Headhunters: what are they and main functions

The headhunter is a key player in the identification of talent for companies that require highly qualified profiles. In this...
11 August 2022

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Headhunters: what are they and main functions

The headhunter is a key player in the identification of talent for companies that require highly qualified profiles. In this task, new technologies offer great possibilities to optimize resources in recruiting and attracting talent. 

This is the reason why we are going to talk about the functions of headhunters, their advantages for your company, and the headhunting techniques used.

What are headhunters?

The meaning of headhunter is quite simple: They are professionals with a solid technical background in the active search, identification, and recruitment of executives, middle managers, and other specialized profiles that are usually difficult to find.

Some companies can take months or even years to find the candidates they are looking for. Thus, talent headhunting is becoming increasingly relevant in recruitment since its objectives are to provoke, attract, retain and connect top talent. 

Headhunters for remote jobs

In recent years, headhunters have increasingly been turning to hire remote workers to fill positions within businesses. 

There are a number of reasons for this trend. First, remote workers are often more cost-effective than traditional employees, since they do not require benefits or a physical office space. 

Second, working from home can be more productive than on-site employees, since they are not distracted by workplace politics or other distractions. 

Finally, remote employees are more flexible than traditional employees, since they can often work from anywhere in the world. As a result, headhunters who specialize in remote workers are in high demand.

Advantages of having a headhunter

If you are looking for a professional with a profile of excellence, you will not only save time by leaving it in the hands of a headhunter, but you will also benefit from these other four advantages:

  1. They have a network of pre-selected talents.
  2. They know how to locate the potential candidate that meets your needs.  
  3. They carry out an adequate follow-up of the candidate throughout the process.
  4. They defend transparency in communication and the transmission of the values of your project.  

Putting all this together, your brand’s visibility is increased, making it more attractive to other candidates.

To understand a little more about the work of the headhunter, let’s look at some aspects of the selection process.  

Headhunters: what are they and main functions

Main functions of the headhunter

Investing in talent is to create and nurture the foundations of your organization. The head hunter will create communication vessels with your company maintaining communication throughout the process through: 

  • Meetings to consider open roles and job openings.
  • Periodic progress reports. 
  • Advice throughout the interviews of the pre-candidates. 
  • Professional advice if it is pertinent to reorient the profiles. 

To go deeper into the headhunter’s work, we would like to share with you 5 of his functions in the selection process.

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Defining the profile together with the company

The first movement focuses on immersing yourself in the overall vision of your company, its values, its culture, and its business strategy in the short, medium, and long term. 

This first phase lays the foundation for the rest of the selection process to be successful. 

By actively listening to your needs, they offer advice to help you establish the interpersonal and social skills required for the vacancy.

This process may require several meetings in which the headhunter will present you with a shortlist of candidates to deepen your understanding of what you value most in them.

Headhunters main functions

Market research and source selection

Depending on the profiles, he will start his search through different data sources such as professional contact networks, job boards, own databases, competitors’ companies, social networks, etc. 

In this way, we can understand that the talent headhunter confronts what has been defined as an ideal profile and the reality of the market proceeding to a first classification. 

First contact with candidates

In the first contact, the headhunter and recruiters will explain to the candidates the details of the job, and if the candidates are predisposed to listen to new offers – in case they are active – they will be asked for complementary information to feed the file.  

Depending on the case, the first interviews may be carried out in groups and individually.

Selection of finalist profiles

Depending on the context of the assignment, the headhunter – or the headhunting agency – will conduct further interviews and a series of objective technical tests to analyze the individuals’ competencies, personalities, motivations, and attitudes. 

Based on the results, a report will be drawn on suitable profiles

Negotiation and follow-up

As mentioned above, the expert participates in the negotiation of the conditions. These usually take place over more extended periods than in standard processes.

Once the negotiation is closed, the headhunter continues with a follow-up of the candidate. They can even extend the relationship with your company by offering coaching, onboarding, and training services. 

Headhunter techniques

Headhunter techniques

To guarantee the perfect match between your company and the talents, the headhunter uses systematic methodologies perfected and combined with the most innovative technology.  

Systematic methodologies

In the selection process, the headhunter can use two tools that you may not be aware of:  

  1. Gamification.  
  2. Big data. 

Let’s see what they consist of.


Gamification is the integration of game mechanics in a company with different objectives. Applied to selection processes, it allows the creation of procedures and programs related to human capital. 

Big data

Big data helps to fine-tune processes and enhance objectivity, allowing large amounts of data to be analyzed and segmented. Different technological solutions are used for this purpose, which we will discuss in the following section. 

Information and Communication Technologies -ICTs-.

The incorporation of new technologies has revolutionized the work of recruitment professionals. Most of them use some kind of headhunter software or tools to improve their functions. 

Some examples of the above are:

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), selection process management systems.
  • Human Resources reporting software.
  • Learning Management Systems -LMS-.

Technology is subject to security, which is why at Smowltech we have developed flexible and highly secure proctoring products so that you can offer environments that respect the privacy of your pre-candidates or employees throughout the selection or training tests you carry out.

Ask us for a free demo so our experts can explain how to integrate our technology into your procedures. 

Download now!

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