Headhunters and personnel consultants - Kooku

Interim Recruiter – a good alternative to headhunters


Everyone who works in the field of human resources is familiar with them: personnel
consultants and headhunters. Calls at inconvenient times, anonymous applicant profiles, and English phone numbers. Since the knowledge and experience of working with recruitment consultancies is usually exhausted in these few points, we briefly and crisply present what this service is all about and are happy to provide an outlook on smart recruiting alternatives. A good option: interim recruiters.

What do recruiters and headhunters do?

Recruitment consultants and headhunters are terms that are often used interchangeably and essentially mean the same thing. Both work as external service providers and use their services to help their customers fill vacancies. In doing so, they are profiting from the current situation on the labor market and turning the shortage of skilled workers into their business model. The goal of recruiters is to place candidates for a “bounty.” If candidates are successfully recruited, a contingency fee will be payable. These bonuses are rarely fixed, but are based on the gross annual salary of the person placed.

How do personnel consultancies and headhunters work?

It is typical for headhunters and personnel consultancies that they work externally, i.e. not at the customer’s site. Thus it can happen that a Berlin company is supported by a Munich personnel consultancy. It is almost more common for the phone to ring and for an English headhunter to answer the phone. London has become something of an epicenter for headhunters in recent years. The companies there sell their candidates worldwide and not infrequently have German-speaking colleagues among the so-called recruiters.
The job is usually divided into two parts, the acquisition part in which new corporate customers are acquired and the candidate part in which candidates are identified and contacted by means of active search. Active search, i.e. direct approach, is predominantly carried out in career networks such as Xing or LinkedIn, but also in CV databases from Stepstone or Monster. Consultants who do both, acquire clients and approach candidates, call themselves 360-degree consultants. It is not uncommon for personnel consultancies to specialize in the placement of executives, as this is where the highest return can be achieved with the least effort.
Customer acquisition on the other hand is often conducted by cold calling. Headhunters like to call companies without warning and try to sell their service directly. As a selling point, anonymous resumes are often used that might roughly fit company jobs. There are no names or contact details on the profiles themselves. These are only available in exchange for a service agreement with the executive search firm or headhunter.

How much does a personnel consultant cost?

The costs for personnel consultancies and headhunters are difficult to quantify in concrete figures. Almost exclusively, however, they work on contingency commissions, which are only due when candidates are hired. Until then, the service is free of charge. The commissions are a percentage of the gross annual salary of the candidates placed. These rates are usually between 20% and 30% of the salary. For an executive, that quickly runs into the tens of thousands of euros.

Criticism of recruitment consultancies and disadvantages of headhunters

It feels like recruiters and headhunters work according to the principle of “mass instead of class”. On the one hand, this feeling is fed by the fact that companies are almost spammed with anonymous profiles from headhunters. There is always the question of how to find the right candidate if consultants have never been in the company or do not know the culture or the teams. Having to buy this service for the price of a mid-range car often makes HR managers and recruiters in companies wonder. In the absence of alternatives, however, the decision is then often made to work together, even if it is difficult to get the feeling of being an exclusive customer who is given every service and every effort – because often the same candidate profiles are forwarded by the recruitment agencies to different companies at the same time.

Alternative to headhunters and personnel consultancies: Interim recruiters with service and experience

Interim recruiters are a cost-effective and high-quality alternative to headhunters. Fully educated and well-trained recruiters who work on an interim basis sit in the company, get to know the culture and colleagues, and become fully attuned to the company’s needs. In this regard, they can be likened to freelancers or independent contractors who help out companies for the duration of an emergency and then move on to put out the next fire. Although the service is not charged by success, but by hours, the costs are still usually lower, because an interim recruiter fills several positions at the same time.
For example, an interim recruiter costs around 85€ – 120€ per hour, which is a lot of money compared to an in-house recruiter, but he or she can fill up to ten positions at the same time for the price of a headhunter. In addition, an interim recruiter does not need to be trained in the company for a long time, because he brings his access and tools with him. In addition, interim recruiters are trained by Kooku in various areas, especially active sourcing and communication with candidates. Once the recruiting pressure is off, in-house recruiters are often threatened with dismissal. This in turn creates a negative employee experience. The interim recruiter can be called in quickly and, after successful work, can be replaced just as quickly.
If you are interested in further information, please contact our Growth & Success team. More information on how to contact us can be found on the Interim Recruiting – Kooku Recruiting Partners page. You can also contact us directly by mail at hello@kooku.de or by phone at +49 30 994043660.

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