Headhunter: How Do They Work? Benefits of their Service?


When it comes to finding and recruiting senior talent for a company, you may have heard the term “Headhunter“.

But what exactly is a Headhunter? How do they work?… And most importantly how can they help a business?

Other queries we hear – what are Headhunter Services? What benefits do they offer?

In this article, we will explore the world of Headhunters, where a fancy job title = a critical role.

Before we start the “Headhunter” journey…

It is important to know that there are key differences between a Headhunter and a mainstream “Recruiter” that works for a Recruitment Agency.

But that’s a whole different subject.

Please explore our Insights Page Articles — such as This Article — to read various posts where we clarify the Key Differences between a Headhunter and a Recruiter!

What is a Headhunter?

A Headhunter, also known as an “Executive Recruiter”, or an “Executive Search Consultant“, works for a Headhunter Company.

A Headhunter Company is also often referred to as an Executive Search Agency.

In very simple terms, a Headhunter is specialised in finding and recruiting top-tier senior candidates for executive job vacancies at client companies.

A Headhunter Company helps client businesses fill senior job vacancies – positions that carry large responsibility and the “Best of the Best” Candidates are required:

Such as Country Head, Chief or C Level Roles, C-Suite Talent, Director Level Positions, Board of Director Roles, General Manager, Senior Manager etc.

Basically Headhunters work on critical, senior level hires.

Headhunters are Executive Recruitment Experts.

To be good at their job, a Headhunter must have a vast network of contacts, an outstanding network, must be able to find, excite and secure top tier candidates for their clients… and fast.

So How Does A Headhunter Work?


Headhunters must get to know their client firms very well, they must understand their clients specific hiring needs inside out – their exact requirements for a senior position.

With this knowledge they can then analyse their network and manually identify every single potentially relevant candidate who may meet the set criteria.

Once they have identified all relevant candidates, once they have built their “longlist” for the assignment, a Headhunter will then directly reach out to all targeted people.

When talking to potential candidates they will professionally market their client and the job vacancy, provide a deep dive overview of the opportunity… they shall gauge the persons interest… work hard to motivate them to explore… and assess the persons qualifications and “fit”.

The vast majority of candidates that a Headhunter will approach are Passive Candidates“.

Passive Candidates are people that have a job… are happily employed… they are Not actively looking for a new role.

So most of the time a Headhunter is “knocking on the door” of people that are Not looking for new work.

To get passive candidates “interested to explore”, a Headhunter must know how to professionally engage senior professionals, must know how they think.

A Headhunter will conduct initial assessments of the candidates targeted, the people that are interested “to know more”, to determine which candidates are the best fit for their clients vacancy.

“Best Fit” is dictated by the clients job description, the specific work experience required, the personality type needed, the leadership skills sought, the culture fit desired.

If a candidate is interested… and meets all the clients requirements… the Headhunter will present the persons CV – and extra comments – to their client.

Once candidates have been selected for interview, a Headhunter will coordinate all client – candidate interview arrangements.

Once a client decides that they want to hire “this Candidate“, the final stage of the executive recruitment process begins – Offer & Negotiation.

The Offer Stage is where things can fall apart fast if handled poorly.

A Headhunter will provide their Client with a detailed breakdown of the candidate’s current compensation data, including all cash and non-cash benefits.

A Headhunter will assist both the client & candidate during the compensation negotiations, providing advice and guidance, working as a middleman, relaying feedback to both parties.

They will work relentlessly to find a win:win outcome, where both parties are happy and the hire can close.

Once Offer Terms are agreed, the Headhunter will perform Reference Checks on the Candidate and present a Reference Report to their Client.

Assuming the references are good, the client can then issue the formal Offer Letter / Employment Agreement for signing and the Candidate can resign from their current company.

A Headhunter shall continue to be actively involved in the executive recruitment process until the candidate starts to work for their client company,

What Benefits Does A Headhunter Offer?

Headhunters offer a huge range of benefits to any company that is looking to fill a senior executive level position.

Here are just some of the Key Value Adds of a Headhunter:

  • Access to Top Talent: A Headhunter must have a vast, fully comprehensive network of candidates. This “network” allows them to instantly tap into a pool of highly qualified professionals that are a great fit to a clients needs. These senior professionals are typically employed – they are not looking for a new job.
  • In essence a Headhunter gives clients access to Grade A executive talent fast, people that LinkedIn Job Ads would never reach or excite.
  • Executive Recruitment Expertise: Headhunters are experts in their field and have a deep understanding of the end-to-end executive recruitment process, also general market conditions. They can provide invaluable insights and advice to both their client and candidates during the executive recruitment process, they can guide regarding executive recruitment best practices, the current state of the job market, the availability of top talent and etc.
  • Professional Direct Approach Marketing: Headhunters directly approach all relevant candidates, they NEVER use Online Job Ads.
  • That means that employed “passive candidates” learn about a clients job vacancy, people that would never otherwise hear about a company’s opportunity. Typically it is passive candidates that are actually needed by a business for their senior Key Hires of Value.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Recruiting for high-level positions can be very time-consuming and in turn a very costly process. Having key senior positions left vacant for months and months on end costs a huge amount of $’s in terms of opportunity cost.
  • Headhunters take on the burden of sourcing and screening candidates fast, saving their clients a lot of time and in turn money. Companies that “try to do it themselves” will usually fail, waste months and then finally ask for a Headhunters support. You should partner with a Headhunter from Day 1.
  • Confidentiality: In a lot of cases, businesses do Not want to publicly advertise their high-level job vacancies. They do Not want the market to hear that they are hiring. A Headhunter is their Trusted Partner, works 100% behind the scenes, discreetly, maintains confidentiality throughout the executive recruitment process, quietly approaches and manages all potential candidates, protecting their client’s and candidates reputation and privacy.
  • Negotiation Assistance: Headhunters are skilled negotiators and can assist with salary and benefit negotiations between a client and a selected executive candidate. This helps to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the terms of the financial offer and a successful close can be reached.
  • Strategic Advice & Guidance: A Headhunter will understand their local market inside out, they will talk and think like the people that actually work in the industry they are serving. They will offer deep local market expertise and guidance. They will work relentlessly, provide balanced logical commentary… to keep both a client and executive candidate on track, to help ensure a successful outcome.

How to Choose a Headhunter Service in Indonesia

How to Choose A Headhunter

When selecting a Headhunter Company and their Headhunter Service, it’s essential to choose a business that aligns well with your company’s needs and values.

Here in Indonesia everyone calls themself a “Headhunter”…

But the reality is that there are very few Real Headhunters in Indonesia.

The vast majority of “Headhunters in Indonesia” are actually mainstream, “LinkedIn Job Ad Recruitment Agencies”…

That’s Not headhunting, that’s the world of Recruitment Agencies…

ProCapita is one of a few real McCoy Headhunter Companies in Indonesia.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a Headhunter and their Headhunter Services:

  • Access to Top Talent?: A Headhunter must have a vast network of executive candidates to be able to do their job properly. They must be able to instantly tap into an extensive pool of highly qualified candidates for you – within the industry sector required / job function area needed.
  • Highly Experienced?: Look for a Headhunter with a proven track record of successful placements in your industry for similar roles. Experience is crucial to ensure that they can effectively source and attract top talent for your organisation. A good Headhunter will be a highly experienced professional, ideally with both corporate work experience and years of headhunting experience. They will be representing your brand in the market and must know what they are doing and how to do it well.
  • Solid Reputation?: Look for a headhunter with a very good reputation. Someone with a proven track record of successful placements. Do some research online to find reviews and testimonials. They will be representing you to senior professional candidates, they must be able to think, talk and look like a senior executive professional themselves… and present your business in the very best manner possible.
  • Communication and Transparency?: A Headhunter should keep you informed throughout the executive recruitment process and be transparent about their methods and progress. They should also be open to feedback and willing to adjust their approach if needed. Check out how they interact with you.
  • Fees and Contracts?: As with anything, it’s essential to clarify fees and any contractual obligations before engaging Headhunter Services. In Indonesia, a Real Headhunter Company will charge approximately 20-25% of a placed candidates Year 1 Total Cash Income. Some, like ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia, are willing to work on a Success Fee Only Basis. The exact % rate will be driven by the circumstances at hand.
  • Please note, in Indonesia there are many “Headhunter Firms” offering 10-18% rates – but don’t be fooled by “Cheap as Chips” >>> they are Recruitment Agencies, they are Not Real Headhunters.
  • They rely on publicly visible LinkedIn Job Adverts to source Active Job Seeker candidates.
  • As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. So if you only care about % rates and want to pay the lowest amount possible for your executive recruitment, for your Key Hires of Value, you will get budget services in return. Like when buying a plane ticket, if you want “the lowest price possible”, you fly Budget and get off the plane exhausted…
  • Performs Direct Approach Candidate Marketing?: A Headhunter by definition manually targets and then directly approaches all relevant candidates. So if they advertise on LinkedIn using LinkedIn Job Ads they are Not a Headhunter, they are a Recruitment Agency.
  • LinkedIn Job Ads do Not attract passive candidates that are happily employed, all they do is make senior candidates run away & fast, as the company must be rather desperate and tight to use such methods to attract and secure its elite leaders…
  • Works Confidentially?: A Headhunter always works quietly & 100% behind the scenes. So if they advertise on LinkedIn using LinkedIn Job Ads, they are Not a Headhunter they are a mainstream Recruiter…

Real Headhunter Companies in Indonesia

Headhunter Company in Indonesia

There are very few Real Headhunter Companies operating in Indonesia, businesses that provide Old School Direct Approach Only Headhunter Services.

The market leaders are:

1) ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia

ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia has been operating since 2014 & has completed 1,000+ Executive Hires.

It is Jakarta’s real McCoy Headhunter Company.

Led and managed by James Umpleby, a British national who has been leading Indonesia Executive Recruitment since 2010.

Prior to establishing ProCapita, James was a Senior Business Leader at Korn Ferry International, the worlds largest Retained Only Executive Headhunter Firm, based in Jakarta.

James’ mission is simple – to make Indonesia Executive Recruitment Simple.

ProCapita offers companies senior, highly experienced headhunters that have closed executive hires across all industries and for all job functions in Indonesia. They are masters of the art of Executive Recruitment.

Their Professional Network is the largest in Indonesia, standing at 450,000+ Executive Level Candidates.

ProCapita offers Success Fee Only Executive Recruitment Services in Indonesia (Contingency) and can assist businesses from the C Level down to the Manager Level.

2) Korn Ferry International

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm that offers executive search, leadership development, and other talent management solutions.

Korn Ferry has been operating in Indonesia since the 1990’s.

They have a team of highly experienced headhunters who specialize in various industries and functions.

Their Headhunters come from professional corporate backgrounds and understand their industry of focus very well.

Korn Ferry offers Retained Only Headhunting Services in Indonesia.

3) Egon Zehnder

Egon Zehnder is a global leadership advisory firm specializing in executive search, leadership development, and board consulting.

They have a team of highly experienced headhunters who work closely with their clients to identify and attract top talent in Indonesia.

Their Headhunters come from professional corporate backgrounds and understand their industry of focus very well.

Egon Zehnder offers Retained Only Headhunting Services in Indonesia.

The Critical Role of a Headhunter in Indonesia

The Critical Role of a Headhunter in Indonesia

Indonesia is a rapid growth emerging market that is witnessing a very high demand for top-tier executive talent.

As such, Headhunters play a critical role in helping companies find, attract and secure the best candidates possible for their organisations and in turn achieving long term success.

There are very few real Headhunter Agencies in Indonesia. But the 3 mentioned above all provide a deep understanding of the local job market, invaluable insights and balanced advice to their client firms.

They also have a vast network of execuitve candidates, making it easy for them to identify and approach top talent fast.

All 3 employ highly experienced Headhunters that Make Indonesia Executive Recruitment Simple.

Wrapping Up

Headhunters are an essential Partner for any company looking to fill an important high-level position, where the Best of the Best must be recruited.

They offer deep expertise, access to top talent and time and cost savings, making them invaluable in any executive recruitment process.

When choosing a Headhunter, it’s important to consider their track record, reputation, network access, fees and communication style to ensure a successful partnership.

By leveraging the expertise and resources of headhunters, companies can quickly find, attract and secure the best candidates for their organisations fast, setting them up for long-term success.

ProCapita – Indonesia Headhunter Experts

ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia is Jakarta’s leading Executive Headhunter Agency. We are your trusted partner for securing top talent in Jakarta and Indonesia at large.

Having completed 1,000+ Headhunter Hires since 2014 and with an unmatched understanding of the local Indonesian market and a vast network of professional connections…

ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia excels at delivering tailored executive search headhunter solutions that align with the specific needs of any client.

Do You Need to Hire?

Please Contact ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia

Your Partner for Success

To learn more about our Headhunter Services in Jakarta and Indonesia at large, how our executive headhunters can help your organisation to find, attract and secure top tier executive talent, please Contact ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia.

Senior Executive Headhunter shall respond shortly.

While you are here, for businesses that are looking to make a Senior Appointment in Indonesia, please have a look at This Article which gives an overview about why so many companies fail when they perform Indonesia Executive Recruitment.

Similarly, please check out This Article which gives our Headhunter Tips on how to successfully handle a C-Level Hire in Indonesia.

James Umpleby, MD & Owner of ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia
James Umpleby, MD & Owner of ProCapita Headhunter Indonesia
ProCapita Indonesia