Pretty much everyone would agree that the best job search would be no job search at all. Imagine you had someone to do the work for you, or better yet, the jobs simply came to you? Welcome to the world of corporate recruiters and headhunters. All across the country, headhunters are looking for top talent to join their client companies. While they may seem like a dream come true, you should still be aware of exactly who you’re working with and how they can help you succeed.

What’s the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter?

The main difference between a headhunter and a recruiter comes down to who they work for. Headhunters generally work for staffing agencies that are hired by companies to help them fill open positions. Recruiters, on the other hand, are more likely to work directly for the companies that are hiring. The distinction is somewhat semantic, but it’s worth knowing who you’re dealing with for a number of reasons.

Why does it matter who is recruiting me?

Headhunters are often brought in to fill positions of great need, leading to quicker turnaround times for interviews. Because the headhunter’s agency likely doesn’t get paid until the position is filled, they will look to move everything along quickly, which could be helpful or harmful depending on your situation. Headhunters might also not have as much information as an in-house recruiter who will know more about the operations of the company and how the open position functions in the larger team. Recruiters may have more time and expertise to answer any of your questions if you’re feeling on the fence about a particular company and need more information.

Not being hunted

If the headhunters never come calling, you can always hire your own version of a headhunter by working with an employment agency. Staffing agencies are a great way to get your job hunt started, and they may even have information on less publicized positions due to their corporate contacts. The relationships agencies develop help streamline the application and interview process to create less hassle for you. Still, the key here is not to rely solely on headhunters, corporate recruiters, or staffing agencies to conduct your job search for you. Make use of their inside knowledge and contacts if you can, but take ownership of your job hunt and use every tool available to find your dream job.

Below you will find additional information and resources on headhunters and corporate recruiters:

When to use a hiring agency

The differences between headhunters and recruiters

Headhunters reveal the top ways candidates ruin their chances

Things headhunters won’t tell you