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Headhunting Consultants for Your Business

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Business Small Business Personal Finance

The right staff will make all the difference to the success of your recruitment business. As the saying goes, ‘people buy people from people’, so to make sure that your clients recruit their staff from your consultants, you need to recruit the right consultants in the first place.

Headhunting is a popular, although often expensive, way to recruit excellent staff. Headhunting is used in pretty much all industry sectors and can vary greatly in terms of professionalism. It is a particularly useful tool in the recruitment industry as consultants tend to know a bit about how headhunting works and can act appropriately and react relatively swiftly. They tend to be wise to the tricks of the trade and either tells the head hunter yes or no, rather than string them along.

Many start up recruitment agencies initially operate with the owner of the business and perhaps a partner. As the business starts to grow, these two partners often have their own network of potential recruitment consultants to call upon. Without this personal network, or if previous contractual clauses prevent you from contacting past colleagues, you may choose to assign a head hunter to find your recruitment consultants.

Using a ‘Rec to Rec’ Company

‘Rec to Rec’ is a popular term, short for ‘recruitment to recruitment’, meaning a recruitment agency that specialises in the recruitment of consultants for other recruitment agencies. It is a fast growing business areas as recruitment traditionally is a high turnover industry so there is an ever-changing pool of potential candidates. It is a popular choice of start up recruitment agency as many consultants feel as though this area of the business is untapped in their market sector, or geographical area.

Rec to rec companies usually have a large database or network of consultants, some of whom are officially registered with them and looking for a new job, others they know could be tempted by the right opportunity. Rec to rec agency fees are usually on a par with other sectors of general recruitment, charging around 15 – 25 per cent of the first years annual salary of their placed candidate.

Using a Headhunting Company

Headhunting companies tend to be more expensive that a rec to rec company. They can have more ‘exclusive’ candidates, or candidates that are not registered at any agency. Rather than working on a placement percentage fee, most headhunting companies operate a ‘three thirds’ policy – they invoice for one third of the total agreed bill when the assignment is taken on, the second third is invoiced when a shortlist of suitable candidates is provided and the final third is charged when the successful candidate wins.

It does not take a genius to realise that you can end up paying two thirds of a rather expensive bill without a new recruitment consultant to show for it. Carefully choose and screen your headhunting company before you give them the assignment.

It is usually the very high end, blue chip recruitment sectors looking for high fee earners in a particular sector, such as investment banking or personal finance, that use headhunting firms – they can be too expensive and unnecessary for a small business.

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