As unique and diversified as we are, recruiters in general are initially trained to follow a certain set of steps to locate, contact, and bring forth candidates to you, the client. So you would think the deliverables — the candidates — from a single recruiter or search firm would be consistently the same for every client. In many ways, this is true. But there are three variables that clients can easily control that will influence the quality and quantity of candidates that the client receives.
1. Let’s talk
Effective communication between recruiter and client is the MOST critical factor for recruiting success. You should have the expectation that your recruiter will be communicating the status of the search on a regular basis, typically weekly, and be in regular contact with you with questions, feedback, and data points that they uncover during the sourcing process. This allows you, the client, to make any adjustments to the recruitment approach, or to the position itself, or to the compensation range for the job, based upon what the recruiter is seeing in the market.
In return, when your recruiter does contact you, it is critical to respond as quickly as possible. There is nothing more frustrating to a recruiter than sourcing a great candidate and then not being able to reach the hiring manager in a timely manner to help facilitate next steps or answer any questions that arise in the headhunting process. Bottom line: This impacts the recruiter’s ability and motivation, and the candidate’s initial enthusiasm wanes drastically as time passes.
Without effective, open, and regular two-way communication, the search can languish inactive.
2. Position the “position” with pizzazz
No longer should the position description be a bland listing of duties and responsibilities if you are trying to attract top candidates in a competitive field. The better the role is scoped, defined, described, and positioned, the better the candidate that the headhunter can bring forth to you. A very good recruiter can reach just about any passive candidate that they target, but if the role they are representing is not presented in a compelling way, the headhunter can be almost powerless to get the potential candidate to agree to take the next step.
The position, company description, and interview process must be carefully treated and handled as marketing avenues, revealing the most attractive reasons someone might want this job at this company versus the other 20 similar companies recruiting the same person. It is a tall order sometimes, but it does greatly influence the quality of candidate you will attract.
3. No secrets
The information NOT contained on the position description usually is exactly what the recruiter needs to know to bring you the right candidate. The most successful employers take the time to talk at long length with the recruiter to give an unedited account of background information (including confidential information that the search firm will keep confidential) of the position, the department, the culture, the challenges and opportunities, the company’s financial stability (or not), the people and personalities involved, what’s working, and what is not working. Finding resumes that match bullet points on a position description is one thing, but finding a candidate that matches the requirements AND is a fit given all the factors listed above is what defines success for the client and the recruiter and the hired candidate.
Margot Finley is in her 20th year specializing in the recruitment of sales & marketing professionals for solution providers within the Human Capital/HR Solutions sector, for example vendors providing Talent Management, Performance Management, Learning, Leadership Development, and Workforce Analytics solutions. She's President at Avondale Search International, Inc.
After beginning her executive search career in London in 1993, she moved back to the US and now resides with her two boys and big black dog in St. Augustine, Florida. When not working or spending time with her sons, she enjoys reading, running and photography.
Please visit her site at http://www.avondalesearch.com.