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The Hiring Structure

Are you ever confused at who you’re actually talking to when interviewing for a new position? Recruiters, hiring managers and headhunters — who does what in the hiring process? Gaining more clarity on who can help you in particular situations will shed light on how to prepare for interviews with each one. Each of these professionals has a different goal in mind when bringing you in for a chat.

Hiring Managers

A hiring manager is generally an inside position, working for his or her company to onboard top talent. These professionals know the ins and outs of the requirements for an open position but may not always have the time to actively look for job candidates like a recruiter or headhunter does.

Hiring managers will be more apt to ask you questions about how you fit into the company and will be trying to see how much you researched the open position, so prepare accordingly.


Recruiters are most often external professionals hired by an organization to find qualified candidates for open positions. There are many boutique recruiting firms in the marketplace, ones that solely focus on building relationships with both candidates and companies so vacancies can be filled quickly and adequately.

The main responsibilities of recruiters include sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates to learn more about their career histories. They do have knowledge of open positions within certain companies, but are more concerned with learning about you and your strengths.


The term “headhunter” conveys a competitive, cut-throat job, and that’s exactly what it is. These professionals work on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid until they find an acceptable employee.

Headhunters can be paid by both companies looking for employees or by job-seekers looking for work. They generally earn a fee if they find you a job, so make sure you know how much you will owe.

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