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10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Virtual Headhunter or Recruiter


After the past two years, the work world has changed tremendously. Looking for work and employees has changed a lot too. 

How can you find reliable employees and properly screen them if you’re already tired from countless Zoom meetings? How do you look for jobs when you’re competing against people from all over the world? 

The solution just might be a virtual headhunter. But before you rush out, you may want to familiarize yourself with these nine key things to know before you hire a virtual headhunter. 

1. What is the difference between a headhunter and a recruiter?

These job titles are often used interchangeably. Simply put, a headhunter is someone you would hire to fill an executive or specialized position. If you need a new COO, tech wizard, or ethical hacker you might go with a headhunter. A headhunter will post job postings, interview potential candidates, and cherry-pick the best for you.  

A recruiter is similar but is often part of an entire staffing agency. Think of it as the temp agencies in the old days. But instead of a temporary employee, they’ll help you hire a full-time employee. Virtual recruiters help your organization find the right match, often using their pool of applicants. They pre-screen qualifications, test competencies, and vet candidates. They may even handle payroll and benefits for these employees.  

2. How much do headhunters and recruiters charge? 

Pay rates can vary. Headhunters will often be paid 20-30% of your new hire’s first year starting salary. That’s a good number to keep in mind for your budget. But they’ll only be paid if you hire one of their candidates. Others will have a going hourly or project rate. 

Recruiters often charge double the hourly rate you’d pay your employee. For example, let’s say you use a staffing agency to hire a coder. When you normally pay a coder $40/per hour with a staffing agency you might pay $80. 

This may seem steep, but when you take into account that the staffing agency/recruiter acts as the employer, handling health insurance, taxes, etc., until you fully onboard your employee, it may change your perspective. Part of your engagement with a staffing agency may require keeping an employee on their payroll for a fixed time. Sometimes to hire employees outright, you have to pay a finders fee. 

Typically, job seekers don’t pay headhunters or recruiters. If they do, it’s often for additional services like resume editing or career coaching. This can make a job seeker just one of their talent pool. Some potential employers may be less inclined to want to hire a full-time employee from a staffing agency because of the added costs or terms of the contract. So keep that in mind if you become a temporary employee.

3. Know what you want

The time and energy you save by hiring a virtual recruiter or headhunter can be invaluable. But you should take the time to know exactly what you want. After all, before you start shelling out money, you should have your ideal employee in mind. This is in part because the screening process can be so involved. For example…

4. Bots are reading resumes

Hello, AI! Bots are pre-screening resumes to make sure applicants are qualified. 

The days of getting qualified candidates via Craigslist are over. When you post a job posting, you can be inundated with hundreds of resumes. Scanning resumes can be a full-time job, not counting all the next steps. So before hiring a virtual recruiter and headhunter, find out what your keywords and ideal qualifications are. If you plan to enlist a recruiter or headhunter to help you find a job, keep in mind that your resume should be optimized to not get screened out by bots. 

5. Great virtual assistants aren’t only in the US

Now that many companies are deciding to remain remote, you can find the perfect employee that fits your qualifications and budget from a pool of global candidates.

Companies like Virtual Staff Finder help you find virtual assistants and specifically-qualified applicants. Virtual Staff Finder hires VAs out of the Philippines, which can help you save some money.

6. Scam alert: online recruiting scams post fake job listings

Sadly, job scams do exist. Norton listed some helpful tips for avoiding job scams. So if you’re a job seeker and get hit up by a recruiter, be sure to do your research. The second you post your resume on job websites, you’ll start getting inundated by recruiters and headhunters. Some may help you find a great position and some may be trying to scam you to steal your identity. It can be natural to give an employer an I-9 form and a copy of your ID. But if there is no job, this can be an identity theft scam. So whether you’re hiring or looking for work, be diligent. Make sure to vet anyone you work with. 

7. Your recruiter can influence how your employee sees your company

While you are in no way affiliated with the recruiter or headhunter, keep in mind that they are your potential employee’s first impression regarding this position. Their interactions can color how your employee feels or even affect how they view working with you. Be sure to keep this in mind when hiring a recruiter or headhunter. Also, take the time to onboard your employee and introduce them to your company culture beyond what the recruiter may have talked about.

8. There are no guarantees of a culture match 

Your recruiter is your employee’s first introduction to your company. But since they do not work with you, they know nothing about your company’s day-to-day. They can’t guarantee a culture match because only your employees have an idea of your company’s general vibe and culture. It’s essential to make sure that they get to know the hiring manager and meet the team. You want someone who helps add to the company vs. someone who might not be a fit. 

9. Scam Alert: Scammers can impersonate companies  

Not all job posts are real. Some scammers impersonate companies and post fake job posts to leverage your name recognition. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for telling information like email addresses that don’t match the company name. If those email addresses are for a recruiter or headhunter, be sure to research their business ahead of time. Cybercriminals can do a lot with information on your resume or any personal information they request. And if the entire process is digital, you’ll want to protect yourself and confirm the position. 

10. Virtual Recruiting Can Help with Diversity & Inclusion 

After the past few years, diversity and inclusion initiatives have become a key consideration for companies. Be sure to take this into account when hiring a recruiter or headhunter. You want someone to help make your life easier and help add to the diversity of your company. 

Liz Wesse, the CEO of job site Way Up, recently said, “If you want diversity, equity, and inclusion to be a core part of your talent acquisition strategy, focusing more on your virtual strategy than your in-person strategy will do wonders.” Virtual recruiting can help create a more inclusive workplace for your employees. In addition, virtual recruiting can help you open your company up to candidates all over the world. 

These are just a few tips to maximize the hiring process. Hiring a virtual recruiter or headhunter can help you find great talent and save you headaches. But knowing what you need and being prepared for the process before you start working with them can help you find the best recruiter or headhunter. 

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