Headhunting as the panacea for recruitment and selection of qualified and competent employees

Headhunting as the panacea for recruitment and selection of qualified and competent employees
Last Updated: June 22, 2022

    Whats Inside?

As the war of talent intensifies especially for high-level executives and many other highly skilled employees, potential employees need to build their personal and professional brands by leveraging on social media platforms and register with recruitment agents. Headhunting is a recruitment strategy allowing hiring managers and recruiters to target talented, potential candidates. According to Valkonen et al. (2013), headhunting recruitment strategy is a recruitment model employed to attract the suitable and best candidate for available positions in any organization. Therefore, "recruitment based on the headhunting selection process is built on the premise of recruiting and retaining the right and a quality candidate that enhances the human resource needs of any firm positively (Newell, 2005). According to Wikipedia headhunting is a specialized recruitment service which organizations pay to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive jobs across the public and private sectors, as well as not-for-profit organizations. Every company desires to hire a great candidate for their workplace. But finding the best people is not that easy as most of them would be already working.

Why your organisation should use headhunting as a recruitment method?

  • With headhunting, you can fill those vacancies that are otherwise almost impossible to fill.
  • It provides highly qualified and 


    hard-to-find talent for organizations
  • headhunters tend to have databases with sizable pools of potential candidates for executive positions or experienced individuals with rare competencies.


 What are headhunting Tips?

Even though there are many sources for finding candidates such as social media network sites, job boards, portals, it is not all that easy to get the desired and most suitable candidate.

  1. Clear Defined Job Profile

Before you begin searching for suitable and potential candidates, it is imperative to have a clear definition of the job role. Regrettably, some employers do not have job descriptions. If the job profile is not clearly defined, it will be difficult for the headhunter to search for the best candidate from the wide options available. The job profile must specify the duties and responsibilities, qualifications, key performance indicators, competencies, career advancement opportunities and proposed salary package. According to Finlay and Coverdill (2002): Knowledge, Skill, and Attributes (KSA), and fit or specifics, are the technical characteristics that give evidence to the employer that the candidate will be able to perform the task; they are usually defined in the job profile.

  1. Maintain a High Level of Confidentiality

 In headhunting, it is important to respect and maintain the highest level of confidentiality. Fish and Mack (2006), emphasised the high importance of confidentiality in the headhunting process. Confidentiality is of high importance in managing information from client firms to candidates and vice versa when acting as messengers, buffers, and mediators between them. Headhunters may produce a better way to process the candidates if they provide precise and clear information about their clients, similar to what has been called realistic job previews (Breaugh, 1983), 3 but they should always strive to maintain the client’s confidentiality if requested (National Association of Executive Recruiters, 2014).

2. The Credibility of the Candidate

The potential candidates must have skills sets that differentiate them from other equally competent candidates. According to Finlay and Coverdill (2002), potential candidates must have what is called “Hot Buttons.” They use this term to refer to specific skills and experiences that create positive signals for future employers. These include a high level of managerial knowledge and knowledge of the nature of the organizations. In concurrence with this line of argument, candidates should have portability of their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) and not be specific to their current organization (Groysberg, Sant, & Abrahams, 2008). They further stated that such characteristics are expected to allow them to replicate past successes in a new organization with a different set of circumstances.


3. Build a Strong Social Network

If you are a potential employee you need to create and build your personal and professional brand using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. According to Taleo (2010), online social networks have developed from a novelty to one of the most powerful recruiting tools available for HR professionals. In support of this line of argument Cappelli (2001), stated that the rise of social networking and Internet technology has forced recruiting teams within organisations to change, “the Internet is bringing radical change to corporate recruiting” According to Jones (2012,) social recruitment has “exploded in popularity and is revamping the recruiting landscape. Therefore potential employees need to be techno-savvy and always keep their hands on the social media deck.


  1. Register on Jobs Portal

Moreover, any candidate that needs to be headhunted should upload their curriculum vitae with various headhunting firms and establish good rapports with recruiting agents.


Based on the foregoing discussion it is clear that headhunting is one of the most effective and efficient ways of recruiting qualified and competent employees not readily available on the job market. It is therefore imperative for those employees who want to be headhunted one day to build their professional brand through social media platforms.


Africa, M. F., & Major, R. A., Jr. (1988). How employers can use headhunters effectively. Legal Economics

Newell S (2005). Recruitment and selection. Managing human resources: Personnel management in transition.

Valkonen J, Huilaja H, Koikkalainen S (2013). Looking for the right kind of person: recruitment in nature tourism guiding. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism.

Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC). (2011). 2011 HR survey. New York, NY: Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants


Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +0784 597343 or email: newturn@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants


Newturn Wikirefu

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