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What’s the Difference Between a Recruiter and a Headhunter?

Imagine this: you find yourself in need of an in-house developer, but you don’t know where to find a qualified, trustworthy candidate to take your software idea to the next level. Or, you’re looking to start a new career in software design and you need help finding the perfect job. Where do you start? Who do you ask? What exactly is the difference between and recruiter and a headhunter?

The terms headhunter and recruiter get tossed around loosely, yet there is a big difference between the two. We understand that, as a client looking to fill a role, or as someone interested in taking their career to new heights, it’s important to know the differences between a recruiter and a headhunter.

The Recruiter’s Role

Simply put, recruiters act as the hiring front line for a company and their primary job is to find the right candidate at the right time. 

The goal for a recruiter is to fill a role, whether internal, for one set company they work for, or external, for a client who is hiring for that position. Recruiters are also typically in charge of handling job board postings, advertising open positions, and managing the entire hiring process from the first phone screen to extending the final offer to the candidate.

difference between a recruiter and a headhunter

What About Headhunters?

Headhunters, on the other hand, have different tactics than recruiters. Like the name suggests, they come looking for you. They are hired by a company to find, vet, and introduce viable candidates to a company for specific roles.

What headhunters don’t do though, is handle posting on job boards, advertising available jobs, and initial screenings. Headhunters are typically on the hunt for a specific set of skills and are often looking to fill executive roles. On the contrary, recruiters usually fill any type of role and are more flexible in the type of skill set the person has.

difference between a recruiter and a headhunter

Recap: Difference Between a Recruiter and a Headhunter

Both headhunters and recruiters are great to work with. The benefits of each are similar but, depending on the role you are looking to fill or looking to apply to, will depend on who you work with.


  • find people to fill any role within their company or the company of a client
  • manage and advertise open positions
  • exist through the entire vetting and interview process


  • typically fill executive roles
  • do not manage job boards or advertising of open positions
  • are usually hired by a company to find the perfect candidate for a specific role

At SOLTECH, our staffing team is made up of recruiters. They’ll work closely with the clients to determine the positions available and the skill set they’re seeking. The technical recruiters will also work closely screening candidates for potential interviews, possibly inviting them to tour the space and meet the team to determine if they’d be a good fit.

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