How Can I Begin a Career As a Headhunter?

Research what it takes to become a headhunter or recruitment specialist. Learn about the education requirements, typical job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Headhunter?

Headhunters are job recruiters who search for suitable skilled professionals for open positions. They might conduct this process by actively posting listings or attending job fairs. They could also use the Internet or industry contacts to find people who may qualified. Once located, these potential employees are invited to join the company the headhunter represents. The headhunter might also be responsible for the hiring process, including screening, testing, or interviewing applicants.

If you're considering this career, you should have good interpersonal and organizational skills, and be willing to research and follow up on potential applicant sources. A bachelor's degree might be required by employers, or some amount of experience in a similar role. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree recommended for entry-level work
Key SkillsOral and written communication; organization; problem-solving and computer literacy
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (for all human resources specialists and labor relations specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $58,350 (for all human resources specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Qualifications Do I Need to Start a Career as a Headhunter?

Based on job postings on CareerBuilder.com in February 2015, you may need a bachelor's degree and 1-5 years' experience in recruiting and human resources to attain a headhunter position.

These positions also might require strong oral and written communication, strong computer and organizational skills, and team-building expertise. Other requirements could include the ability to gather data, maintain records, interact with multiple departments, utilize legal knowledge, maintain confidentiality and engage in effective problem solving. Additionally, you might have to prove your abilities to work independently in a fast-paced environment, to maintain a flexible attitude, to schedule, manage and resolve stressful situations and problems, and to organize/prioritize your work load. Demonstrating a willingness to give and receive proactive feedback is also important in this field.

Should I Pursue an Advanced Degree?

In general, a 4-year degree in human resources, business administration or a trans-disciplinary major is sufficient for an entry-level headhunter position. However, an advanced degree could increase your chances of being hired. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree, or even a law degree, is recommended if you'll be negotiating contracts or engaging in other complex labor relations activities (www.bls.gov). If you're interested in being a consultant, a doctorate is the recommended level of education.

What Job Duties Might I Perform?

Headhunters are responsible for a variety of duties related to personnel recruitment. According to the BLS, your tasks might involve developing and maintaining community and college contacts, screening and interviewing applicants, and learning and utilizing employee policies and labor laws. You also might be required to engage in extensive travel to meet with clients and prospective employees.

Additionally, human resources recruiters may be involved with general administrative work, such as handling mail, writing letters and managing payroll. You also might create, implement and trouble-shoot recruitment strategies, in addition to developing knowledge of job categories and skills, focusing on organizational improvement and overseeing various types of employees, including managers.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary?

According to the BLS, in 2015, human resources specialists were earning a median salary of $58,350. Job growth was predicted to be 5% between 2014 and 2024 for human resources specialists and labor relations specialists.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As headhunters are a type of human resource specialist, a similar job you could consider is human resource management. In addition to hiring duties, these professionals oversee many administrative needs of a company and serve as the link between management and other employees. Another option, particularly if you have excellent interpersonal skills, is to become a public relations specialist. This, like human resource specialists and managers, likely requires at least a bachelor's degree. It involves maintaining and shaping a company's public image through media and visibility campaigns.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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