I have a confession to make: I used to have a very low opinion of headhunters.
Did I really just say that? Yes, I did. Because in my earliest years of management, I thought I could do it all: find my own people, interview, negotiate, hire. I had the internet after all, and there were fifty million resumes on Monster.com. How tough could it be, really? I mean, why pay another company that much money to do what I could do myself?
I was able to do it, technically. I found people and filled my openings. And I did it again, and again, again…
I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took before the lightbulb went off. The problem wasn’t finding people, which was do-able; the problem was finding the right people. And I wasn’t doing a very good job of that, which is why I found myself dealing with a constant churn of people in-and-out.
It’s called headhunting for a reason: you have to hunt for the talented folks you want on your team. Another industry term I’ve picked up is “passive talent” – meaning the currently-employed people who aren’t looking for a different job, but might be poached from their employer for the right situation. Talented recruiters have the ability to do what I couldn’t: utilize their network to locate this passive talent, and convince them why they should consider you. I couldn’t find anyone who hadn’t posted a resume or applied for an opening, which is why I was never satisfied with my self-sourced options.
There are numerous other reasons to consider recruiters too. For starters, I could talk about the benefits of an unbiased third-party as a neutral go-between, or of having specialization in industries or personalities, or the size of their networks, or the sheer volume of sourcing that can be done if it’s 100% of the job. The more I worked with staffing specialists, the more I came to understand the benefits and appreciate the value they bring. I learn more every day!
So, count me among the converted – headhunters can help you find the right people. You know I’m telling the truth too, because I work for one!