Are you about to recruit your next Executive? Don’t make this mistake when outsourcing to an external Consultant or Recruiter. There are a number of key factors to ensure the role is filled with the best candidate from the market. How will you trust that your Consultant will find that needle in the haystack and the very best person available for your vacancy?
There are a number of key factors that clients should consider such as:
- Reputation / brand
- Track record / expertise
- Consultant relationship
- Methodology / offering
- Value-added services
What sets Consultants apart is not the shiny brand or website, not the long list of placements, or the most competitive bid. The real difference is the Consultant’s ability to manage, negotiate and consult through what is a very emotional, intuitive and onerous process. A Consultant’s ability to read people, situations and solutions is paramount. This becomes even more crucial when conducting executive search. Your Consultant needs to know when to push you and your board to move faster, to make a decision, to challenge your thinking, question your assumptions and ensure you have your eyes wide open to all the positives, as well as development areas or concerns.
On the candidate side, the consultant has the responsibility to build a relationship, get inside their head, know what makes them tick, know when they are holding back, know when to put pressure on, when to take pressure off and ultimately how to manoeuvre the candidate through what can become a competitive bid process.
This was the case I heard this week. A friend of mine was going through two different recruitment processes for two different roles. They were neck and neck in terms of his level of interest and in terms of where they were both at in the process – both second interview with each respective panel. He was equally interested. He was equally committed. What got him over the line? The relationship with his Consultant and their ability to move fast and to run a true executive process, rather than a transaction-based recruitment process. There were phone calls, consultation, probing questions, availability and check ins over the weekend (both Saturday and Sunday), which resulted him taking that job at 9am on the Monday.
The other firm was rushing at the final hour with final reference checks and testing, then knocking off at 5pm Friday and said “talk to you again on Monday”. While they were enjoying their weekend, the other Executive Consultant was doing the deal – keeping the board and their candidate informed to enable them to have a signed contract on Monday morning.
There is a difference between executive search and contingent or main-stream traditional recruitment. It doesn’t only lie in the fees (which may seem an attractive proposition when comparing proposals), it lies in the firm’s ability to run an executive search process that goes far beyond ‘filling a job’.
In the highly skilled area of executive search, you don’t often see what goes beyond the fine print of the proposal: it’s the nuts and bolts, it’s the people skills, it’s a Consultant’s ability to earn trust and go beyond the shiny, slick proposal with pages of placement history, to embody warmth, trust and competence to negotiate the finer points that will ultimately result in a win for all parties involved.
How will you choose your next Consultant?