Why do we still need headhunters? Will headhunting companies disappear? What is the future of headhunting, if there even is any? These are the questions I hear on a daily basis.
People are fully aware of business-focused social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, which has become powerful recruiting tools for many companies. Anyone can now have access to hundreds of millions of candidates, and for that particular reason alone, using headhunters sounds strange to many.
Instead of trying to give you a straight answer to the questions above and why companies are still using headhunters, let me give you a simple, everyday example. Why are we still using realtors when we want to sell a house? Because the fact is that the internet is full of online sites and platforms where we can put advertisements and make the sale easily by ourselves, “saving” a lot of money because we are not paying a commission to the realtor. Right?
Unfortunately, in most cases, that will not happen. The owners who are trying to do so just end up paying heavily. Mainly, this is because they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know the market, and they don’t know how to attract the right buyers or how to make the property and/or advertisement attractive. And, most importantly, they don’t know how to sell.
What happens is that they end up either selling their house at a significantly lower price or not selling at all. For potential buyers, it’s always much more comfortable to negotiate with a realtor than the real owner of the house. Realtors shouldn’t take sides and should be thinking about what is best for both sides of the deal, although I’m aware that in the real estate business, this doesn’t happen every time. Occasionally, realtors are just thinking about their own commission and trying to make the sale happen, no matter what. But that’s another story.
When you take a look at headhunting, you can find many similarities. Even though the companies could find the candidates on LinkedIn or somewhere else, do they have the knowledge, skills, and time to execute the process carefully? The amount of data that LinkedIn has (and this is just one channel) is huge. The first thing you need to know is how to filter the right and best candidates; another would be how to contact them. What I see and hear too often is that, on LinkedIn, people/users are getting messages that obviously have been sent to dozens or even hundreds of different people in the hope that someone would answer back, “I’m interested.” Those spam InMails that companies are sending, don’t do any good and just harm their company and employer brand. Plus, they lose pretty much every single candidate they’re trying to reach.
That realtor example I used, is pretty much why many companies are relying on us when it comes to headhunting. Companies do understand that headhunting is not what they do on a daily basis, and they are aware of the risks of what could happen if things go wrong.
Often, those recruitments that we headhunters are executing are super important, and our clients want to be 100% sure that it will be carried out properly and in a certain time frame, with the best possible candidates and results. They cannot afford for an open spot to not be filled or filled by the wrong person, which is the worst-case scenario, where companies end up paying a lot of money.
This is, again, pretty much the same when it comes to houses. People cannot afford for their house not to sell because often they have already bought another one. And what about if their need is in another country? Even for those who would be willing or capable of selling their own houses in their own country, the situation is a lot different when it comes to another country. Because when it comes to selling a house or executing a recruitment properly, either locally or abroad, the whole process contains many steps that involve knowledge of local laws, contracts, guidelines, etc.
So, yes, headhunters will still be needed, although the needs or requirements for those headhunters have changed a lot in the last 5 to 10 years and will be changing in the future as well. How? Well, I will cover that in another article.
Teemu is a Director of InHunt World and has been working in recruitment and headhunting industry since 2009. Teemu is from Finland and came to Spain in 2014 to set up and open new headhunting offices in Madrid and later in Barcelona. Since last year Teemu has been focusing to design, create and run the new InHunt World International Headhunting Network which already covers nearly 20 countries.