This somewhat gruesome metaphor, by Hollywood applied to stereotypical brands of savage, also applies to "executive dating services" seeking to capitalize (get paid) by matching best of breed candidates with customized dream teams.
Many high caliber performers languish for never having their heads sufficiently hunted and examined, like this women's clothing store manager, who loves writing C# for .NET way more than he cares about upcoming Fall fashions -- not a good match.
He could move the whole family to India to become a retail app coder, with better living standards, better schooling, for all concerned. But New Jersey seems safer, and besides, without an intermediary to see the possibilities, how is he even to guess at these missed opportunities?
Head hunters are increasingly turning to social networking software, other cyberspace-based technologies, to fine tune their matchmaking. Orkut, LinkedIn, MySpace and so on are a good place to start.
Like dating services, head hunters thrive on repeat business, meaning building a loyal base of satisfied customers is critical. Knowing your niche demographic is likewise vital therefore. Make too many mismatches, and your competition will grab all your business!
Perhaps there's only one person in the whole world most qualified for a specific opening, some barber in Seville. Which head hunter will find him first? It's a game, and a fun one, if you like this sort of thing. I'll risk saying women play it better than men (yes a stereotype), but without claiming their edge is genetic, although it may well be.
My own 4D Solutions is not primarily a head hunting service, but I recognize the value of making good matches, helping people become happy campers in jobs they adore.
So in the course of my generic business day, at the office or on the road, I may well make a referral or two.
And like everyone else here, I'm on a learning curve of sorts, with much further to go in my training. Maybe my "could be a heart surgeon" seems more like a "circus clown" to some of my hospital friends (not that these categories are mutually exclusive of course).
I don't always "make plenty of sense" -- just sometimes.