Explaining the Difference Between Employment Agencies and Headhunters

February 3, 2020

Business Products & Services

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Not somewhere on the search for a job? Don’t know where and how to get out of this situation? Don’t worry; just find a trusted headhunter or an employment agency to help you with it. But, before moving forward, it’s necessary to understand the difference among various recruiting firms that are working to facilitate job seekers with their knowledge and exposure. 

Yes, it’s really confusing to point out the difference in services offered by recruiting firms because of their aim to serve clients with their recruitment knowledge and skills. Even worse, a few of them opt to interchange the terms, thereby adding more confusion in job seeker’s mind. So, how to specify these terms? What are the aspects that could help clients to distinguish employment agencies from the rest of recruiting firms? There are 3 important questions to always ask:

  1. For whom they are working?
  2. Who is liable to pay for their services?
  3. What makes them different from other service providers?

After getting answers to these questions, it’s time to figure out how employment agencies differ from headhunters and what type of services they usually offer. 

Employment Agency

When it comes to hiring a traditional recruitment agency, job seekers are rest assured about getting assistance at every step of finding a good job. Though, they have to watch out for those firms that charge fee from them since it is beyond their nature. Ideally, they must go for since agencies that used to charge commission from employers on each successful placement. It doesn’t make sense to take fee from job seekers because they are already not earning anything.

Search Firm

These types of recruiting firms might either be industry specific (like retail or banking) or skill specific (such as information technology, finance or accounting). Basically, they are divided into two main categories: 

  1. Retained Search Firm: These firms have an exclusive association with the companies. They usually work for senior-level searches for a limited time period to find the right job. As for their fee, it includes expenses and a percentage of the workers’ salary, no matter if the candidate is hired.
  2. Contingency Employment Agency: These agencies are only paid when the candidates are hired. They are dedicated to finding low and mid-level positions and used to approach as many employers as they can for each candidate. 

Headhunter/ Recruiter

Apart from a job agency, there are headhunters who are individuals dedicated to work on job searches. They used to approach candidates and try their level best to recruit candidates on new jobs for the firms they are associated with. 

Temporary Agency

These are the type of employment agencies who used to satisfy temporary work needs. For instance, temps are mostly hired to meet season work requirements or as replacement for permanent employees who went on vacations or sick leaves. Though, job seekers would also find a few agencies who are now working for temp-to-perm positions, meaning that they search for those positions having potential to convert temporary positions into permanent employment if the employer is satisfied.