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Headhunting vs Traditional Recruitment

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The process of matching the right person to the right job may not always be termed as‘recruiting’. Headhunting is another term used widely in this arena. As a matter of fact, recruiting and headhunting are used quite interchangeably. But both the activities are different from each other although the purpose is the same – matching the right man with the right job.

To understand the circumstances wherein a companyshould approach a headhunter or a recruiter, is important. It is thus crucial to know the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter to make the right decision. The following points explain the difference on the basis of certain aspects.

Types of Candidates

Recruiters generally aim to fill multiple positions scanning throughnumerous resumes. They deal with candidates who apply to their portal in search of jobs and as a result, the resume database that they maintain is the starting point of the recruitment process. Traditional recruiters are thus preferred by companies while hiring candidates for junior level positions as they can have access to a broad range of applications.

In the case of headhunters, they have a narrower but a deep approach. Headhunters do not rely only on applicants who have shown interest in a particular job role, instead, they also approach passive candidates who might be a perfect fit. Thus, companies turn to them especially when theyhave to look for candidates for hard-to-fill, confidential job roles.

Filtering Process

Headhunters are known to be recruitment sieves as they filter through applications comprehensively giving you the ideal candidate. They have a very specific approach due to which they focus only on the best out of the whole lot. On the other hand, traditional recruitment agencies are involved in the extensive screening of a multitude of resumes that they receive through their portals.Ultimately, you are given a list of shortlisted candidates that you have to interview to eventually hire.

As mentioned before, head-hunters will probably screen through all the applications to give you five of the best possible candidates.Theyhave a more targeted approach than traditional recruiters as they focus more on the quality of the candidate. They focus on providing fewer candidates with higher quality instead of giving you a long list of poor-quality candidates.


After the recruiters provide the list of shortlisted candidates to the company, it is their responsibility to interview and eventually hire a candidate from the lot. However, in the case of headhunters, it is slightly different. The interview conducted is generally two-way wherein the shortlisted star candidate is also involved in asking questions. This is because the candidate also needs to know more about the hiring company to have reasons enough to make the switch from the current company.

Cost Incurred

Looking for a star candidate in this huge market is definitely not an easy task. Thus, appointing a headhunter is a costly affair although it may be incorrect to generalise that headhunters are more expensive than recruiters. However, in many cases, the salary and other benefits that the star candidate gets from the company increases the overall expense. Thus, in a way, headhunters prove to be costlier than recruiters.

Companies generally turn to recruitment agencies for their recruitment needs. But the quality of candidates that headhunters provide is definitely exceptional. However, it all boils down to the exact need of the company. Thus, be sure to approach the right resource in the right situation.

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