Navigating the landscape of headhunters

Throughout your career, chances are you’ll interact with various head hunters. What’s less known is that there are different types of head hunters, often corresponding to specific levels of seniority, industry sectors, or the size of the companies that employ them.

This article aims to help you understand who you’re dealing with and what realistic expectations you should have when interacting with them.


Types of Head Hunting Firms:

Branches of Temporary Employment Agencies

  • Generalist Firms
  • Industry or Vertical-Specialized Firms
  • Boutique Firms
  • Executive Search Firms

Typically, the branches of temporary employment agencies also serve as generalist firms. Boutique firms may specialize in particular areas or operate in executive search.


Pros and Cons:

Each type of firm has its pros and cons, and each excels in its own area of expertise. Large firms offer the advantage of visibility and a broad client base, while boutique firms typically provide a more personalized and qualitative service.

Regardless of the firm’s size, it’s important to recognize that you will be dealing with a specific professional. Pay attention to the individual, not just the firm they represent.

In most cases, except for generalist firms, you won’t choose the head hunter; they will reach out to you for a specific opportunity. Once the selection process is complete, you’ll have a chance to provide feedback.


Generalist Firms:

Active mainly in technical-professional sectors, they follow standardized processes and usually have a high turnover. You may meet young professionals keen on growing their HR careers. Expect group interviews and limited, politically correct feedback.


Specialist Firms:

These firms are experts in specific industries or verticals. They usually have a senior representative who manages client relationships and will step in during the selection process. They provide excellent market insights, telling you which companies to aim for or avoid based on their extensive experience.


Executive Search:

These firms cater to top-level management positions and are usually exclusive and reference-based. The recruiters are often highly experienced individuals who have worked in the same industry they are recruiting for. Networking is key, and being overly proactive can be counterproductive.


Where Does TA Partners Fit In?

To learn more, you can check out the section dedicated to our “positioning” at this link.


In summary, TA Partners operates as a boutique firm straddling points 3 and 5. We specialize in specific vertical sectors but also engage in executive search for both specialized and top management roles. We prioritize quality, long-term trust, transparent and constructive feedback, and offer a range of options across multiple brands and corporate realities.

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