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Headhunter vs Recruiter: What Are the Key Differences and Why They Matter?

Did you know that there are 227,827 recruiters in the United States currently and 52.7% of them are women? Most of these recruiters work for private companies, as opposed to public ones.

But what’s the difference between a headhunter vs recruiter? Currently, these terms are used interchangeably, but that’s not an accurate assumption.

To summarize, all headhunters are recruiters, but all recruiters are not headhunters. Keep reading to find out more about the similarities and differences between headhunting vs recruiting.

What Is a Headhunter?

A headhunter is a third-party talent finder recruited by a company to find, recruit, and fill any open positions on their behalf. They use a wide variety of means to find prospective talent, much like a talent scout would.

But the myth that they only recruit executive or high-level positions is false. They can be recruited to find recruits on all levels and positions. They might specialize in certain niche markets though and they get compensated based on the number of successful hires (commission-based rather than salary).

What Is a Recruiter?

A recruiter, on the other hand, is an internal employee who focuses on hiring and filling open positions within a company. But that’s probably not their only role in the company and they probably take on other HR tasks as well.

They get paid a salary and just like headhunters, they stay involved in the entire hiring process from start to finish.

Going Further into the Difference between Headhunter vs Recruiter

A headhunter does one thing and one thing alone – recruit. And they are more like salespeople rather than employees. But a recruiter is an internal employee who does many things and will be compensated on an annual basis, not on commission style.

But why does this matter? Well, if you are searching for a role in a very specialized field and having a hard time finding any lookers, then you will need to find a headhunter who is well known in your field and ask them for their help in your search. They are your compatriots on this journey because if they help you find a job, they get paid big bucks for that.

Whereas, a recruiter is going to be more concerned about the health and future of the company they work for, more so than getting you a suitable job in their company. If you fit in the role they are seeking, then that’s great. But if you don’t, they are quick to find someone else.

These Differences Don’t Matter Much When You Are Job Seeking

Perhaps you are thinking you don’t care much about the differences between a headhunter vs recruiter, as long as they can get you a job that you like and one that pays well. That’s true, but it’s good to know the differences between the two to know where their priorities lie, and which one you should hire for your specific needs.

Enjoyed this article? Don’t forget to check out other related articles on employment on our website.

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