to solve your problem
  • Our team is always ready to respond to a surge in demand or an unexpected requirement that would typically require the end-user (client) to hire extra HR staff to manage


Smart Investment in Multiple Situations

Perhaps the job market is overcrowded with applicants, or it is very competitive. Perhaps the position you're trying to fill is very specialized. Regardless of the scenario, the procedure requires a significant amount of time and resources. In any event, given all of the considerations mentioned above, a headhunter is the best financial and time investment for the task.

Using recruitment firms to fill new roles or grow a full team is a wise investment that saves both time and money. Why? Because recruitment firms have a lot of expertise and are well-connected. They should also be familiar with the market and have a large network. All of these characteristics of a trustworthy headhunter will work to your benefit.


Recruit from Your Competitors

As a professional staffing firm, we are aware of the concerns that come with hiring candidates from your competition. Businesses often have a "gentlemen's agreement" that prevents them from poaching employees from their competitors. While it is not an official regulation, unlike a non-compete agreement that a candidate may have with their current employer, it is a common industry practice that many businesses follow. In the end, this means you might be passing up on the ideal applicant for your open roles. We can recruit individuals from your competitors as a recruitment agency without your company breaking this unspoken agreement. Where you can't be bold and aggressive to retain your professional ties, our staffing service is.


Freed up Time

When you have to spend many hours on tasks like advertising job openings, sourcing people, and screening resumes, you lose time and energy that might be better spent on other tasks. One benefit of hiring agencies is that they handle the majority of the front-end recruitment processes, freeing up in-house employees to focus on higher-return tasks for your company.


Advice in Developing Your Hiring Strategy

Should you hire someone on a contract-to-hire basis or on a permanent basis? To reach your workforce growth goals in the next year, how many people should you hire? What talents and personality attributes should you look for in a certain position? If you're unsure about your answers to these questions, a headhunter can help you develop a future hiring strategy.


In-Depth Knowledge of Effective Hiring Practices and Methods

A high-quality recruiting agency will consistently develop its recruiters to find more innovative and effective methods to solve client problems and ultimately find the talent they need. Whether that be learning from industry leaders or investing in new technology, head-hunters are always looking for ways to improve and further delight their clients.


Head-Hunters Don’t Only Recruit at Senior Levels

Many people believe that head-hunters only recruit at senior levels. This is incorrect. Headhunting is really a term that has been given to a very proactive and targeted method of recruitment. It can actually be used to recruit any level of role.


When Should You Invest In A Headhunter?

You should invest in a headhunter if:

  • The job requires a combination of skills that are either extremely unique or industry-specific. Rather than a generalist recruiter, you'll need a specialist with the necessary knowledge and connections
  • The position is either business-critical or requires immediately filling. Perhaps a key senior management position can't afford to stay vacant for long, or those front-line salespeople must be hired as soon as possible to generate revenue. A headhunter's support and expertise will significantly reduce the time it takes to hire someone
  • You're looking for someone to fill a senior position (typically from mid-management and above). Because senior executives can make or break a firm, it's important to incorporate in a risk-mitigating recruitment process
  • The recruiting procedure must be confidential. You may need to replace a poor performer, or you may not want the position advertised to the general public or your competitors
  • There aren't many candidates for this position. This type of position is unlikely to attract many candidates via online advertisements
  • You are unable to do a search due to a lack of time or resources. Your internal recruitment channels may have been exhausted, or your HR team may require additional support
  • You want to offer your company a strategic edge by hiring the best talent in the industry while also weakening a competitor. Recruitment companies' search tactics are invaluable to find the top 20% candidates since the best hires for a business are those who are not actively looking for work
  • The company is now hiring for a newly created position. This job is likely to be beyond the Hiring Manager's expertise since it is a completely new function. A headhunter with the appropriate experience will be able to bridge the knowledge gap


Final Thoughts

The process of finding the right headhunter or recruiter to work with you may seem difficult at first, but once you have found one, they will be an invaluable benefit to you in your job search or career. For more information about our recruiting services, please contact our team on 00 44 1829 732374 or email our Managing Director, Doug Mackay, at doug.mackay@collingwoodsearch.co.uk

About the author
Doug Mackay
4 min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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