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Search Vs Recruitment

On many occasions Search/Headhunting and Recruitment have been used interchangeably. While they do share common areas, the concept of recruitment and search in today’s labour market has some distinct differences.

Recruitment in general refers to utilizing the main advertising job boards and/or candidate database searches followed by a simple phone or face to face screening process at agency level prior to introducing the respective candidates to the prospective employer. This process caters for fast paced, generic roles with little to no specific requirements that need to be filled with little time and/or cost involved. It however proves to be quite risky when this method is used for niche and specific technical or functional skills. The reasons behind this is that generic recruiters that hire for these roles have little knowledge of the required skillset or salary expectations or the methods of attracting such individuals since they tend to hire for all types of skills and requirements. The other aspect to consider is the fact that the avenues used to find the candidates in the first place are not the only reliable avenues to find high caliber professionals.

The concept of search and headhunting refers to a specific approach which utilizes years of experience in hiring a niche skillset. These specialists usually benefit from a well established and reputable network of connections and a range of search methodologies. This combined with today’s technology provides a powerful engine to target and find high-caliber professionals that are not readily available through recruitment avenues. The result for organizations that use this service is a reputable third party promoting their company within labour market while they spend less time during the screening and selection process. This in turn can attract better candidates to their company and save the organization a substantial amount of cost by avoiding the risk of a bad hiring decision.

Advantages of Recruitment include:

  • Cheaper when high volumes of recruitment apply
  • Fast and simple for roles with little to no niche requirements
  • Recruiters with generic skills can hire for multiple types of roles and skills
  • Candidates can be found through simple advertising or database search

Disadvantages of Recruitment include:

  • Marginally more risky when applied to niche/specific skills
  • Can damage company’s reputation by decreasing the retention rate
  • Takes much longer to find an appropriate candidate for niche requirements
  • More time spent screening applications that don’t meet the criteria
  • Can be highly costly if the process needs to be repeated due to a drop-out


Advantages of Specialized Search Include:

  • Hiring high-quality employees that increase the organization’s profitability and reputation
  • Marginally less time spent during the screening process as almost all candidates meet and exceed the criteria
  • Having information such as average salary expectations and points of attraction for candidates with specific skillsets at your disposal
  • Reduces the risk of a bad hiring decision and therefore increases retention rate
  • Promotion of your company by a reputable third party consultant as an employer of choice
  • Faster solution as it takes less time for a specialist consultant to find qualified candidates

Specialized search can be more costly in the short-term but is proven to save a substantial amount of cost in the long-term as compared to other recruitment methodologies.