One side of my family is from Montreal. They are proud French Canadians through and through. Some of my cousins don't speak English.

My old Aunt was a nun. English was her second language. Traveling through France, she quickly found out that the French felt that her French, the Canadian French, was in some way inferior, it wasn't 'French'.

And yes, the kind old nun was livid. How dare they?

Recruiting Dialects

Recruiting is like that. I'm a head hunter, which is recruiting. I know people who are third party recruiters who are extremely successful and are not head hunters. They are contingent recruiters. Large firms vary in process from small firms. Temporary staffing differ from Locum Tenens, and Retained firms may differ, or be quite alike. It all works.

Corporate recruiting is not head hunting, but it is recruiting.

I bring this up because we recently had the following conversation:

HH vs CR

Head Hunter: Please do not offer the job on the spot. Let me talk to her first.

Corporate Recruiter: I'm offering her the job. It's our company policy to offer the job on the spot. Why don't you want me to do that?

Head Hunter: Because she will have to think about it.

Corporate Recruiter: Do you make your candidates tell us 'I have to think about it'?

Head Hunter: Why would I do that? My job is based on performance. I want her to take the job. This is a passive candidate, tomorrow she has a job to go to. She doesn't need your job. This is a big decision, she needs to think about it.

Corporate Recruiter: Then why did she interview?

Head Hunter: I recruited her for you. She is open to opportunity and likes what she knows so far. After the interview, she needs to decompress, think about it. It's not a money issue, it's a career move that affects her entire family.

Corporate Recruiter: (getting angry) I know that, and I give my own offers.

Head Hunter: Please, let me do my job. We discuss the entire offer in principle before you write a formal offer. That way, when you present the formal offer, it is one that the candidate will accept, not have to 'think about'. The candidate needs to think, but let's do it before the offer, not after.

It's All Good

It's all recruiting. Corporate Recruiting has a process that works, and Head Hunters have a process that works.

In this instance, the Corporate Recruiter doesn't think that the Head Hunter speaks recruiting. The Head Hunter makes a living recruiting. So does the Corporate recruiter.

Corporate is paying us. This is our second placement in thirty days, and we have two more to fill. This Corporate Recruiter fills most of the positions, in fact an extremely small percentage are turned over to third parties. This is a solid, experienced recruiter.

Why does this happen?

If I call a plumber to my house I want her to plumb. If I knew how to do it myself, I wouldn't have invited her in. Why do some Corporate Recruiters fight the third party effort? Is this happening in your department? Why?

My feeling is this: When paying for a service, it's best to use the service. Even though you too, are an expert.

Barbara Goldman, is the President of Bio Brain Inc., and author of the book, "Offer Reconstruction, High Touch Recruiting® Methods That Work When Nothing Else Will'.

Views: 716

Comment by Anthony Caputi on December 16, 2014 at 8:55am

It sounds like you enjoy managing candidates and controlling the process, which are admirable traits in any recruiter. However, headhunting is not a dialect, and some of your argument strikes me to be a semantic dispute.

Comment by Barbara Goldman on December 16, 2014 at 10:10am

I LOVE YOU!  You don't understand my argument, you are a corporate recruiter, not a head hunter.  I love that. And, semantics aside, not understanding the difference is the point of the blog. I use 'dialect' as a metaphor. I don't enjoy managing the candidate or process, it is my job. Does a dentist enjoy drilling teeth? 

Comment by Mike Ruane on December 16, 2014 at 1:36pm

Barbara - Interesting post.  I can see where you're coming from, and understand most (yes, not all!) of your metaphors.  I'm an 'agency recruiter,' or was for close to 8 years prior to moving into a different role.  While recruiting is still invloved, it isn't my primary focus.  To your point, I have always viewed research on search methods, candidate (& client) research, and any other 'technique' to improve my skills as a 'must' to grow within the field. My view of a 'head hunter' doesn't necessarily focus on 'agency' vs. 'executive,' etc - but all-in-all, I'd say Corporate Recruiters likely aren't 'head hunters,' however, I don't have first-hand experience, so just my opinion.  To me, a head hunter strategically and proactively searches for passive candidates by using boolean logic in Google (as opposed to 'job board key word searches'), calling into companies based upon research, and generally 'hunts' to find talent (the hunter vs. catcher mentality) and must then develop a relationship based upon trust to engage the candidate, and then effectively 'sell' opportunities to them.  This is far more of a 'Consultant-type' relationship usually involving longer cycles.  In your 'Corporate Recruiter Conversation,' I could identify 100%.  They don't understand that we, as the recruiter (or head hunter), have put hours into developing a relationship, trust, and the feeling we have their best interest at heart.  So, without question, we can prep them for an offer - identifying any potential issues - and ensure they are closed before even seeing a formal offer letter. 

Again, this is from the Agency-side, and unless I'm wrong, I interpreted your post as saying an agency recruiter is not a head hunter.  

Based upon my view of a head hunter, would you agree with any of it?  In your mind, are there any key traits of a head hunter, or any particular reason that - in your view - agency recruiters, corporate recruiters, etc, cannot or are not, a head hunter?  Curious to hear your main points elaborating on your post.  Thanks, and thanks for your article.

Mike Ruane, MSS - Account Manager (Off-Site Engineering & Technical Talent), Key Technical Solutions; mike(dot)ruane (at) itskey (dot) com 

Comment by Barbara Goldman on December 21, 2014 at 3:55pm

Agency recruiters can certainly be head hunters. The sourcing process might be the same. I agree with your view of what a head hunter does. It's spot on. Not all agencies work the same way.

The relationship between the recruiter and the candidate is the key. Also, some agencies have a steady supply of applicants from which to choose. And, don't have to 'hunt'. Recruiting practice specialties are vastly different in process.

Corporate recruiters have a different kind of relationship with the candidate than third party recruiters. A third party recruiter is a middle man, the corporate recruiter is The Man.


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