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in the recruitment through headhunting methodology, leading to greater chances for successful placement.

The information below may be useful to our clients in order to:

  • understand the specifics of the headhunting service;
  • recommendations, consultations and advice on what is a good employer practice;
  • how to attract the selected candidate and understand what motivates him;
  • understand what would demotivate him, which terms in the offer or the employment contract would be unacceptable and lead to the rejection from the candidate;
  • which practices in the recruitment process from the client would reduce the chances of success, ie. to attract the selected candidate.

This text is a consultative tool and does not claim to be detailed and complete. The information in it is a result of the experience of Jordan Shepard (now Horizons Bulgaria), as well as of the specific facts gathered within such projects.
This text or parts thereof may not be copied, reproduced, published and / or transmitted electronically, mechanically, photocopied or otherwise, or entered into websites, information systems, including computers, without the express written permition of Horizons Bulgaria.


The main difference of the headhunting in comparison with the standard recruitment is that the Client, through the hired consultant, is the active party in the process. Not the other way around, when the candidates are the active party – ie. apply for a open position. Here it could even be said that the client, through the hired consultant, “applies” for a potential employer to several selected top professionals.
The use of the word “candidate” for the purposes of headhunting is incorrect. It is mainly because the professionals themselves do not “apply” for anything. However, the word is accepted due to the lack of a closer one in the Bulgarian language.
The word “recruitment” is also inaccurate and is used due to the gained popularity and hence greater comprehensibility.

The business term used in English other than “headhunting” is “search” (hence “executive search”), which literally means “search”.

The fundamental nature of the headhunting service is to seek, find and inspire (arouse interest) the best possible professionals according to the assignment and resources provided by the client. The assignment includes an accurate description of the professional who is needed. Moreover what problem needs to be solved by finding him. Resources include, but are not limited to:

  • an employer brand known on the market;
  • the time available to perform the search;
  • the conditions that the client offers for attracting this person
  • realism in client expectations;
  • the client’s commitment to demand and the created conditions for communication;
  • the personalities, leadership and communication qualities of the specific hiring manager.

Almost all “candidates” involved in the process are not actively looking for job and are currently working. They are well-paid and valued professionals, relatively satisfied and feeling fulfilled where they are. These professionals are careful in their judgment and choice of new opportunities. In addition to development opportunities in their current role, they usually consider several other job offers.
All these features change the logic of the “recruitment” process and the necessary behavior and communication. They shift the weight in the negotiation process in favor of wanted professionals. Accepting this fact and building a hiring strategy is key to the success of any project.


Presentation of a short list with the most appropriate professionals

  • The short list of professionals consists of suitable professionals that the consultant has found in competing or similar companies.
  • Applicants are qualified for the specific project and assesed to be suitable. They just have aroused interest in the specific challenge and are willing to meet (not being interviewed) to find out more information.  At the meeeting they will share more about their experience, and make their decision whether to move forward in the process.
  • “Candidates” expect quick feedback from the consultant on whether the client is interested in a meeting. Any delay could lead to diminishing interest and eventual refusal to meet.


Client preparation

  • The client should be well prepared for the meeting by the consultant with the information about the experience, skills and achievments of the candidates. As well as about their etc. “Hot spots”. This means what motivates them, what is important for them – and vice versa. We strongly advise the client and the hiring manager to find time for such a personal conversation with the consultant or to read the recommendations written about these topics.

Candidate preparation

  • Candidates prepare for the meeting so that they can get maximum information that will enable them to make a personal decision whether to move forward. It is normal to expect them to ask at least as many questions as the client.


  • The client should set enough time for each meeting, as well as start the meeting on time. If the client does not have enough time for a meaningful meeting, it is better to postpone it. Even in the process of conversation to consider that the candidate does not meet his expectations. It is good to pay the necessary attention and respect. Each participant in the recruitment process is a potential participant in creating public opinion about the attractiveness of the employer brand and the image of the hiring manager.

Participants in the meeting

  • It is good to inform the candidate (through the consultant) who exactly will participate in the meeting. As well as a few words about each of the participants. This inludes their position, time in the company, responsibilities, as well as their roles during the meeting.


  • It is not permissible to compromise the confidentiality of each candidate. This may require better scheduling of meetings in terms of time. For example, if several candidates are invited on the same day to make sure there are no interruptions and location. In most cases it is better to have a meeting outside the client’s office. For example in a hotel, because some candidates are afraid not to meet acquaintances or not to see them enter the office of a competing company.

Different approach

  • During the conversation, the client should not forget that the “candidate” is not an “applicant”. He is not the active party in the case and has not “applied” for a job. However he has come to a meeting between two prospect partners who are looking for common ground and mutually beneficial business opportunities. Questions such as: “Why did you apply for this position?” or “What attracted you to our company?” are absolutely inappropriate. Ask your consultant about the appropriate questions for the particular candidate. Expect questions that seek complete and transparent information about the position and the specific challenge. The client should focus on the “sale” of his mission and on what is important to the candidate. Furthermore on the assessment of his qualities should be mostly indirect during the discussion of his achievements.


  • In case the client considers that the candidate is suitable for some other position than the one originally agreed. If this has not been discussed as possible with the consultant (and hence shared as an opportunity with the candidate), it is better not to communicate this topic directly at the meeting, and first discuss this with the consultant. This is even more true for lower positions or those requiring relocation. Otherwise, the client risks confusing the candidate and consequently demotivate thim.


  • When the client decides which candidate fit the role, the speed of feedback is crucial in the context of modern conditions.
  • In cases where a quick decision cannot be made, it is important to inform the consultant as well as the reasons for the delay. Then he can manage the process on behalf of the client.
  • Objective feedback to the unfit “candidates”  is mandatory for the formation of the above-mentioned “employer branding” and maintaining good relations between professionals working in the same field.


  • Money is not always the most important factor. It is good to know that in 99% of cases, headhunted candidates expect a higher salary. 20-30% is a normal growth of the gross salary. The whole package is also important.
  • We strongly advise the client to use the consultant as a mediator in these negotiations. It is due to the advantage of having a “buffer zone”, ie. the possibility of an error in setting expectations and the certainty of making final decisions is reduced.
  • 50% of unsuccessful headhunting projects fail at this stage. When forming the offer, the dynamics of the labor market, the alternatives that the candidate may consider, as well as the possibility of a counter-offer by the current employer must be taken into account.
  • Long and detailed negotiations by the applicant should not be taken as a caprise. It is a normal business practice.

Accordingly, the opposite – excessive negotiation of insignificant details, pressing the candidate and equating him to the “levels” and “budget” of the client, could be interpreted not as professionalism.
Even if the candidate accepts the offer due to the progress in the relationship,  the project and the communication with his current employer. It is possible that he will transfer this “bitterness” to his new job. Moreover he can start working without enthusiasm and with progressive demotivation.

It is important for the client to consider the offer well. So that it has all the important and specific conditions that will be contained in the employment, management or consulting contract under which the successful candidate will actually be hired.

They should be openly discussed with the consultant and the candidate. All unshared or subsequently changed clauses lead to a high risk of demotivation and possible refusal to sign the employment contract. The existence of restrictive and punitive conditions outside the Labor Code and international best practices can be insurmountable obstacles. It is possible to expect the applicant himself to request guarantee clauses compensating him in case of premature release or non-compliance with an agreement in achieving goals.


  • Attention, compliance with the arrangements and personal attitude during the first days are a key factor for the motivation, adaptation and performance of the selected professional.
  • These days are the most sensitive and stressful for each candidate. So, it is just as important for the client to invest at least as much time, effort and resources as in the selection process itself.
  • The enthusiasm, commitment, positive attitude and configuration of the client’s resources (subordinates, direct managers, colleagues, workplace, introduction program and the necessary and expected for the fulfillment of direct obligations) are crucial for the successful start of both parties.

Copyright® 2021, All rights resevered. This text or parts thereof may not be copied, reproduced, published and / or transmitted electronically, mechanically, photocopied or otherwise, or entered into websites, information systems, including computers, without the express written permition of Horizons Bulgaria.