How to work with an executive recruiter?

Finding top talent for key positions is tough. Even the best companies find it hard to win the intense talent wars of today’s competitive marketplace. Companies need to contend with several challenges when they set out to hire the best: fierce competition for highly-skilled talent, lop-sided geographic distribution (e.g. the over abundance of tech talent in Silicon Valley), and lack of expertise outside the company’s core focus areas.

In-house talent acquisition teams can’t be expected to hire the best talent – at least not consistently. They don’t have both the network and the industry expertise that an experienced headhunter brings to the table.Don’t forget about the administrative rigmarole to wade through. Companies can find themselves overrun with resumes and applications. It takes time, expertise, and the right methodologies to evaluate and hire candidates.

To cast the widest net and tap into the right talent, it’s so important for companies to go beyond in-house teams. A good executive recruiter or headhunter is the most important part of the talent equation. Companies also need a powerful technology stack to manage the process of comparing and evaluating potential candidates from a large pool. Headhunting firms have both the specialised expertise and technology to handle such tasks.

A Harvard Business Review report states that over 80% of employee turnover can be attributed to poor hiring choices. Therefore, industry experience, hiring strategies, professional network and reach are some parameters that must be considered when hiring an executive recruiter or headhunting firm in order to get talent acquisition right.It is also important to strike and sustain productive relationships with headhunters. Although these professionals are trained to hunt the right talent for key roles within timelines and budgets, they need appropriate guidance and direction.

Before handing out each project, the company must clearly brief the recruiter about the business need and qualities they are looking for in potential candidates. Encouraging data-driven decision making goes a long way in improving the quality of the hiring pool. Companies should ask recruiters to gather data and metrics, for example, on channel usage, time to hire, resume sifting techniques, and skill matching.This will help companies establish recruitment benchmarks.

At every step along the way, they should uphold the company’s values and represent its ethos. When a company has many applications for a certain position, ensure that the recruiters are well-researched about the industry so it becomes easier for them to filter applications. Typically, with such volume, it might be that some candidates aren’t really looking for a new job. Recruiters, since they are constantly on the hunt, can assess if an applicant is actively interested in the job.

If needed, the company should work with independent evaluation teams to objectively assess the quality of candidates and record feedback systematically. Finally, working with third-party executive recruiters takes patience, money, energy and mutual understanding. It is well worth investing in this relationship to ensure proper talent fit and long term company growth that comes from having the right team in place.


Author : Liam Copsey