Attracting the Right Executives with the Help of a Headhunter

Last updated Jan 20, 2023

According to a Monster report on job-search and trends, 93% of employers were hiring in 2022, significantly higher than 82% from the previous year. 

During this hiring process, the most challenging experience recruiters faced were interviews – with 41% of employers citing this as their primary concern. 

Headhunters and recruiters resolve recruitment problems by scouting and selecting candidates that best fit the company’s needs.

The terms ‘headhunter’ and ‘recruiter’ are often mistaken to be the same, yet they represent distinct roles. Recruiters are responsible for screening job candidates and setting up interviews from a specific or broad industry. Headhunters, on the other hand, are skilled specialists who conduct executive searches to find premium candidates for top company positions.

High-level executive positions are too crucial to be advertised on any ordinary job site or recruitment page; they require a much more selective approach. This is where headhunters come in. These specialists are highly trained to find and recruit the best talent for your business. They are determined to find the most qualified and competitive industry professionals, enticing candidates to move from one company to another.

Companies can maximize the chances of landing a perfect C-suite executive and top-tier candidates with headhunters because of their expertise, networks, and excellent services.

Benefits of Having a Headhunter to Help Your Company

Benefit 1: Attract Passive Candidates 

Having an executive headhunter attracts passive candidates who do not often respond to public job advertisements. Passive candidates are often the hidden gems of a job search. They hold much-untapped potential, making it worthwhile for headhunters to make the extra effort in recruiting them. Headhunters offer the critical first step in connecting with these individuals and effectively showcasing the value they can bring to your company. 

Benefit 2: Exclusive Networks

Headhunters have exclusive networks from different companies and industries, making them critical in sourcing and selecting C-suite executives and industry-leading candidates. With these connections, headhunters can provide employers with a competitive edge by sourcing superior-quality candidates that might not be available through other channels.

Benefit 3: Cost-Effective

Headhunters reduce time and cost for recruitment by avoiding months of screening from hundreds of CVs from different candidates. Such professionals take great care in understanding their client’s essential requirements and narrowing down a select pool of individuals that meet the criteria. Your company can save internal costs from time-consuming tasks with efficient screening processes.

Benefit 4: Confidentiality

Professional headhunters understand that confidentiality must always come first, as it builds trust for both employers and candidates. Having confidentiality protects the recruiting company’s reputation from being untainted by gossip or leaks. As such, headhunters specialize in protecting employer information and will typically go to great lengths to ensure confidentiality on both ends is maintained throughout the recruitment process. This confidentiality can be manifested in various ways, such as through secure communication channels, non-disclosure agreements, and timely document destruction.

Two Main Approaches in Headhunting Executive-Level Candidates


A retained search is exclusive to a single partner and follows an incredibly meticulous and thorough process. It looks for potential candidates—those actively seeking opportunities and those who may be unaware of such roles—to find the best suitable ones.

Retained searches are an excellent option for companies seeking executive-level or C-suite hires. Retained search firms provide an extremely comprehensive service that offers access to their extensive database of high-caliber applicants. They utilize their vast network and resources to find the most suitable candidate while keeping the client’s confidentiality intact. The opportunity is also professionally represented in the market. Companies can rest assured that this approach considers qualifications, industry experience, and cultural fit when making a placement, resulting in a qualified leader who will enhance the company toward success.


The contingency approach allows companies to identify top talent on short notice. Contingent headhunters are expected to give a pool of qualified candidates and are usually compensated for every successful hire. In an urgent need to fill a vacant role, companies may enlist the services of multiple contingent headhunters to find their ideal candidate as quickly and efficiently as possible.

While this technique can be financially viable and quicker than the retained approach, it has been known to encourage recruiters to take on a “no strings attached” attitude to have a greater chance of achieving quick results.

Searching for the perfect approach, as well as the ideal executives, can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. Choosing from retained search, executive search, IT & analytic search, engineering search, expert search, to offshore solutions can be extremely difficult. Discovering CDA’s tailored Specialist Recruitment Solutions for your organization is ideal to ensure all your unique requirements are met and you get exactly who you need for your company.  

Qualities to Look for in Choosing the Right Headhunter for Your Executive Positions

As a business owner, you know it is essential to fill critical roles with the right people. To ensure that your search is successful and efficient, enlisting the help of a headhunter is exceptionally beneficial. 

Here are several qualities of a great headhunter that you need to consider:

  1. Niche experience in the industry. Excellent headhunters should be able to show a good track record of work. You want to work with someone who has a great network with valid results and understands how the market works. They must also possess a good reputation in the industry as it will reflect on your company’s image.
  2. A headhunter with a specialization is highly preferred. Experts in one field are far more likely to show results than generalists. Junior recruiters tend to romanticize the idea that having many markets and specialties is preferred, but generally, headhunters with expertise are more likely to show results and build trust. Look for a headhunter who specializes in a specific field, not someone completely unrelated to your industry.
  3. Sense of urgency. As competitors are constantly looking for top talents in the market, an excellent headhunter will go the extra mile to scout the best candidates. Top-tier candidates are hard to acquire; thus, a slow hiring process is never an option.
  4. Attention to detail and accountability. When hiring C-suite executives, excellent headhunters can comply with deadlines, address requirements, and provide insights to improve the hiring process. High-ranking candidates value confidentiality and personal information; thus, good headhunters know that the data they possess is precious. Excellent headhunters should also have a sense of accountability as they guarantee results for employers.
  5. Good communication skills and a good listener. These qualities are ideal since they enable headhunters to listen and understand clients’ and employers’ needs and conditions. A headhunter who can communicate well can persuade candidates to leap into a career or company with better opportunities. Conforming with professionals is vital to building trust and a good foundation.
  6. Manage realistic expectations. Having a candidate that 100% fits the qualifications is hard to achieve, and a good headhunter must be able to distinguish between essential and inessential traits to best fit the mold the employer is looking for.
  7. Great timing. Hiring a candidate who is currently employed can be challenging. Thus, headhunters with great timing can be a great advantage as they can spot perfect opportunities to scout and recruit.

Final Thoughts

Headhunters are crucial to finding the best executives for your company, as their skills and expertise in recruitment are undeniable. When looking for one, it is vital to assess the headhunter’s qualities that best fit your company and industry. 

Remember that headhunters are there to help your best business; thus, having trust and a good foundation is vital for your company’s success. Your success is their success, so consult a headhunter to maximize your chances of getting the perfect executive position. 

Need a headhunter in your executive search? CDA is here to help!

CDA offers premier search and headhunting services for executive and managerial roles. We guarantee to solve your executive recruitment with our broad geographic reach, a vast network of professionals, and top-of-the-shelf headhunters.

CDA uses a retained search approach to find your perfect executive.

When it comes to finding the perfect executive for your organization, Curran Daly & Associates’ Executive Search Service is unrivaled. We specialize in recruiting top-tier talents such as Chief Executives and C-level executives like the COO, CTO, CFO, CIO, and more -Vice Presidents, Directors, and Principals, plus additional managerial roles across the Philippines.

Solve your recruitment needs now with CDA!


By: Curran Daly + Associates


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