5 Myths About Engaging a Headhunter

Adrian Robinson Recruiter
By Adrian Robinson, Toronto Marketing Headhunter

Last year, my colleague Carly-Anne Fairlie wrote Top 5 Myths About Headhunters/Recruiters, where she deconstructed popular myths held by job seekers about working with a headhunter.  In this blog, I will look at the issue from a client’s point of view, tackling some preconceived notions (some true, some not) about working with headhunters.  I will attempt to demystify some of these myths and provide some insight into the partnership between a client and a good executive search firm.

1. They Cost Too Much

If you’re in mid-eye roll, please stay with me; this isn’t a sales pitch.  Many clients think that the cost associated with a strategic hire is the price of an ad or online posting, but this simply isn’t the case.  The salaries and benefits of hiring managers and in-house recruiting staff have to be taken into account.  Time spent networking, reviewing applications, booking meetings, conducting interviews, providing feedback to applicants, and negotiating offers can really add up.  The time and process can also be mismanaged by employees who are busy and focused on other priorities.  Ultimately, this time could be better spent on the activities that generate profits for the company.

Also, direct headhunting has been proven to yield the right results, rather than simply the best direct applicant or best person within the limited network a hiring manager might have available to them.  Good headhunters are experts at qualification and assessment, and will help you make an informed decision that is tailored to that hiring challenge.  Ultimately there is nothing more costly than hiring the wrong person, and the right headhunting partner will help you avoid that… and guarantee their results.

Reputable headhunters are also ambassadors for a client’s employment brand, and are in the market on their behalf.  This can help to create a higher brand equity in the marketplace, which in turn attracts a higher level of candidate to their business, which has huge benefits in the longer term.

2. Using More than One Firm for a Single Search Assignment Will Yield More Candidates and Better Results

Multiple resources don’t yield the best results.  The RIGHT search partner does.  The results of a search are highly impacted by the quality of the relationship established with a properly chosen headhunter.  The vast majority of reputable headhunters who are in demand aren’t keen to take on assignments that are unlikely to lead to successful close.  If a headhunter is competing with another firm, then speed to delivery becomes the focal point, rather than the quality of candidates.  It can also affect the candidate’s perception because if they are called by several different recruiters about the same role, they may ask themselves why the employer needs this level of traction and ask themselves what’s wrong with the company or job.

5 Myths About Headhunters - Quality vs. Time

3. Recruiters Meet and Properly Qualify Every Candidate They Present

This is not the case with every recruitment firm and clients should do their own due diligence when choosing a search partner.  Many firms will claim to have vetted their candidates but the depth of said vetting can differ greatly from firm to firm.  IQ PARTNERS meets with every candidate they present to clients and go through a detailed qualification and assessment process.  It is the only way of truly qualifying a candidate as the best fit for the job from a skills and experience standpoint as well as from the team personalities and corporate culture alignment perspectives.

4. Headhunters Recycle the Same Candidates Over and Over Again

Good headhunters are connected to the top talent and there are some instances that lead to a candidate being considered for more than one job over time, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Every job is different, and the nuances of things like culture, corporate goals, personalities of team members, and so on are not going to be the same with different employers, even if the job title or scope of responsibility is.  A good recruiter treats every single search as a brand new assignment and does the full research and sourcing to ensure the long list is tailored to the specific needs and preferences of that client, for that role.  Also, a good headhunting firm will not recruit from active client business, so once they have placed a candidate, he/she is not contacted again for placement elsewhere.

5. Recruiters Are Only Focused on Matching Skills and Experience with the Job Requirements

The right search partner will take the time and diligence required to fully understand a client’s business.  This goes much deeper than a job description.  If they truly understand the business motivations, goals, challenges, potential pitfalls and/or triumphs, a good headhunter can identify candidates who will add greater value than simply doing an effective job in the role they were hired for.  Sometimes, the best person for the job isn’t what the client thought they wanted initially, and they’ve ended up hiring someone they didn’t think they needed.  A good headhunter will present options that are bang on in terms of spec, but a great headhunter can sometimes identify an even better solution if they truly understand the client’s business.

There is a wide range of professionalism in the search business, and choosing the right partner is key, just like finding the right doctor in a time of need.  There are instances where you can do it yourself (mending a scratch), but a greater need (setting a broken bone) requires the right professional solution.  If you want to ensure that each job is filled with the best qualified candidate available to the market, you may want to partner with someone who does this day in and day out, and has all the right competencies.  Do the appropriate diligence to find the best search partner for your specific business.

For more tips about gaining the most from your headhunter, check out our other Dealing With A Headhunter blog posts where common questions are answered by our Toronto and Montreal headhunters. Also check out Toronto Marketing Recruiter Adrian Robinson’s other blog posts and connect with him on LinkedIn.

IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver, We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.