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Careers In High-Tech Headhunting

Monday, November 1, 1999
Out of the din of an economy greedily clamoring for highly qualified technical professionals has emerged a very lucrative career for people to recruit these professionals. They are called technical recruiters, and they’ve carved a cozy niche for themselves in the high-tech industry.
The different types of technical recruiters include a first party recruiter, a second party recruiter, and a third party recruiter. A first party recruiter represents a company and hires candidates onto the company’s payroll, working under the supervision and guidelines set by the company. Corporate and college recruiters fall under this category. A second-party recruiter is an employee of a contract staffing agency who is working for a client company and hiring people on their payroll. Most second party recruiters work under the supervision of the client company’s management and are compensated on an hourly rate or commission basis by the client company.

A third party recruiter, commonly referred to as a headhunter, searches, locates, and matches the right IT professionals with the right position within a client’s organization. The main difference between this recruiter with the other types is that third party recruiters recruit for clients versus within an organization. Most headhunters work on a contingency or retained basis, but will sometimes work on a flat fee. For the purpose of this article, we are exploring in depth the career path of a third party recruiter, or headhunter, for the high-tech industry.

High-Tech Recruiting Vs. HR

The job of a technical recruiter is often confused with that of a human resource professional. Human resources professionals are concerned with what goes on inside an organization. However, you can’t hire employees from inside the building — you have to look outside. That’s where the headhunter comes in. The two disciplines are quite different even though they address the same issues and encounter similar problems.

“A major difference is that the technical recruiter is functioning in a sales position. The HR function is an overall organizational role that can include payroll, benefits, training and such. So the technical recruiter functions as a focused position, whereas an HR function is more a broader administrative function,” explains Rahim Wallani, president of Rainmakerweb, an IT staffing, ERP integration and training firm.

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