The Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring Headhunters

Posted in Highlighted, Strategy, Tips

When you have job openings at your small business, not only do you want to find the best candidates for the job, you also want to find them yesterday. The recruiting process can be daunting, so many companies turn to staffing agencies to help them fill open positions.

Many small business owners enjoy working with headhunters, while others don’t find them to be all that beneficial. When deciding if you need help from staffing agencies, consider both the position you’re trying to fill and the recruiting resources available to you.

Benefits of Using Headhunters to Fill Job Openings

Staffing agencies consistently have a wide pool of job candidates at their disposal. Between those they’re currently working with and candidates they’ve done business with in the past, headhunters typically have access to the best candidates on the job market.

An example of the difference between having a headhunter fill a position, instead of your internal HR team is their existing connections. If you posted an opening for a position on your website or a job board, you’ll likely receive a fair amount of applications from candidates currently searching for a new job.

Likewise, when headhunters are hired to fill a position for your company, not only will they post it on job boards, they’ll also contact professionals in their network to see if they’re interested in new opportunities. This might make the difference between finding a suitable candidate and one who is the perfect fit for the job.

Filling job openings at your small business can also be very time consuming. Unless you have an HR team dedicated to this task, it can take a lot of extra work to take on. As a small business owner, you probably already have a full schedule and more tasks to complete than you can handle on a daily basis. The time-saving aspect of having staffing agencies fill open positions for you is also a major benefit associated with hiring them. If someone else is tasked with finding candidates to fill your open jobs, you can focus on your other responsibilities.

Staffing Agency Drawbacks

Although there can be many benefits associated with staffing agencies, they also come with some disadvantages.

Many headhunters aren’t going to be experts in your industry. You can tell them what you’re looking to find in a candidate, but they’re only going to be able to identify qualified candidates on paper. For example, if you’re looking for a web developer, it’s unlikely that your headhunter is going to have intimate knowledge of different types of systems and coding languages. It will be difficult for them to know if the candidates they’ve selected are actually good at programming, or really even have the experience they claim on their resume.

Though it saves time, ultimately being so far removed from the recruiting process can work to your disadvantage. Regardless of how well you describe your ideal candidate, headhunters don’t have a first-person glimpse into your company culture. A person might be passed up by the recruiter because they’re not quite as good of a match for your company on paper, but personality wise might fit in perfectly.

Staffing agencies can also charge high costs for their services. CostHelper says headhunters typically charge between 10-25% of an employee’s first year salary. It can cost even a little more for executive searches, ranging between 10-30% of the candidate’s first year salary, CostHelper says.

There’s no right or wrong answer as to whether hiring a recruiting firm to fill open positions in your company is a good idea or not. You might even decide to enlist the help of a professional for some jobs, but not others. It’s up to you to decide which method will result in finding the best person for the job.


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