Superiority of ‘headhunted candidates’ is a myth

There’s a dated view of the superiority of the passive job seeker which is incorrect.

Our stock in trade is finding such candidates and we’re very experienced headhunters, but there is a myth that somehow they are always a better bet for recruiters and employers alike.

It is often born of a mild prejudice which is that there is potentially something untoward or a hidden motivation behind someone keen to find a new role. Perhaps the feeling is that it might be a sign of difficulties at work with the implicit view that it might be the candidate’s fault. Lack of career prospects perhaps….or not thought good enough to promote? Perhaps the candidate has been made redundant and with the very dated implication that an employer never loses its best employees. Or even worse: talk of a Compromise Agreement.

Another prejudice is about the method of finding candidates and that headhunting is the only option for some roles. “The best candidates are always headhunted ” and “Top talent never looks for a job” and so on.

Here are five reasons why you should welcome active job seekers:

  • They are serious about looking and will usually move to a new job somewhere, unlike Ms./Mr Headhunted who may stay put or use your offer to get a salary rise from their current employer.
  • They are more flexible: no job is perfect and they recognise that.
  • They are more realistic re salary and may not be insisting on a salary hike.
  • They will try and work with your recruitment process, and be more flexible.
  • They may be available to start sooner.

While we often fill jobs with candidates we headhunt, on many occasions we help excellent management consultancy candidates fill great jobs because they see an advertisement or hear of the role through their network and contact us.

So if you want to find the right candidate for the job by all means expand the pool by tapping passive candidates on the shoulder but don’t ignore the great talent under your nose.

For more information on how Prism Executive Recruitment could help your organisation, visit our recruitment services page or contact Chris Sale (Managing Director) on 01344 636 426 or [email protected]


There is a dated view from some employers and recruiters of the superiority of the passive job seeker - also known as 'headhunted' which is often incorrect. These candidates may waste a lot of an employer’s time or may require a more attractive salary offer to secure
You should welcome active job seekers: they are more flexible, they may be willing to accept a less 'perfect' role, they are more realistic on salary, they will try and work with your recruitment process, they may be available to start sooner, they are less likely to stay with their current job.

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