Peter Wharton is managing partner at Antal International in Geneva where the team specialises in search and recruitment in three key areas - execs, marketing and sales roles for tech scale ups, sustainability management roles cross industry and marketing, product management and product marketing roles, also across different industries.
The past 18 months has seen a major swing in power away from hiring companies to candidates. Previously there could have been four or more great candidates for every new opening to now what often seems like one candidate for every four or more new vacancies.
Hiring new talent has become more challenging and working with high performing recruitment agencies has become a competitive advantage for many companies.
Choosing the right recruitment partner will help you recruit & retain the right people faster and more cost effectively.
In my opinion there are three types of agencies for permanent roles.
- Generalists for entry level, admin, cross industry, multi disciplines, often region specific
- Specialists focused on specific industry sectors, and disciplines and are often international.
- Executive boutique firms for management roles up to c-level.
Sometimes an agency will recruit both specialists and execs in their specific field of expertise like myself. For example the past 12 months l’ve placed a Head of Product and a VP Global Field Marketing as well as a Business development manager and a product manager.
Step one on choosing an agency. Preparation!
Be sure you know exactly what role you want to hire and what the key criteria in selecting a final candidate are, including experience, skills, industry and desired candidate character.
Know your budget. You also need to define how critical the position is, how urgent, and what is the cost of not filling this role in set time period.
Step two is to determine what you require from the agency. My clients for example need specialist industry and discipline knowledge, and a proven track record in hiring similar positions.
Step three, after identifying potential recruitment partners you will need to interview them.
Clearly explain your hiring needs and process and what is expected of them. Do you need them to do reference checks or psychometric tests, or provide other services?
Question their knowledge and experience in your sector and the disciplines. What insights can they bring that may help you improve your recruitment process?
Understand how the recruiters work - what tools and processes do they use? They should not rely on Linked In search alone for example.
Determine how large and effective is their network, and if there a good chemistry between you and the main agency contact as you’ll be working very closely over the next weeks and months
Understand their terms and conditions and ensure it's within your budget
To summarise, recruiters come with a cost for sure, but you can leverage a great recruitment partner to engage quickly with best-in-class candidates that would not be reachable through Linked In ads, or job descriptions on your website, which makes it so critical to select the right agency.
Written by Peter Wharton, Managing partner at Antal International, Geneva, Switzerland