Differences between scouting, recruiting and headhunting?

Also interested in any other techniques used to employ or recruit talented candidates to a given employer, industry or occupation.

– Thanks

I don’t think there’s a hard and fast difference in the definitions.

Generally, “scouting” would probably mean someone is looking around for potential hires without contacting them yet.

“Recruiting” would be a general attempt to get people to apply for a job at your company.

“Headhunting” would be approaching an employee of another company with the offer of a job.

RealityChuck. Good point. If possible, I’d like to know which techniques are generally the most used, which are the most labor-intensive, which are the most costly, which involve the most travel, that sort of thing.

I think the above are fine. You could consider these versions:

  • “Scouting” is where you try to discreetly find out how many people might be interested + qualified for a job at your company.

  • “Recruiting” is where you advertise job(s) for new employees. It may imply there are several similar posts, e.g. if you are opening a new branch.

  • “Headhunting” is where you look for one particular person for one specific job. The job itself is never advertised.

I see it differently.

Recruiting - A company tries to locate and hire new employees with certain skills. This often involves HR and career fairs etc. Recruiting is the company trying to locate people for itself. A specific job exists or is being created and the company needs to locate someone to fill it.

Headhunting - An outside agency tries to find people to match with positions that companies have open. For example, I am looking for a job right now and I have met with about 10 headhunting agencies in the Boston area so far. They may not know of the right job for me right now but they contacted me because my skills looked promising for them to match up with one of their client companies. These agencies sell people to companies and called headhunters.