How to manage your critical recruitment

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Retained Search

In my first blog I asked the question; ‘Are you frustrated with your hiring process’ and I have produced a report from a survey carried out within an international recruitment company suggesting the top 6 reasons why you may be having difficulty.

In order to effectively manage your critical recruitment you simply must address each point raised in this report, whether you are trying to manage the recruitment process yourself, looking to your ‘In-house Recruiters’ or going external, it doesn’t matter. If you process is flawed you will most likely fail.

Click here to download this report now to see where the difficulties lay

When you are looking at critical hiring; that is when the hire is vital for your business, someone to move your business to the next step, or to open up a new territory or turnaround a failing project, save that vital account. Or where the skills and experience are in short supply and high demand etc.. This is when there simply are no short cuts.

For these hires my advice would be to retain a specialist head-hunter who will already have a full tried and tested process that will provide predictable results time and time again. You may think this advice is self-serving and to an extent it is, however the truth is that very few companies have the in-house experience to do this themselves.

Why retain, why not just push it out to several contingency head-hunters? Simple, because they will not give you the dedicated service needed to ensure success, they will give you the best they can for contingency recruitment, but if the task requires too much dedicated time and effort they will be chasing the lower hanging fruit. In paying a retainer you are ensuring you will get the dedicated service needed to ensure the maximum chance of success.

I have read many blogs suggesting any number of questions you may want to ask your Retained head-hunter and yes ask your questions and read their testimonials but you will know if they will be any good by the way they engage with you, what you are looking for is a head-hunter who will walk you through an effective and robust process, this will start at the outset when you first engage, whether you called them or they called you where they actually interested in you and what problems you were trying to solve, or were they too busy talking about themselves and not listening.

You don’t need to check out the market, call in several agencies and ask them to bid or talk about their process or go on about the guarantees they offer etc. If this recruitment is important enough, then the fee they charge is hardly relevant, a couple of thousand here and there hardly makes a difference against the quality of the process and candidates they introduced.

In preparing a search a good head-hunter is going to want to spend time getting to know you, getting to know your company, the team, the work environment the culture of the company, in order to attract the top talent available, he is going to need to know how to SELL your opportunity, your company, YOU.

He/she will walk you through a Job qualifier that will ensure you have asked all the questions you need to determine exactly what you are looking for, to ensure you have properly defined the role. It is not just about writing a job spec, that might determine the skills needed but it is about understanding what the person will actually be doing, what problem they are solving, what previous experience they must have, what can be learned on the job. Unless you have fully determined what you are looking for, how will you ever know you have found it?

They will examine the market with you, or explore the market on your behalf to ensure you know what you need to attract the right person and that’s not JUST about salary and benefits, but it’s about what your competitors are about, what they can offer, career progression, training, what is motivating these people etc. in short why will someone want to work with your company and in your team and what you will need in place to make it attractive.

As well as a robust and effective Job order qualifier the good head-hunter will walk you through how they will qualify each candidate they look at, clearly this is about matching the person to the job order, but how will they do this. How will they understand the motivation of the candidates, how will they influence them to consider your opportunity, how will they ensure they identify and introduce your opportunity to the right people to ensure they have explored as much of the market as they can. After all that’s what search is about and it is not an easy straight forward process, is not just about placing a few adds or talking to a few people from a database or contact a few people on social media.

If search were easy it would be called ‘Found’! Its requires a lot of effort and skill to make an effective search to ensure enough people have been approached and influenced to consider your opportunity.
As well as the robust job order and candidate qualification process there the whole process management, communications, briefing, debriefing, management of risks (change of mind, counter offer, cold feet, other opportunities etc), management of offer, resignation process, on boarding, maintain ongoing contact into the hire to understand and identify concerns and issues etc.

This last paragraph is paramount to ensuring a successful hire but has only been glossed over here, the problem is we are dealing with people and people are so unpredictable, they need to be managed throughout the whole hiring process and into the hire to ensure maximum chance of getting and keeping the right person for your company.

In summary, if you are looking at a hire that is crucial to your business, why would you take a chance? Saving a few thousand on recruitment costs at this point is very likely to cost you a lot more in time. Very few companies have the experience or expertise to carry out an effective search themselves, of course you could put it through your usual hiring process, you MIGHT just get lucky but you will never know if you had seen the best talent available. A good head-hunter will ensure they attract for you the top talent you cannot attract for yourself.

Jim Foster
Managing Partner
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 388 033
Mobile: +44 (0) 7887 791 042
Antal Bracknell ICT

Bracknell Enterprise & Innovation Centre,
12th Floor, Ocean House, Bracknell, RG12 1AX