Headhunter Beats LinkedIn in Google Trends

Nearly twice as many people type the keyword “Headhunter” into the search as they do for the “LinkedIn Recruiter” platform.  If I were asked to interpret the data, I’d say it suggests companies still need headhunters to do the work of recruiting — to identify, qualify, interview, and ultimately deliver a hire. It also suggests that candidates still seek headhunters as well. The blue line represents searches for the term “Headhunter” while the red line represents “LinkedIn Recruiter”.

In other words, it is not yet possible to download an interested, qualified candidate to our inbox.

Headhunter Beats LinkedIn Recruiter - UPDATED

Headhunter Beats LinkedIn Recruiter in Volume

However, the lines above compare the percentage of volume. Google explains, “Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, a value of 50 means that the term is half as popular, and a score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.”

If I understand correctly, each line sets at 100 as the maximum amount for that time period. Consequently, one’s line maximum of 100 is a different amount than the other. Put another way, the measurement tracks comparative trending. But one is not comparing actual amounts. To do that, I added an extension Keywords Everywhere that plugs into an API with that volume data. I set the filter for the United States.

  • “LinkedIn Recruiter” is used as a search term 9,900 times per month
  • “Headhunter” is used as a search term 18,100 times per month

Interestingly, the battle between “Executive Search Firms” (in blue) and “LinkedIn Recruiter” (in red) does not end as well in Google Trends.

Executive Search Firms Versus LinkedIn Recruiter Percentage

Executive Search Firms Versus LinkedIn Recruiter

Executive Search Firms (in blue) versus LinkedIn Recruiters (in red) in Google Trends

Executive Search Firms Versus LinkedIn Recruiter Amount

When we check the actual amount:

  • “LinkedIn Recruiter” submits as a search term 9,900 times per month
  • “Executive Search Firms” submits as a search term 2,900 times per month

So what does this mean? Does it always mean that an increased interest in one thing drives down interest in another? Is there always a causal relationship? In the case of “Executive Search Firms,” it might be that people don’t use the keyword phrase as much as they used to — but they’re still looking for the service. They might use “Headhunter” or “Recruiter” instead, both of which fare better in Google Trends.

The Change is Worth Further Exploration

It’s a topic worth exploring more. Google Trends is a rabbit hole I highly recommend exploring. It provides mesmerizing documentation of the rise and fall in popularity of anything that can be “googled.” Of course, “rise and fall” is just the flip-side of “supply and demand.” So it is not surprising that Google Trends is being used for stock market investment. And it has other interesting applications. Spikes in flu symptom keywords usage have help public health professionals track the flu and predict its spread.

Executive Search Terms Have Changed

My takeaway is that the words we use to “google” executive recruiting terms have, indeed, shifted. “Headhunter” appears to be the preferred term. I suspect the change is generational. These days, we may simply think “headhunter” instead of “search firm.” That also suggests a preference for a person over a corporate entity. It seems only natural that we’d prefer to deal with a human being. To learn more about how to get to know a headhunter, check our blog post, How to Get to Know a Retained Executive Recruiter.

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