For anyone unfamiliar, the term “Headhunter” has long been a staple term in the Recruitment Industry to describe someone who goes out and runs searches for organizations trying to find talent for Strategic and hard to find Job Openings. Prior to the induction of the “Digital Age”, these individuals were a highly sought after premium that provided an invaluable service to Organization Hiring Managers who needed to hire tough to find talent. These individuals would literally cold call into companies blindly without any resources trying to recruit people out of their current employers. The way these individual “Headhunters” would infiltrate competing organizations to find people was an “exact science” mastered by very few.
Now here in the New World of “Digital Age” the invention of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence, finding people for anyone who is not working in Recruiting is not only possible but actually very easy. Therefore the need for the “Headhunter” I won’t say went away but it definitely shifted things around. With the Internet it was believed that mass "Email Marketing Campaigns" driving candidates to apply for jobs into a Company Owned Database was not only the best way to find talent, but the most cost effective. In addition to Digital Technology, another methodology that organizations believed would be an alternative solution to hiring a "Headhunter" was outsource the entire Recruitment Function to a Country with cheaper labor cost.
Hiring Managers I'm here to tell you, its time to get re-connected with your "Headhunters" if you have not already. Something critical has been overlooked, the Recruitment and Hiring Industry has and always will be a People Business. Job changes are a very emotional decisions for candidates, even when it comes to leaving a job that they are not happy with. Even though the Internet and AI applications are great ways to find people, they are not equipped to deal with the Human Element of guiding a candidate through the "emotional roller coaster" to make the decision of leaving their current company to take a new job. That takes patients, understanding and counseling through those emotions that technology will never be able to replicate or replace from a Human Being. Plus the messages candidates receive through AI campaigns come off very generic and "cookie cutter" without regard for selling or "schmoozing" a candidate on a company or job to attract their attention. A really good "Headhunter" has the art of "schmoozing" a candidate and getting them interested in a job change down to a "science".
Earlier in the article I mentioned a shift of the role of the "Headhunter". The discoveries I made about missing the human element to recruiting, organizations also have made that discovery. Therefore for more critical searches they have gone back to utilizing "Headhunters". Actually Companies have taken it a step further. They are hiring their own "Internal Headhunters" called "Sourcers". The role of the Internal Sourcer is to do nothing but build pipelines of critical talent for their organization they work for and do Talent Acquisition Marketing. "Headhunters" great news, as long as companies hire Human Beings they will need you around to not only find these people but persuade them into a job change!
Steve Rosen-Sr. Recruitment Consultant