How to become a Headhunter

Published: 13th September 2010
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A good eye for skill. Your Head Hunter role would involve finding talented people that would be the best to work for your clients.
Research would be vital. You'd have to totally understand who your client is looking for, the job role and what they expect of the person. It's your job to then find the best individuals for the job.
On a daily basis you'd be talking to your clients and a number of people that you feel would be right for the role. Your work would involve negotiating fees and salaries between your client and the individual, and interviewing the top candidates.

You could work for various kinds of employment agency, job agencies that deal with a wide range of office based and commercial jobs, or for a more specialised organisation. You'd be dealing with permanent or temporary work at all levels for many industry sectors.


From Monday to Friday, you'd be working from nine in the morning until six in most organisations.

Your work would be mainly desk-based, but travel would be needed frequently in the search for the best talent. Meeting with employers is also likely and so a driving licence would be needed for most jobs.

Skills and interests

To be a good Head Hunter, you must:

have good communication skills
have a great eye for skill and judge of character
be able to gain people's confidence and put them at ease
be persuasive, persistent and patient
be of smart appearance
be able to cope with pressure
be flexible and adaptable
have a mature personality
have good organisational and administrative skills


Academic qualifications won't be necessary to become a Head Hunter, but having GCSEs/S grades would give you an advantage. More and more employers that deal with executive placements are now taking on graduates.

If working in a specific sector then a detailed knowledge and experience of the field would be extremely important and help stand you in good stead.


If you join a large job agency it is likely to run in-house training programmes lasting up to 12 weeks. These programmes will include on-the-job training and courses run by the agencies' own staff. Other agencies could send you on external courses run by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The REC offers two awards, available through distance learning:

The Foundation Award in Recruitment Practice. This would be appropriate in your first two years in the industry, or if you wish to refresh basic knowledge and skills. If you want to embark on a career in recruitment or set up your own agency, you could also take the Award.
The Certificate in Recruitment Practice. With at least one years' experience, this would be useful for you, or if you have less experience, but have studied for A levels/H grades, a degree or equivalent.

The REC also offers a range of professional development short courses covering subjects such as sales, interview techniques, employment law, finance and management.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development offers the Certificate in Recruitment and Selection, available through distance learning, plus a range of professional development short courses in interviewing techniques, employment law and psychometric testing.
NVQ/SVQ Level 3 is available in Recruitment Consultancy.


There are thousands of recruitment agencies in the United Kingdom. Most deal with office workers, but if your interests or expertise lie in a specific area, there are many specialist agencies also. If you work in a general agency, it is possible to transfer your skills over into a specialist placement.

Annual income

As a Head Hunter, your basic salary would range between 15,000 and 18,000 a year, plus commission. Once experienced, your salary would increase to between 20,000 and 40,000, depending on the organisation, plus commission.

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