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What's the Difference Between a Headhunter and a Recruiter?

Headhunters vs. Recruiters. Which one do you need? What's the difference and who will get you to the top of "you're hired" mountain?

Both titles have grown fairly interchangeable over time. While there are probably more similarities than differences between these two professions, you may not realize it, but the roles are not the same. Both of these staffing professionals will help you find work. In fact, Recruiters and Headhunters will be your biggest asset if you’re in the thick of a job search; networking with these professionals should be your first step when seeking a new career.

Headhunters vs. Recruiters

What's the real difference between headhunting and recruiting?

The Recruiter’s Role

Recruiters usually work for one company. They function as an arm of the human resources department and their job is to find qualified candidates to fit open positions within their company. They often are on salary and may receive a bonus upon successfully placing a candidate.

If it’s a large company, Recruiters work with marketing to advertise an open position. They will often scout for new candidates at job fairs, colleges, or business-related events, which are good places for the job seeker to make their acquaintance. Their job is one-third sales, one-third professional networker, and one-third human resources manager.

Recruiters act as the front line for a company and their primary job is to find the right candidate at the right time.

If you’re looking for a job, it’s important to know that working with a recruiter is absolutely free. This makes a recruiter not only a great conduit into a new company but also an incredible resource in the job market. These HR professionals are excellent networkers and have a firm grasp on what’s happening in the job market.

Where Headhunters Hide

“Headhunter" could be construed as a derogatory term; the image it may bring to mind is of you, the candidate, with a big target on your back. But how can this be negative when the headhunter’s goal is to help you find a job?

Headhunters are professional Recruiters that can work solo or for a staffing agency. They work on contingency, which means they get paid upon successfully placing a candidate. Many times the company that engages the headhunter pays their fees, just like in the case of a Recruiter; it costs the job seeker absolutely nothing to work with these professionals. However, if you find a headhunter you absolutely adore, you can also hire them on your behalf. In this case, you would pay their fee when they find you a job.

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There's Also Agency recruiting

Staffing professionals often work for an agency like Artisan Talent - we call our professionals Recruiters or Talent Representatives - and they won't charge a fee to the job seeker for help finding a job.

Curious about working with us? Our firm is one of the best-respected in the field of creative staffing. Since 1988 we have successfully placed thousands of candidates in both long and short-term jobs. We’re ranked in the top 2% of all staffing agencies nationwide.

If you are beginning your job search, we encourage you to reach out and speak with one of our Talent Reps to start a conversation today.

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