What is Headhunting and how does it work?

Simply said, headhunters are recruiters, but not all recruiters are headhunters.  Another term for the work that headhunters do is "Executive Search" as headhunters literally search for candidates, who are usually, but not always, executives.  The Executive Searcher's client is always an organization or a company, never an individual.

Headhunters are paid by clients on either a contingency or a retained basis.  Firms who accept contingency searches get paid only when a search is completed and the hire is on board.  Companies that work on retainer usually get the bulk of their fee before the search is complete.  Contingency fees are, generally, for lower level positions and retained fees for higher level searches.  According to industry standards, fees, contingency or retained, range from 25 to 33 percent of the hire's first year compensation, which includes sign-on bonus, if any, base pay and estimated bonus or commission, if any.

"Don't call us, we call you" is most headhunters philosophy. As you look at the many paths available to you to find your ideal position, getting an interview with a headhunter is the least likely to move you closer to your goal.  Even if you should talk your way into a courtesy interview, it is not likely to be a fruitful exercise, as these recruiters are focused on finding candidates who exactly match the qualifications specified by their clients, not on finding jobs for even the most talented people. We at meetus@US work different, we love taking time to connect with you, we love to give you important career or interview advice and stay in touch with you until we have found the right opportunity for you and beyond.

How do other headhunters find their candidates?  One way, which is how you as a candidate most likely to find your next position, is networking.  Advertising or social media is another.  Research, through a variety of methods, including the internet and trade associations and other directories, plays a major role in locating candidates. We often network with our candidates before we have an upcoming job opening and since we are native Germans, we have a large network of German(speaking) candidates worldwide within different industries, expertise or career levels.

People feel flattered when the headhunter calls.  And there is a valid reason for that: these folks fill many of the world's most prestigious positions.  On the other hand, if you are not called, it doesn't mean that you are not the best in your field.  It just means that either your qualifications are not needed for a position right now or they haven't heard of you, yet! As a headhunter, we only can find you if you are visible for example if you have a LinkedIn Profile which is branded as described in our latest blog.

meetus@US is a boutique executive search and leadership development company of German heritage. Our mission is to recruit or headhunt the first and second management level or other key positions of the American subsidiaries of overseas (German) based companies.

We recruit Key Leaders (CEOs, Presidents, General Managers, Business Development Manager, Finance, HR or other executives across all corporate functions) and their direct reports, evaluate existing teams, help with succession planning and create successful teams from scratch in an intercultural environment. 

To select the right candidate is the most consequential decision the executives, owners, and shareholders of the parent company can make. With our 25+ years of experience in leadership development and working in over 4 continents, we are committed helping them to make the correct hiring decisions.


www.meetus.us or +1 (980) 833 3440 - monique@meetus.us

We want to find the best fit for your company, help your team or individual to have a smooth transition in the new Leadership Role or cultural environment.

  • YouTube - Grey Circle
  • Pinterest - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
  • Facebook
  • Instagram