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  • The HMX Group

Rigid Recruitment and The Hidden Cost of Job Boards

There’s a crucial distinction between standardised recruitment processes, largely reliant on job boards, and the more proactive and targeted approach of headhunting and executive search. Weighting a disproportionate amount of resource towards the active candidate market creates a huge administrative burden as there's no barrier to entry. And when the tools to access people are constantly improving, and a company's performance is predicated on building great teams, recruitment may not be a function where 'best practise' is always best.

'The skill of HR is finding people your competitors aren't finding...'

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman at Ogilvy & Behavioural Economist

The 30% Conundrum

One of the pivotal points that separate headhunting from most standardised recruitment processes lies in its ability to tap into the passive job market. Statistics reveal that only 30% of the workforce is actively seeking new opportunities at any given time. By solely relying on job boards, recruiters limit their focus to this minority, overlooking the vast pool of potential candidates who aren't actively seeking a change. This myopic approach could have serious consequences for businesses aiming to attract top-tier talent.

The Perils of Job Board Dependence

Recruiters who prioritise job boards are essentially competing for the same talent pool. The consequence? Increased competition, a slower recruitment process, and often settling for candidates who might not be the best fit. Headhunters, on the other hand, actively reach out to individuals who may not be actively looking but possess the skills and experience needed for a specific role. This proactive strategy widens the talent net and increases the chances of finding the perfect match.

Tailored Research for Accuracy and Volume

Headhunting isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. For each role, thorough market research is conducted to identify around 100 target companies and/or specific divisions within larger hunting grounds. This meticulous process takes into account factors such as technology, target personas, regions, verticals, sales methodologies, deal sizes, and cycles. The result is a refined list that ensures quality and velocity in the recruitment process. This level of precision surpasses the generic approach of job boards, providing a pool of candidates tailored to specific needs.

The Myth of Passive Top Performers

Top performers in the job market are usually succeeding in their current positions and may not actively seek new opportunities. Standardised process may miss out on these high-caliber individuals who, if open to moving, are more likely to be on the radars of hiring managers already familiar with their exceptional track records. Headhunters bridge this gap, actively seeking out and engaging with these passive top performers, ensuring that your company has access to the talent that your competitors might overlook.


In the competitive landscape of recruitment, it's essential to recognise the limitations of job boards. Recruiters, both in-house and external, benefit from exploring new methods and embracing the creativity that comes with headhunting. By focusing on the vast pool of passive candidates, you gain a competitive advantage, ensuring your business secures the best people to execute on your strategic initiatives.


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