How Do I Become a Headhunter?

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The use of a headhunter was one of the primary ways that many human resource departments found qualified candidates even before professional social media sites like LinkedIn became popular recruiting tools. Some industries still prefer to hire the thoroughly vetted, hand selected candidates presented to them by staffing firms that employ headhunters. Headhunters are the first line of recruiting for staffing agencies, and they help to match qualified candidates to positions with their clients. Salaries for headhunters vary by staffing firms, but many are compensated based on set commission plans. Here are some ways that one can enter the unique career field of headhunting.

Specialize In An Industry

Taking a broad approach to recruiting is a sure way of burning out quickly in the staffing business. Some employee search firms have figured that out which is why many of them decide to specialize in supplying skilled workers to a single industry. Savvy headhunters take a clue from these companies and also specialize their efforts for the staffing needs of particular industries or niche sectors. The most successful headhunters have thorough knowledge of their prospective job applicants’ skills, corporate clients and the industry in which they operate. Deep industry knowledge helps them to identify job seekers who have the greatest potential of filling positions offered by their clients. That knowledge also enables headhunters to prepare qualified candidates for interviews by pointing out the particular skills that job candidates should highlight on their resumes and during their interviews. A headhunter who specializes in a particular industry can make the most of their time because they do not have to learn about the latest issues and challenges within several industries. They can concentrate on staying current in one industry and passing their knowledge on to their pool of job candidates who are only interested in employment in that particular industry as well.

Team Up With The Best

After choosing an industry in which to work successful headhunters often seek out employment with well known industry specific search firms. Most corporate clients do not work with staffing agencies who try to supply job candidates for all industries; these clients want to do business with staffing firms that understand their unique employment requirements. Some examples of well known specialized staffing agencies are Robert Half and Allied Staffing Agency. Robert Half provides employees and contractors to both domestic and international companies that operate in the accounting and financial services industry. Allied Staffing Agency does the same thing for clients and job candidates who work within the allied health care sector. Since these agencies already have established names and reputations in the market, they attract some of the better clients and job vacancies. Headhunters who work for them have an easier job of facilitating job matches that are beneficial to both parties and that earn them higher commissions.

Hunt Up A Mentor

Most headhunters learn the business by following in the foot steps of seasoned headhunting professionals. New headhunters can find mentors in both large companies and smaller firms. Larger companies may make more resources available to their recruiters, but the operators of smaller firms may invest more of their time into developing their recruiters as they attempt to grow their staffing agencies.


Headhunters perform extensive research about candidates’ skills, conduct interview preparation activities, help polish resumes and give career advice to candidates. A good headhunter will invariably give their clients 110 percent of their effort because they know that all of their clients could be valuable sources of income for them today and in the future.

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