Even if you are accustomed to paying executive search fees, we all know they’re not cheap. That’s why your outside search firm should be bringing you expertise, knowledge and value. Not every hire needs an outside recruiter, especially given the tools now available to internal hiring staff. However, a highly experienced, professional, competent search consultant can make all the difference in specialized areas or when the talent pool is competitive. The difference is merely filling a position versus attracting the best talent.
Your search firm should be a partner to you as an invaluable resource to attract and hire the best the market has to offer. As one client freely admitted, “when we feel we are listened to, advised, and get exactly what we’ve asked for, I’m happy to pay for it.” The best recruiters:
1 – Bring Knowledge and Skill – The recruiter of yesteryear, the salesman who thinks he can sell anything to anyone, has no place in talent acquisition these days. The market is much more complex and sophisticated than putting a peg in a hole. The best recruiters use a much more consultative approach. Top search consultants bring knowledge to the table – about the industry they’re recruiting in, the market, the ideal candidate, the roadblocks, and how to achieve success. They are skilled experts in their area of expertise (recruiting and talent management) but also in the sectors in which they are recruiting. Effective search consultants have great relationships and deep networks, but a recruiter worth her salt is also eager to learn what she doesn’t know in order to be more effective at assisting clients.
2 – Create Value – An outside recruiter should take some (hopefully a lot) of the burden off of you. And they should be doing it in such a way that makes you feel cared for. A search firm with a highly personalized approach, excellent rapport, with recruiters who are accessible and responsive to both clients and candidates, is one with a much higher likelihood of getting an employer the right fit. A skilled recruiter is strategic and has already conducted a heavy pre-screen of the candidate before you ever see their resume. She orients both the candidate and the client throughout the process and makes the client look good. By the end of the hiring process, I have often spent substantially more time than my client with the candidate.
3 – Uncover Candidates You Wouldn’t – Anyone can place an ad in a publication or on social media. The vast majority of resumes obtained by posting ads are not highly-qualified candidates who are the right fit for the position. Passive candidates take work to recruit and attract to a position. But very often they are the most valuable talent – relatively happy in their current positions but willing to look at an opportunity. Recruiters who recruit mostly passive candidates are a tremendous asset. They are still networked like all good recruiters, but they’re not afraid to put the time and effort in to find the best, not to just search their database.
4 – Sell Your Firm or Company – A recruiter who undertakes a search for you should understand the position and your company. This is the only way they will truly know who might be a good fit for the position. The ability to sell an employer begins with an understanding of the organization, its culture, and why it’s looking for those particular qualities in a hire. Good recruiters create relationships with their clients in which there is a free flow of information. This enables the recruiter to do the work of selling the employer’s brand to potential candidates to attract the best talent. It also allows the recruiter to orient candidates to the position within the framework of the organization.
5 – Manage and Help Close– The best recruiters do not take a hands-off approach. They assist the client to shape the process for both client and candidate, act as a filter for each party, answer questions that arise, deal with issues in the process, and fill in the blanks. This enables the recruiter to function as an asset in the process and to be confident the right candidate will get and accept the right offer. They are also not afraid to acknowledge that someone ultimately might not be the right fit after all. But when they are, the recruiter has already laid the groundwork for the candidate to accept an offer.
All of these attributes create successful placements that are long-lasting. Executive search firms who take a consultative approach and offer a great deal of expertise, knowledge and are willing to work hard to find the best candidates are well worth the cost. In an increasingly competitive talent marketplace, a skilled recruiter can be invaluable in attracting and hiring the best and brightest the market has to offer.
If you are interested in learning more about strategic executive search and hiring, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.