Why Headhunters can Deliver Better Results than Internal Recruiters?

Headhunter v Recruiter?

Is your firm struggling internally to attract enough good quality Senior Commercial SaaS Executives?  

Perhaps your internal team does not have enough time or knowledge to support your region?


Is this making it tougher for you to meet and exceed your revenue targets meaning less earnings and more pressure and stress?


Only 5%* of  Senior SaaS Executives found their last job via an Internal Recruiter approach, could this be one reason why?


Intrinsic recently carried out a recent B2B SaaS Survey of 408 Senior SaaS Executives.  Part of the survey was to examine the Headhunter v Recruiter” topic!


The majority of the 408 respondents believe that Headhunters are better at delivering top quality candidates than Internal Recruiters.   Why is this?   Especially when there are some very good Internal Recruiters in the SaaS market?


1 – Lack of Bandwidth / Time!

Internal Recruiters often have too many roles  to fill at any one time, becoming over-stretched!  Being employees of the hiring firm, they have to work the roles they are given.  This means Internal Recruiters are often over-worked, with too many roles to fill at any one time.  They are often too thinly spread and unable to give enough focus to source the best candidates for a role.  External Headhunters aim to take on the correct amount of roles they are able to fill at any one time and are able to turn away the positions that they can not help with or not qualified to fill.

SaaS hiring Europe


2 – Pro-activity

This is a key one!  Most importantly, Headhunters are much more pro-active and target  passive candidates resulting in a stronger choice on the shortlist.  

When we examine how Senior Commercial Executives found their latest role, only 5% of the 408 Senior SaaS Executives surveyed were approached by an Internal Recruiter .  

>> Almost 6 times as many individuals found their latest senior role via a Headhunter as opposed to an Internal Recruiter in the last 2 years…

What does this data tell us?  Do Internal Recruiters perhaps rely more on internet advertising where you may only tap into a small percentage of the market and the reactive one?  Do they have less time to be proactive?


Question: How did you find your most recent job between 2017 2019?

Headhunter v Recruiter?

                              *Source: Intrinsic, B2B SaaS Survey 2019

3 – Focus

Most Internal Recruiters we speak with have to cover a broad range of roles from Technical, Marketing, Sales, Delivery and so on.  However, Headhunters are specialist – experts in filling specific roles such as CEO, VP, Sales, Marketing or Customer Success.  A specialist Headhunter will have a stronger network and offer more chances of filling a specific role.  


4 – Geographical Coverage

Many of the roles us Headhunters are offered by SaaS firms, are when the Internal Recruiter does not have the country specific coverage.  For instance, the Internal Recruiter may have a solid network in the UK but lacks experience and contacts in other countries such as Germany.  Working with a Headhunter can help support SaaS firms expanding across new markets.


5 – Poor Candidate Experience

This is something us Headhunters often hear from senior Candidates.  There is often a lack of quality communication between Internal Recruiters and candidates throughout the hiring  process resulting in a poor candidate experience. This can even put off the candidate from wanting to join the hiring firm.  For instance, phone / video interviews that do not happen, a lack of updates and feedback.  Headhunters are commission based and will do that bit extra to ensure interviews happen and a follow up takes place.



The last 10 years along with the emergence of linkedin, has seen many mid-large sized SaaS firm create their own Internal / Talent Acquisition teams.   Such teams are certainly able to fill many open roles, often the more junior ones.  

When we examine the Headhunter v Recruiter” topic, we have found there is a clearly a gaping hole in the market under such situations as listed above when outsourcing the Executive Search to a Headhunter can create a superior and faster service for the Hiring Manager.


If you are looking for a SaaS Headhunter, contact Ben Watkins.


Further reading:

B2B Survey Report 2019

How to Hire the Best SaaS Leaders / Sales Execs in Europe


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