Headhunting & Recruitment: Is There a Difference?

Recruitment and Head Hunting are two popular words within the Human Resource sector. Whilst their meanings might be similar, the two terms are completely different and cannot really be used interchangeably. 

Understanding what these two terms mean can enable potential clients to pinpoint their exact needs and expectations from a HR firm. Let us look at the differences.

Recruitment is essentially the process of seeking the most ideal candidate from a list of job applications. A job advertisement is usually sent out and candidates send their applications expressing interest. The recruiter then selects the best applications and the candidates are invited for an interview. A shortlist is then sent to the client for further interviews or if it is in-house recruitment, the hiring managers select their best candidate/s or send out another job advert. 

Executive Search is what is also known as headhunting and in this case, the headhunter seeks out potential candidates with the requisite skills for that particular role. The candidates are then invited to an interview and a prospective candidate is sent to the client for more interviews.

Headhunting is popular among large companies that would like their candidate search to be confidential. For extremely specialized roles, it would be advisable to outsource to a search firm who are either specialized in the industry or have specialized search consultants. Executive search involves contacting candidates who might not be actively looking for a new opportunity. The process could therefore be more rigorous than recruitment and come at a higher budget.