Jolyon Jenkins looks into the mysterious world of the head-hunter.
Head-hunters deal in high-value, high-profile appointments, charging an equally high fee. But few companies or individuals like to openly acknowledge their work.
Why would a company need outside consultants to search its own backyard, as some do? These companies are often accused of such exclusivity that they neglect talented potential candidates - many of whom lie outside the so called inner circle, who may be female or from non-traditional backgrounds. What do they really do for the money aside from calling round a small group of the usual suspects?
Headhunting is often seen as expensive, manipulative and secretive 'an unscrupulous business of networks and address books, lunches and cajolery'. This, in part, because the hunting has to be imperceptible except to the hunted.
But this is not the whole picture. Are there wider benefits to be gained from a head-hunter's research?
Jolyon Jenkins follows academic head-hunter Helen Yallop as she searches for a Master for an Oxbridge college, and gains a a fascinating insight into a hidden world.