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Home » Roles » Headhunter


With today’s fast-paced and competitive job market, companies are always on the lookout for exceptional talent to fill key positions.

But how do they find these top candidates? Enter the headhunter. This skilled professional is vital in connecting organizations with the perfect individuals to propel their success.

What is a headhunter?

A headhunter (aka executive recruiter) is a professional who specializes in finding and recruiting top-notch candidates for high-level positions within organizations.

Headhunters act as intermediaries between clients and candidates, identifying and vetting potential talent.

Duties of a headhunter

The responsibilities of a headhunter cover the following tasks:

Talent identification

  • Source potential candidates through various channels, including professional networks, databases, and referrals
  • Appraise qualifications, experience, and cultural fit of candidates with client organizations

Candidate engagement

  • Build and maintain relationships with prospective candidates, fostering trust and open communication
  • Present job opportunities to candidates and guide them through the recruitment process

Client collaboration

  • Collaborate closely with client organizations to understand their talent needs and company culture
  • Present candidate profiles that align with clients’ requirements and expectations

Interview and assessment

  • Conduct interviews and assessments to evaluate candidates’ skills, competencies, and suitability for specific roles
  • Verify candidates’ references, background, and qualifications

Negotiation and placement

  • Facilitate negotiations between clients and candidates, including salary discussions and offer acceptance
  • Ensure a smooth transition for candidates as they join their new organizations

Skills and requirements needed in a headhunter

An excellent headhunter has the following certain skills and attributes:

  • Networking abilities. Headhunters have exceptional networking skills to build a strong pool of candidates and client relationships.
  • Communication. A headhunter has effective written and verbal communication skills to engage candidates and clients.
  • Negotiation skills. Executive recruiters have strong negotiation skills to facilitate mutually beneficial agreements.
  • Industry knowledge. They have in-depth knowledge of the industries they recruit for, including market trends and competition.
  • Time management. They should have excellent time management skills to handle multiple searches and meet deadlines effectively.
  • Cultural fit assessment. A headhunter has the ability to assess candidates for cultural fit within client organizations and ensure alignment with values and workplace dynamics.
  • Technological proficiency. Recruiters should be proficient in recruitment software and platforms for candidate sourcing, tracking, and data management.
  • Problem-solving. Headhunters have strong problem-solving skills to address challenges that may arise during the recruitment process, like candidate withdrawals or counteroffers.

Where to hire a headhunter

When it comes to hiring a headhunter, there are several avenues you can explore:

1. Recruitment agencies

Many reputable recruitment agencies have specialized headhunting divisions. These agencies have a network of qualified and experienced headhunters who can help you find the right candidates for your organization.

Examples of such agencies include Korn Ferry and Spencer Stuart.

2. Professional networks

Leveraging your professional network can be an effective way to find experienced headhunters. 

Reach out to industry associations, business contacts, or professionals who have previously worked with executive recruiters. They may be able to give you referrals or recommendations.

3. Online platforms

Numerous online platforms connect employers with headhunters. Websites like LinkedIn offer directories and search filters specifically designed for headhunter profiles.

You can review their credentials, experience, and client feedback to identify the most suitable executive recruiters for your needs.

4. Industry events and conferences

Attending industry events and conferences focused on talent acquisition can be a great way to meet and connect with headhunters.

These events often feature panels, workshops, and networking sessions. You can interact with executive recruiters there, learn more about their expertise, and assess their suitability for your organization.

Salary comparison for a headhunter

The salary of headhunters can differ depending on their respective experience, location of work, and specific industry.

According to Salary.com and Salary Explorer, headhunters’ annual pay range in the United States and the Philippines are:


On-site vs. Remote setup for a headhunter

Headhunting is a profession that offers flexibility in terms of work setup. Some headhunters work in-office, collaborating closely with clients and colleagues.

Others prefer a remote setup and use technology to connect with clients and candidates globally.

The decision between on-site and remote work depends on personal preference and the needs of the clients being served.

Headhunter job description template

We have created a job description template you can use when crafting job listings for headhunter positions. This template outlines key responsibilities, qualifications, and skills necessary for success in this role.

Feel free to use it to save time and ensure that you attract the most qualified headhunters to join your team.

You can also refer to these interview questions you can ask headhunter candidates to help you with the hiring process. Use them as a guide to inform you which potential headhunters will suit your team and company the best.

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

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