You’re the director of a big corporate seeking to fill a couple of the high-level positions that you have openings for. Read on for reasons to partner with an executive search firm and how to get the very best work from them.
If you’ve gotten to the point of knowing you need an executive search firm in your corner, it is likely because you do not have the network available from which to seek the calibre of candidates your company most needs. You want that hotshot manager or executive who can drive efficiency and boost profits, but you don’t have time to sift through a trillion CVs, and your in-house HR team is too junior to even begin to fathom the complexities of what the new manager or executive’s role will entail.
First up, you don’t want a hunter-gatherer of CVs for this level of position-filling; you want a partner in the game who is sufficiently skilled, experienced and has the maturity to establish your expectations upfront, woo each candidate as to the position at hand, while simultaneously providing you with regular updates on their progress.
Patience is of the essence because the best person for the job is usually happily employed elsewhere. So good advice, according to Jeremy Bossenger, director at BossJansen Executive Search, is to trust in the high-level recruitment process that your executive search partner is following. “It is going to take some time, and will require a bit of budget, simply as a result of the research to be undertaken, the network that must be tapped into, and your skilled partner’s ability to assess from the outside what sort of organisational culture you have and which of the available candidates is likely to fit well into that,” he enthuses.
Next up, you can’t expect to recruit the best candidate if the role that needs to be filled has a sketchy set of responsibilities and a remuneration package that is below industry standards. Certainly, your executive search partner will be able to streamline the finer points of the role, as a result of the experience they’ve had in previous writing of job descriptions – but the bold print needs to come from you. As far as salaries go, you should make sure what you’re offering is more than industry standard, because those senior individuals who are happily employed would need a few extra perks to make a move into the relative unknown.
And remember that the best partnerships involve considerable levels of give and take. So be sure to provide your executive search partner with as much information as possible – ranging from what you hope the new candidate will be able to achieve once they have moved across to you, to industry competitors whom you secretly admire and aspire to emulate. “Hiring an executive search firm is akin to making an investment in your people and your progress,” enthuses Bossenger. “We love working with companies that are responsive to our questions and excited by our feedback; who understand how time-consuming the hiring progress can be for top talent; and who give approvals on documents and make time for interviews. Without this, the search progress can become disjointed, and formerly interested candidates may lose focus.”
Just as you would never hire a senior staff member and then set about micromanaging their every move, your executive search partner needs to be empowered with all the relevant information, your trust and respect – and then left to go forth and conquer, bringing home the ideal candidate after the detailed search process they follow has reached its close.