Besides the fact that headhunting has become a bad word in some HR circles, recruiting and headhunting are very different and are frequently used interchangeably without context. Recruiting is a passive way to source candidates by posting job ads online and reviewing the inbound applicants generated. We call this method “posting and praying” because there is no predicting who will apply and if they will be qualified. Online applications have made it easier than ever to apply for jobs with just a few clicks of a mouse, resulting in many unqualified candidates in the application pool.
Contrastingly, headhunting is a highly effective, proactive approach with outbound effort targeting only very specific qualified candidates. Imagine a pool of the most qualified candidates; headhunting involves contacting those people and recruiting them to apply for your opportunity. The result for clients is a pool of highly qualified candidates and confidentiality in the search process.
Both recruiting and headhunting have their uses, and when combined as an overall strategy, they are very effective in acquiring highly skilled employees.