“What employers look for these days are more skill-specific individuals. That’s where headhunting becomes the best option for businesses, ” says Carla Jill Masalonga, a Staffing Consultant for Kelly Services Canada Ltd. and a former HR for NGA Human Resources here in the Philippines.
Headhunting is a recruitment process which involves a more aggressive approach to targeting and screening highly skilled individuals to work for a company. This process is done by professional headhunters, who generally work on a contractual basis for the company that’s looking to hire.
How do you find the people you need?
Masalonga explains that the main difference between headhunting and traditional recruitment is that the former is usually an outsourced service, as compared to the latter, which is usually a part of a company’s structure.
The table below is a more detailed analysis of how these two processes vary.
HEADHUNGTING VS. TRADITIONAL RECRUITMENT. Infographic text by Melanie Libatique, design by Ivy Pangilinan. Click to enlarge.
Headhunting is on the rise
This method of recruitment has become a steady trend for the past five years or so.
“More than being a process, it’s become a strategy for sourcing,” states Masalonga.
Social media and the Internet also have a lot to do with the recent evolution of seeking and hiring skilled professionals because access to potential hires is more open and available. The addition of online portfolios has also created a channel for headhunters to be on the constant lookout for talents they can connect with and recommend for seekers.
But for most of the time, Masalonga says, headhunting is the recruitment method of choice because of lower costs.
Headhunting agencies have begun sprouting all over cosmopolitan areas, and have even developed their own training for people who wish to become headhunters.
“It’s become a trade of its own,” states Masalonga.
When to call in a headhunter
According to Masalonga, headhunting services are mostly procured when high level positions need to be filled. Such positions require individuals with very specific skills and professional experiences. As mentioned, headhunting is a more aggressive approach to acquiring people for a job, which can also sometimes mean approaching the targeted individual while they are currently affiliated with another company. Equating headhunting to “poaching” can be positive and negative—positive for professionals and the company that acquired them, but negative for businesses that lose their people.
Nonetheless, it creates a dynamic and competitive market across all industries. As a result, professionals aim for higher standards and businesses provide better benefits and compensation for their employees.
Because it has become a trade, headhunting firms can often assign agents with only minor training and background. As an outcome, businesses risk mismatches or acquiring under-qualified persons for a crucial position. Given that possibility, Masalonga advises businesses to stick with headhunters or agencies with an established reputation and confirmed credentials.
Other than this, headhunting is a legitimate and strategic step for businesses that want the best people to grow their brand.