How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Headhunter? Is It Worth It?

The existence and success of a business depend on the accuracy and thoroughness of the benefits. 

Leaders across industries have to make difficult decisions that maximize the benefits of their organizational strategies while reducing costs. 

If you’re considering working with a headhunter, the success of your decision will depend on carefully weighing the pros and cons. 

How much does it cost to hire a headhunter? What tasks do they perform? And is it worth hiring such a specialist?

Here you will find answers to key questions that will help you make an informed and balanced decision about your organization’s need to partner with a headhunter for executive search. 

Hire a Headhunter: More About the Position

The headhunting market is becoming increasingly heterogeneous. Global players are showing high growth rates.

They benefit from the fact that large corporations and government agencies are increasingly hiring exclusively international service providers because, for example, they want to assemble international teams.

A headhunter is a highly specialized talent acquisition expert who works exclusively with organizations that have openings for critical positions. 

They are hired to find qualified candidates on behalf of the client and are paid a commission once they fill the position. 

Headhunters achieve results by applying a set of specific strategies, technologies, and tactics. 

They often have comprehensive information about the labor market and job openings and can be useful partners if you are looking for a new position or are seeking to fill one.

Difference Between Headhunter & Recruiter

Both headhunters and recruiters work to find the right candidates for a job, but there are key differences between them. They have different roles regarding candidates.

When comparing these two positions, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Scope of Work

Headhunters usually specialize in one particular industry or field, while a recruiter should have a more general knowledge of all the vacancies available in the company. 

Whereas a headhunter can look for professionals in one specific role or subject, a recruiter must be ready to fill any vacancy.

This can apply to part-time to full-time positions in many departments.

Employment Status

A recruiter often works in the HR department of a company. 

A full-time employee posts the job on job boards and the company’s website and then conducts interviews.

In this way, they narrow down the pool of candidates and eventually hire the best person for the role

In contrast, a headhunter gets paid when the company hires the right candidate. They have nothing to do with the hiring process – they simply find the best talent.

Level of Urgency

A headhunter is ideal when the company’s need is urgent.

That is when the company does not have the ability or time to exhaustively search for candidates or interview many different candidates. 

A recruiter has more time to process several candidates and resumes and help a small group of candidates go through the interview process from start to finish.

Another difference between the two is that headhunters reach out directly to candidates to find the most qualified specialist for a particular position. They introduce the candidate to the employer.

Recruiters, on the other hand, select candidates, conduct interviews and act as a point of contact during negotiations and the hiring process.

Duties of a Headhunter

A headhunter works with companies and organizations to find the best candidate for a position.

Headhunters often do intensive research before contacting potential candidates, scouting talent in a variety of ways to find, select, and recommend the best people for the position. 

They research candidates who have applied for jobs, search professional networking platforms for candidates who fit the ideal profile, and connect with other people who have the right talents and skills. 

Even if they are not actively searching, headhunters convince them to consider a new opportunity. 

Here are some other tasks of a headhunter:

  • Find out about open positions 
  • Create campaigns 
  • Search for strong potential candidates 
  • Reviewing resumes and skills of candidates 
  • Create a shortlist for the employer 
  • Conduct interviews with qualified candidates 
  • Evaluate candidates in detail 
  • Present several of the best candidates to the manager 
  • Develop and maintain a pool of candidates with skills and experience in a particular industry

The work of a headhunter is often industry-specific.

For example, a headhunter may specialize in recruiting for the IT, entertainment, education, and other industries. 

Within their industry, headhunters may even specialize in finding candidates for non-profit organizations.

how much does it cost to hire a headhunter qualities

Qualities of a Good Headhunter

You’re not the first company to consider expanding your talent pool by utilizing the expertise of headhunters.

These professionals usually work in a specific industry and are looking for top-level executives.

Regardless of how headhunters work, they have a deep knowledge base, have many contacts, and know the type of person who succeeds in a particular position.

The main qualities of a successful headhunter include:

  • Deep understanding of individual industries and job specifics
  • Ability to identify new talent
  • Ability to analyze job profiles and identify skills in other candidates
  • Excellent people skills
  • Energy and perseverance
  • Charisma, persuasiveness, and negotiation skills
  • Headhunters are often in demand due to their developed networking skills and proven people skills.

A good headhunter will be friendly and approachable. They will already be aware of what makes a candidate ideal for the role.

They should also be good at negotiation, as an important part of their job is to encourage qualified candidates when they are already engaged in another position.

The goal is to encourage and intercept.

If they come across as pushy or unprepared when communicating with you, it could be a red flag.

Reasons to Hire a Headhunter

The position requires a combination of unique or industry-specific skills.

You need a specialist with experience and the right connections, not a generalist recruiter.

So, here’s another list of reasons you should consider before hiring a headhunter:

#1: The position is critical to the business or needs to be filled urgently.

Perhaps an important management position cannot remain vacant for a long time or needs to be filled as soon as possible.

The support and experience of a headhunter will significantly speed up the hiring process.

#2: You are looking for a candidate for a senior position (usually at the middle management level and above). Investing in the recruiting process reduces the risk of hiring the wrong person.

how much does it cost to hire a headhunter

#3: The hiring process should be confidential.

You may need to replace an employee who is not performing well, or you may not want your competitors to know about the vacancy.

#4: You don’t have the time or resources to search for candidates.

Perhaps your internal recruiting channels have been exhausted, or your HR staff needs additional support.

#5: There are not enough candidates for the position. There aren’t many candidates for this type of position from online job postings.

#6: The company is recruiting for a new position it has just created.

Since this is a brand-new function, the role will likely be outside the scope of the hiring manager’s expertise.

A headhunter with the right experience will be able to fill the knowledge gap.

#7: You want to give your business a strategic advantage by hiring the best talent in the industry, while also weakening your competition. 

A headhunting strategy will provide a greater return on investment in the long run as it allows you to find the best talent faster.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Headhunter

So, how much does it cost to hire a headhunter! Let’s delve into this question.

The costs associated with hiring a headhunter depend on several factors, such as the level of experience and qualifications required for the position and the specific industry.

Headhunters usually work on an ad hoc basis. This means that they get paid if they find the right candidate.

A company can hire several headhunters, but only the one who fills an open position will get paid.

Usually, they receive 20-30% of the new employee’s total salary during the first year (including any bonuses for signing the contract). 

However, the percentage can vary from 15% to 40% or more, depending on the company the headhunter works with and the type of position.

Although initial bonuses are part of the total salary calculated based on the headhunter’s fee, other compensation factors are not included in the total salary:

  • Relocation expenses
  • Sales commissions
  • Bonuses

When considering the cost of headhunters’ services, keep in mind that a higher percentage may not mean better service, just as a lower cost does not mean lower quality of service.

But it’s important to understand that the cost of headhunter services is an investment in finding the best candidate for the position, not an expense.  

how much does it cost to hire a headhunter

Remuneration of a Headhunter 

Companies looking to hire a headhunter can usually expect to pay in several installments.

Most often, this is related to the stages of recruitment.

For example, a headhunter who demands 20% may charge as follows:

  • 10% of the salary at the beginning of the candidate search stage
  • 5% of the salary after shortlisting the best candidates
  • 5% of the salary after the successful candidate starts working

There are also agreements between the headhunter and the client company in case of unforeseen situations.

For example, the client company may require the candidate to work for at least 2-6 months before paying the headhunter a commission.

Now you have a clearer understanding of how much does it cost to hire a headhunter and what additional expenses it will involve.

Hire a Headhunter: Criteria for Choosing

When choosing a headhunter for your company, you should consider not only the amount of the fee but also other factors:

1. Focus on the Person’s Professionalism

How to hire headhunter? Look for someone who specializes in your industry.

Headhunters who have close connections and several years of experience in your field can provide better results.

Headhunters seek to partner with candidates. Communication and honesty are essential. 

Building strong relationships helps candidates reach the clients they are trying to influence.  

2. Look for a Specialist with a Good Reputation 

A headhunter with an excellent reputation will have a positive impact on the quality of candidates that will be hired.

3. Ask Questions

Learn about the candidate and their relationship with the clients and candidates they represent.

Ask about what’s important to you, whether you’re looking for a job or a role.

For example, you might ask:

  • “How strong is your network of contacts with people in the legal industry, and how did you build those connections?”
  • “How many people have you hired for the employer you are contacting me about in the last 12 months?”
how much does it cost to hire a headhunter

4. Use Additional Search Resources

Some agencies and websites provide access to a list of thousands of headhunters and other candidates.

HireUA will process your request and find you the best candidates. This will save you time and increase efficiency.

Having previously studied the information about the candidates, you will save time and energy, as well as decide whether to cooperate with a particular specialist. 

The level of their experience or the number and quality of their network contacts may influence your decision.  

Each headhunter has their unique approach, and like any other industry, there is a mixed talent pool in this field.

Spend some time getting references and researching headhunters and recruiters in your field to ensure that their client positions will be a good fit for your career goals. 

Working with a reliable person in your field can benefit you throughout your career.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a HeadHunter and Its Significance: Summary

Thus, headhunting is not about hunting for fresh or new faces.

It’s about selecting experts for a top-level position. And then convincing them to join your company through sincere and clear communication.

Now you can use the information about how much does it cost to hire a headhunter to effectively develop your company.

Successful organizations will continue to rely heavily on the expertise of headhunters to stay fully staffed with the most talented professionals.

The talent acquisition solution of HireUA provides a complete web-based recruitment process that helps you easily search for specific skill sets, create job requirements on the fly, and hire candidates that best fit your organization’s needs and goals.

Overall, while headhunting can be an effective method of recruitment, it is important for companies to carefully weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages before deciding to use headhunters.

Book a call now and let us handle your recruiting needs with expertise and efficiency!

About The Author

Anastasia Marinich

Anastasia was born in Odesa and realized at an early age that her work should be creative & enjoyable.

While studying marketing in her hometown, she moved to Germany and continued her education at 2 universities at the same time.As the saying goes "Choose a job to your heart's content and you won't have to work a day of your life!"

Anastasia obtained a degree in Art and has a knack for it. She takes the same approach to writing. Each text is like a picture with a special message and mood. Everyone will find something useful for themselves!

Today Anastasia lives and works in Germany. She travels a lot, practices Ashtanga yoga, learns new things, and continues her creative journey with the HireUA team!
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