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What does a Headhunter do?

What does a headhunter do?

Headhunter searches, finds and recruits top candidates for the most important positions. Discover what this job entails here.

What are headhunters?

A headhunter is a specialized recruiter who mainly focuses on recruiting candidates for top positions. This professional works on behalf of a company, mainly using his network to recruit the right professionals.

Executive search

Headhunting is also called executive search. A company provides a clear job profile, after which a candidate must be found who perfectly matches this description. Unlike other forms of recruitment, headhunting is not about finding as many suitable candidates as possible. Often only one person is best for a position. Are you able to find the right candidate for a position? Then a commission is paid.

How do you become a headhunter?

Would you like to get started with headhunting? Then it is valuable to have experience with general recruitment. There are various courses where you get to know the tricks of the trade to get started at a recruitment agency. Here you will learn how to select the right candidates for an open vacancy, and you will have the opportunity to build contacts.

Then it is time to make the transition from general recruitment to headhunting. In that case, your network is your most valuable asset. A company only engages you when you can recruit for top positions, in other words, for the highest paid jobs. That is why it is valuable to maintain contacts with different companies and employees in top positions.

Which competencies does a headhunter need?

Several competencies come in handy when you choose the profession of headhunter:

Communication skills

Headhunting is largely about networking. You have to make contacts and be able to maintain them. At the same time, it is essential to communicate well with your customers. What are they looking for in a candidate, and what kind of person fits within the corporate culture? So it is not only important to have a quick chat, but attentive listening is also an essential part of this job.


If you work with the largest companies and key managers, it is crucial to act discreetly. You may hear sensitive information or discover something that could damage a company's image or employer brand. It is up to you to remain honest and to keep an eye on your client.


Have you found a candidate who is perfect for the position? Then the trick is to convince the person that a career switch is an excellent idea. Employees in top positions usually have it well for each other: good working conditions, a good salary, and a job that gives them satisfaction. What does the new function have to offer, and how do you best sell this transition? With the right persuasion, that is no problem.

Experience with negotiations

This quality goes hand in hand with persuasiveness. You have to convince a candidate to work for your client, but that also requires strong negotiation skills. What kind of salary can you offer and which terms of employment are reasonable? At the same time, it is vital to negotiate with your client. After all, you want to get a good commission for your hard work.

Where do headhunters work?

You have three options when you want to engage in executive search: work for a company, work for a recruitment agency (such as Fischer & Partners Recruitment) or work independently. Some large companies like to employ executive recruiters who are always looking for candidates for top positions. Smaller companies hire experts, usually through recruitment agencies and executive search with experienced recruiters. Do you want to take matters into your own hands? Then get started as a self-employed person and set up your recruitment agency.