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How Do I Become a Headhunter?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
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To become a headhunter, interested parties should seek out an entry level sales position in the service sector to gain experience, and move to an apprenticeship headhunting position once they have established their careers. Service sector sales positions are often willing to hire new college graduates who may not have a great deal of professional experience. They can provide sales training and support while the individual learns the techniques of persuasion and how to close a deal. Once that person feels comfortable in a sales role, he can look for new employment with an experienced headhunting agency that is willing to allow him to work one-on-one with a senior staff member. Through an apprenticeship, he can make valuable networking contacts with future hiring companies and learn the specific skills necessary for this type of career.

A headhunter or recruiter is a type of sales person who searches for talented individuals to place within companies that are hiring for specific positions. He must sell the new employee to the hiring company, as well as convince the employee that the new company is worth leaving their existing employer for. His responsibilities typically include cold calling, compiling informational databases on employees and employers in his field of expertise, and making on-site visits to clients seeking to fill new positions. Most headhunters tend to specialize in one particular field or industry, such as geriatric care, nursing, or property management, among other careers. This position is also commonly employed in the sports industry in which teams hire headhunters to scout young athletes who may be eligible to play certain positions at college and professional levels.

The skills necessary to become a headhunter are similar to those required to become a successful sales person. Individuals can build their resumes and learn valuable sales tactics and techniques by searching for an entry level sales associate position. This type of career path is often available in the service sector of the retail market. The wireless, cable, and satellite industries are a few examples of service companies that are willing to hire sales people with no prior experience and train them to make sales pitches and close deals effectively. This offers new employees the opportunity to become comfortable meeting with new clients, cold calling, and learning the art of persuasion.

A successful and experienced sales person can then become a headhunter through apprenticeship to an existing agency. This type of one-on-one training is typically undertaken by an experienced sales leader with many years of success in the industry. The seasoned headhunter can teach new employees how to find qualified candidates for new positions, and the best ways to pitch those candidates to prospective hiring firms. Recruiters can also build a repertoire of hiring firm contacts in their particular field of interest over time after placing a number of successful candidates. This lessens the amount of time a new headhunter spends searching for vacant positions, and can provide apprentice headhunters with a level of advantage over other competing recruiting companies.

Prospective recruiters can search for a headhunting agency by interviewing hiring companies in their select field of interest. For example, a sales person who wants to become a headhunter in the field of medical care may benefit from contacting hospitals and speaking with a human resources employee about the hiring agency they use to staff their teams. This interview process will help the sales person learn who are the most used headhunting agencies in his particular area and may even provide a source of contact through which he can begin an apprenticeship. He can also use this information to avoid those agencies with poor reputations who may not provide adequate training for new recruiters.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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