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Headhunting vs. Traditional Online Recruitment – 5 distinguishing differences!

All headhunters are recruiters but not all the recruiters are headhunters.

Online recruitment process and headhunting are two main processes the organization uses to find the right and compatible talent. Although both the processes may appear the same for many people, both services are quite distinguished.

Yes, you read that right – headhunting and traditional online recruitment are two different processes for any organization.

Highlighting the fundamental difference between these processes, it can be said that headhunting mainly concerns specialized recruitment, whereas traditional recruitment has functional nature. To get it more accurate, the traditional online recruitment trends 2022 can be handled by the company’s in-house team. On the other hand, headhunting is mainly handled by the company’s top management team, like the board of directors.

To get in the depth of understanding the significant differences between headhunting and traditional online recruitment, it is important to understand the terms individually.

Headhunting –

Headhunting is the process that revolves around finding skilled and best candidates for the executive positions in the company, such as CEO. It is a proactive process used by employers to find the best fit for a position, irrespective of whether the candidate is looking for a job or not.

According to industry experts, headhunting is seen as an advanced and much-needed recruitment process after COVID. If you are looking for a reliable brand name to help you find the most compatible and best-fitted candidates, Mount Talent Staffing is your destination. With our years of experience, we ensure the best strategic recruitment to find the ideal candidate.

The major uniqueness of this process is that it targets the employed candidates in rival and competitive companies. Also, mostly in this recruitment process, the candidates are not looking for a job change. As a result, companies generally offer competitive benefits and other appealing perks to convince the candidate to join their team.

Traditional Recruitment –

Recruitment is generally a process to source, screen, and find suitable candidates for the various open positions within the company. To be more accurate, the process often targets low-ranking positions rather than top management positions.

Recruiters can be termed as productive catalysts between the organization and the job seekers. They rely on various ways and methods to fill the vacant positions, with the best fit, in the organization amidst the wide pool of available candidates.

The general recruitment process just targets the active candidates. Its primary focus is only on active job seekers, not passive ones. This means that traditional recruitment targets candidates looking for a job or job change.

5 ways that distinguishes headhunting from traditional recruitment –

Headhunting and the traditional online recruitment process both serve to attract the most compatible and best talent for the company. However, the strategic approach makes the difference for both processes.

The top 5 distinguishing features of the processes are as follow –

1.Focusing activity:

The loss of hiring the wrong top management person cannot be put in words. It not just costs the company its time, money, and resources and affects its reputation in the market. This holds more relevance to headhunting.

Headhunting requires proper planning and strategic execution. Thus, headhunters usually recruit candidates using their extensive network or referrals from the top management. They target the passive candidates, which can be a bit of a challenge.

On the other hand, recruiters post about the vacant positions online or through job fairs. The process mainly approaches the active candidates available to join the organization; thus, it is not that challenging. It may not cost the company much if the hired candidate doesn’t justify its responsibilities.

2.Hiring positions:

The headhunting process is mainly used to attract compatible candidates for higher executive positions. Such positions demand candidates with many qualifications and skills and, as a result, need more time and effort. As finding such candidates can be challenging, it requires specialized recruitment.

On the other hand, traditional online recruitment trends 2022 can be relied on for filling the entry and middle-level positions. Also, it is not much challenging as recruiters can attract candidates with job postings on several platforms.

3.Required Cost:

For any organization, headhunting is comparatively more expensive than traditional recruitment.

Headhunting requires more detailed research, networking, and investigation, attracting more costs. Convincing the candidates with advanced skills requires high-end marketing, which again needs a handsome amount. Not to forget, headhunting targets passive candidates; thus, offering additional perks add cost to the company.

Talking about traditional recruitment, it only targets active candidates. As a result, it requires minimal marketing using minimal cost.

4.Methodology Used:

To target the passive candidates, headhunting uses a proactive recruiting approach. The proactive recruitment involves focusing on executive referrals within the professional network along with targeting employees from rival companies.

The recruitment process after COVID combines a mix of both proactive and reactive recruitment approaches to get the best leads. The traditional recruitment process functions on a reactive approach. Recruiters can either directly call the potential candidates or reach out to only those who responded to their job postings.


As headhunting attracts candidates with specialized skills, finding the best-fitting talent may take some time. Also, you need to analyze every single quality of the candidates before hiring them for the position. However, most companies rely on the staffing services of reputed agencies like Mount Talent Consulting.

On the other hand, traditional recruitment can be quick and less time-consuming. Recruiters can find deserving candidates from a wide pool of talent.


Headhunting and the traditional online recruitment trends 2022 are often used interchangeably; however, both processes have distinguishing scope and functionality. Headhunting and traditional recruitment play an essential role in supporting the normal working of the organization.

Understanding the basic difference between the processes is important to always find compatible talent for your company. If you have any more doubts, our team will delightfully help. Connect with us in the comment section.

All headhunters are recruiters but not all the recruiters are headhunters. Online recruitment process and headhunting are two main processes…

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