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How international Headhunting Networks will be disrupted by small entrepreneurs - a breakdown


Headhunting and Executive Search is changing for the last 12 years and their global networks do.
I remember headhunting during the 90ties without internet, where Headhunters seemed to be bit like the gatekeeper of the Holy Grail, because they had the contacts and databases, no one else had or just big corporates who could afford an HR department and collect data in the 80ties and 90ties.
Now with social media everybody has became a networker and so some fundamental questions in our industry must be answered and we must bring our clients up-to-date too. The following questions will be:
What makes a good headhunter?
Has a network to show by marketing how large it is, how they party together or are the results in the end important they generate together?
How about the hard facts? The membership fees, the extra turnover the networks generate for each partner? Is it transparent without case studies you prettify by marketing?
Big network via small global connectors, see the advantages of the last one’s
What makes a good headhunter?
A good headhunter is a smart, global person, who understands to find and read humans and this is nothing for AI nerds, who create databases to classify humans into stereotype thinking. Think about 100 to 200 working hours you need for complicate projects finding an employee for a company, who is extraordinary, if you think about the dropping down fee. Headhunting is a craft, like a swiss watch.
Is it relevant for the quality of an network to show how large it is, how they party together or are the results in the end more important they generate together?
In times of Instagram and Social Media ‘bla-bla’, sometimes we believe more in marketing, than in hard facts and this stays the same if your network is alive since 30 years or just founded 2 years before. The old established headhunting networks use marketing to keep up their reputation, the young ones show of with it, what they wanted to be, but both have mostly other hard facts behind the scenes, that we both can’t control. Recruiting is Marketing and believe me in our industry are a lot of skeletons in the cupboard, you can find if you think and ask the right questions.
I believe, that in the end the results and the craft of an network are important and you can find them also at small companies or single headhunters, who are globally well connected and fast like speedboats. This is a product of the new social media times, which wasn’t available for single entrepreneurs or headhunters 20 years before. So the industry has changed, change also your thinking as a client by opening your mind and eyes to smart global headhunters.
To be a good, global headhunter, you do not need a fancy office in the city centre, you do not need annual partner meetings with party and drinks and bullshit meetings, you pay as a customer for, you need a smart headhunting partner with a large, global, personal network, who puts your project fees into research hours and smart technology. I think you agree, that there are better results in headhunting, if you can spend 1/3 more of your client fee into research, than having it on the office costs and status symbols for the consultants, right?
How about the hard facts? The membership fees, the extra turnover the networks generate for each partner? Is the network transparent without case studies you prettify by marketing?
Let’s talk about money. Yes, we Headhunters do like money, like every human, but we do not like to talk about, that’s why BREADHUNTER has put his fees transparent on his website since 2018, that you are aware of all costs from the beginning, no gambling and haggling about a % from an annual salary.
But back to networks, here as a member you pay between 250 € and 2000 € per month for the membership, then a setup fee of 10 k € or 25 k € and sometimes also 1-5% of the annual turnover.
So, don’t forget it’s a business model in the coat of party, friendship and business you pay for with hard money. There are some entrepreneurs, the described model from above will work out, because they pay maybe 20k € in annual fees and generate business for 100 k or more, but I think there are at least 2/3rds who pay fees and get 1-3 projects per year and a party with drinks at the annual meeting in a foreign city. My advice for them, travel with friends 1-2 times per year, so you have the same feeling and save a lot of money. 😉 Paying for friendship is like going to a bordello I mentioned in a blogpost 2 years ago and it’s still my opinion. Don’t do this, socialize and make friends without paying for it, because they will stay forever, thee other friends from a payed network will appear, when you leave the network, because you are a traitor in the end, if you went out.
In the end the costs, fees and turnover must match for you, and you have to evaluate it with hard facts, entrepreneurial thinking and without emotion, because a headhunter network is a business model, not a friend-scout group.
Big network via small global connectors, see the advantages of the last one’s
In the end, the big, global networks are like corporates, this means they have similar internal structures and sometimes the brand is not going equal with the work and innovation behind.
You pay as a client with the fees for all the marketing, nice offices and status symbols and I would assume, that you get a double value for your money, if you work with smaller, global headhunters, because they can afford it, to put more of your money (the fees) into the work, than the big one’s with all the extra costs they have to entertain you.
In HR and headhunting the connections are important, not the brand and finding the perfect candidate experience / employee for you. This depends on the personality of the consultant / headhunter, not on the corporate brand, because a brand does not make smart people, it’s the smart people who can make the brand, but otherwise in headhunting each headhunter is his own brand, that’s why you should not believe in corporate brands, but in the people.
Big corporates buy consultants, because of their reputation and smartness, but sometimes also big corporates do not get the right people for it’s brands and this destroys a former good brand slowly like a water drop a stone.
Now we have the option to work with everyone around the globe remote in a smart and transparent way and this is, why we do not need the old structures of headhunting networks anymore.
It’s the person, who counts in the end and his qualification in his job, but I also believe, that in times of cost reduction, it’s a better value for your money, if it will be put to 90% into the project and search, then only for 40% or less. For doing craftsmen’s work, you need experience, time and the right, smart tools, not a nice office and a marketing overhead.
And this is, what is BREADHUNTER is all about. Smart, global headhunting with the quality of a handmade craft.
Get in contact with us (Mo-Fr / CET):
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