This myth is a bit more elaborate than the title suggests.  I’ve presented it below in its entirety:

All recruiters work the same way, and all of them know how to be headhunters.

There have always been recruiters who only work from resumes on file or through employment advertising.  Then some conduct a complete search.

Most companies have no idea who does what, much less when to use one recruiter over another.  In the old days, it was filing cabinets, newspaper classified advertising, and a rotary phone.  Now it’s an online job posting, LinkedIn, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Monster, other job boards, computer databases, and headsets.

In short, these recruiters deal with people who are looking for jobs.

A true search includes not only active job seekers but also reaching out to network with those who are happy in their jobs and those who are content enough to look passively for a new opportunity.

You might be asking why this is important.  Allow me to explain.

If you need a supervisor-level candidate or an individual contributor who will be directly managed, you can often fill the job with those actively looking for a new role.  If you have a key position, you probably want to recruit someone who doesn’t need to look for a job.

By utilizing a recruiter who is a true headhunter who regularly “hunts heads” for complex searches and senior roles, you will be presented with a pool of candidates who are the best in the field versus the best who are actively looking for work.

(For more information about maximizing the benefits of working with a recruiter, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Hunting the Headhunter: Your Guide to Debunking Myths, Cutting Costs, and Changing the Way You Play the Recruitment Game.)