What Does a Headhunter Do?

what does a headhunter do

What is a headhunter?

If you’re searching for a job, you may have encountered the term “headhunter” before. While this may sound a bit violent, it’s not.

To understand what a headhunter is, what they do, and why they might be your new best friend, read the information below.

Questions Answered:

  • What is a headhunter?
  • Other names for headhunters
  • Is it a good thing if a headhunter contacts me?
  • How do headhunters make money?

What Is a Headhunter?

A headhunter is a company employee or freelancer who works with the HR department or talent acquisition team to appropriately fill open jobs with quality applicants. They are often referred to as recruiters.

Large companies often have a retained recruiter or headhunter on the payroll within their HR department. They actively maintain the applicant pool, whether there’s an open position or not. 

Some headhunters work for themselves, so they are hired directly by a company looking to fill a vacant position. These headhunters often work as independent contractors and may be hunting for multiple companies at once. 

Many businesses will also utilize a recruiting agency to fill their open positions. When this occurs, a headhunter (recruiter) will be assigned to them.

“50% of candidates say they would not work for a company with a bad reputation, even if the pay increase were substantial.”

— Harvard Business Review

Other Names For Headhunters

Headhunters can operate under many pseudonyms. If you hear any of the below titles, they are other names used to refer to headhunters.

  • Recruiter
  • Executive Recruiter
  • Corporate Recruiter
  • Internal Recruiter
  • Talent Agent
  • Talent Scout
  • Talent Spotter
  • Talent Acquisition Expert
  • Career Development Strategist
  • Career Consultant
  • Career Counselor
  • Career Advisor
  • Personnel Agent
  • Placement Consultant
  • Candidate Attraction Specialist
  • Sourcing Consultant
  • Sourcing Specialist
  • Sourcing Advisor
  • Workforce Specialist


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it a good thing if a headhunter contacts me?

If a headhunter contacts you, it means something on your resume or job profile made them think you would be a suitable candidate for an open position. 

When a headhunter contacts you, they’ll likely try to gauge your interest and experience and then set up an interview with the company to fill the position. 

How do headhunters make money?

Company headhunters are typically on the payroll.

Those who work for a staffing, recruitment, or headhunting agency can be paid regularly or work off commission.

And self-employed headhunters typically work solely off commission, meaning they don’t get paid until they find a suitable candidate to fill the position. 

What tools do headhunters/recruiters use?

Recruiters, also known as talent acquisition professionals, use various tools to identify, attract, and hire top-level talent for their organizations. Some standard tools that recruiters use include:

  • Job boards: Recruiters often use job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster to advertise open positions and attract job seekers.
  • Social media: Recruiters may use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with potential candidates and promote open positions.
  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS): These software programs help recruiters manage the job application process, including tracking resumes and applications, scheduling interviews, and communicating with candidates.
  • Video conferencing tools: Recruiters may use video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet to conduct interviews and other meetings with candidates remotely.
  • Referral programs: Many organizations have referral programs to encourage employees to refer qualified candidates for open positions. Recruiters may use these programs to identify potential candidates.

Overall, recruiters use various tools and resources to find and hire top-level talent for their organizations.

Wrapping Up | What is a Headhunter

Finding a quality recruiter/headhunter is a great way to match qualified applicants with open positions. They can save both candidates’ and organizations’ time by streamlining the process and reducing the need for all that leg work on both ends.

If you’re an employer looking to kick your talent acquisition process into gear or a candidate looking for your next great career opportunity, reach out to a headhunter.

We hope this helps, and best of luck in your job search!


Title: What is a headhunter?

Category: Career Resources

Tags: what is a headhunter, what does a headhunter do, what are other names for headhunter, is a headhunter the same as a recruiter, headhunter what is

Co-Author: Becky is a contributor for theJub. She’s a writing and talent acquisition specialist who loves to apply her skills through creative writing and editing.

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