14 Valuable Sources for Headhunting

14 Valuable Sources for Headhunting



Your client is after a purple squirrel with the skills of a flying unicorn.

Where do you go to source this needle in the haystack?


Check out this list to see if there’s any stone you haven’t yet turned.








1. Candidates

The most popular source of headhunting prospects. But don’t just ask the ones you are currently working with or the ones you’ve successfully placed – think also of the ones you DIDN’T place; the ones that got away. If you’ve been a recruiter worth your mettle, you would have built a relationship with these people and genuinely helped them when they were looking for work; why would they knock back a request from you for help in return?


2. Clients

Think broadly : you could seek out a referral from a client you work with directly, or a suggestion from the people within their organisation. What about your colleague’s clients? Your client’s clients?


3. Colleagues

Has anyone you work with recruited a similar position in the past? Can you have access to their old shortlist, the network or market mapping they may have completed for that role. Ask them where their best sources of candidates came from. What strategies did they use and which worked and which flopped?


4. Contact from your network with a new job

These people will have great insight on the team that they have left behind. Perhaps even on the new team.


5. Contacts from unrelated industries

You never know who people know. Even if it seems unlikely, ask.


6. Contacts in large companies

Your contact may not know anyone like what you’re looking for, but they are a gateway to a department in their company that might have just what you’re looking for (or someone who knows someone who you’re looking for).


7. Receptionists and gatekeepers

This is your greatest source of insight into who-is-who, and what is/might be happening.


8. Referees

What about the referees you’ve talked with? Are they a fit? Do they know a person who would fit?


9. Industry Associations

This is a great way to identify and network with potential candidates, as well as gaining knowledge of where and when projects and staff movements are happening.


10. Journals/Media

Sign up to the news source that applies most to your market – company news reveals potential candidates waiting to be found.


11. Competitors

Great candidates will usually come from direct competitors – find out who your client’s competitors are and dig that goldmine.


12. Networking events

If you watched our previous animation blog, you’ll remember that networking events aren’t just for gaining new clients


13. Social media

Don’t just use LinkedIn as a search tool. It, along with other social media, can be a hive of good leads based on the news feed and updates. A new job means a new web of connections – but can also trigger an alarm for others in their previous company being interested in a move.


14. Random Encounters

Use every moment you can to strike up a conversation with a random stranger. Angle the chat towards what that person does for work (might be the person you’re looking for), and reveal what you do – and what you’re looking for at the moment (may be they know of a person just like that). Think about who might be next in line at the coffee shop, the person beside you on the train, your neighbour, another parent at your kids sport, the purple squirrel riding that flying unicorn in the park…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *