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What is Headhunting and how does it work?

What is Headhunting and how does it work?

July 14, 2024

The high positions of a company are key figures for the good running of the company, because their actions have a determining role in the results of the organization and the performance and the occupational health of the workers.

Since their behavior affects the rest of the staff, they require a special selection process when they are hired. It is what is known as Headhunting , processes of selection of personnel destined to the executives or middle managers of a company.

Headhunting: looking for profiles of senior officials

As it is currently the case with IT recruiters (recruiters with technical expertise in the advances of the technological environment), the headhunters must possess a series of skills that allow them to specialize in this sector .


Senior managers and middle managers of a company differ from other profiles of workers because they allow generating sustainable and successful organizations and their influence on the company is greater for the position they support. These workers are a real added value for the company and a bad choice is a big budget expense.

When embarking on the process of selecting these positions, the headhunter should look for a very prepared executive, with extensive experience , that is capable of leading work teams and that has a flexible, socializing and transforming personality.

A slow process ...

The process can be slow because it is not always easy to find a profile with these characteristics , and the level of demand of a recruiter of this type is much greater because of the importance that the worker (or the person that is intended to hire) has for the company.


In order for the headhunter to carry out a successful process, it must know the requirements of the position and the organization in detail, and to minimize errors, it must establish, together with its client, the profile to be selected, in order to properly understand the situation and the needs of the company, the environment that the candidate will find and the problems to solve.

Professionalism, seriousness, social skills, leadership skills, self-confidence, dynamic personality and the initiative of the recruiter are very important in this type of selection process.

How does the headhunter work?

Headhunting is usually an option that companies outsource, since the hiring of high positions or middle positions requires specialized work. There are some companies that, in addition, have specialized in different sectors, for example, the legal field or new technologies. However, at present, headhunters are specialized in all kinds of fields.


After knowing the needs of the company, the headhunter must find the right person . The candidate must not only fit with the requirements of the job or place of work, but the recruiter must take into account how the company (its values, how it works, etc.) so that the chosen person fits in this one.

A different methodology to the classic selection processes

In the headhunting selection process candidates are not usually found among the CVs sent to the company, but an active search is usually carried out to get the right person.

Even, due to the difficulty of finding such specific profiles and offering guarantees, some professionals in this sector contact active workers, who are in companies of the same level of activity. If a company is successful it is because it has professionals capable of leading a project.

The headhunter must thoroughly evaluate the candidate

If the candidate is interested, he will be interviewed not only to present the offer , but to know if their motivations and needs fit with the position and the company that offers the job offer. The headhunter will evaluate the candidate's competence and competences through different personnel selection tests based on critical incidents, their competence, and their achievements and past results.

In short, their attitudes, motivations, personality characteristics, values ​​and, in general, their competences are evaluated exhaustively.

  • Recommended article: "Types of tests and personnel selection questionnaires"

The election of the ideal candidate

Some candidates will meet the requirements and others will be discarded . In some cases, it is the headhunter who makes the decision about the hiring. However, it is more frequent that the latter works jointly with the company to decide which candidate is better to perform the functions that the company and the position require.

Therefore, once the company has knowledge of the candidates that may be of interest to it, the headhunter advises the latter to decide who it chooses.

The most important managerial skills

And the selection of this type of professionals must be made taking into account the importance and influence that exerts on the company. There is a lot of talk about the difference between being a boss and a leader, because to be a good manager you have to be a good leader. This is only achieved by mastering a series of managerial skills, which are independent of the necessary knowledge about the area in which the professional function should be performed.

A manager can be a great economist, but may not have a set of skills that will help motivate his team. So ... what are the necessary managerial skills that the top managers of a company should have?

  • Problem management : is the ability to effectively manage and deal with problems.
  • Self-confidence : it is key to any interpersonal relationship and especially to direct work teams.
  • Decision making: a necessary skill for the success of the company.
  • Assertiveness : a style of communication in which the leader expresses his opinion respecting the other party.
  • Emotional regulation: the superiors must be emotionally intelligent.
  • Social and communicative skills: they must know how to communicate in an appropriate way.
  • Vision and strategic thinking : they must know where the company is and where it is headed.

You can delve into the different managerial skills in our post:

  • "Management skills: 12 keys to business success"

How To Work With Recruiters - Insider Secrets That Job Hunters Must Know (July 2024).


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