How to Choose and Partner with Headhunters

Growing a team can be time consuming and add a significant workload on top of your day job. Hiring managers conducting their own hiring process quickly find that they turn into full-time recruiters as they get sucked into scouring job boards, browsing through hundreds of resumes and interviewing dozens of candidates. Read more about the importance of a properly mapped hiring process.

As a hiring manager engaged in recruiting activities, you’ll find yourself either neglecting your primary responsibilities or your personal life. Either way, it’s not good.

While the idea of hiring a recruiter seems obvious, you may be hesitant based on poor experiences in the past. That said, there is a reason Staffing and Recruiting is a rapidly growing, multi-billion-dollar industry; recruiters are essential to the success of growing organizations.

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In this post, we aim to guide you on qualifying and cultivating strategic partnerships with a search professional.

Qualifying a Recruiter

While qualifying a recruiter can be time consuming in of itself, it should be considered a long term investment. Once you’ve identified a strong recruiting partner, the the return on time investment will be significant; you will have found a consistent solution to acquiring human capital saving countless hours in the future. Here are three general guidelines on initial qualifications.

Find a Niche Recruiter

Recruiting generalists may be good at attracting entry level candidates, but typically won’t cut it when engaging on mid to senior level searches. Working with a market master – a headhunter with a specific niche market focus – in your industry is critical. These recruiting specialists are ingrained in your industry; they stay updated on trends and consistently communicate with the market’s top talent in your desired geography. The benefit cannot be underestimated.

A niche recruiter brings the following to the table:

  • Credibility to the search by communicating knowledgeably with target candidates about their industry and how your opportunity is unique.
  • Market intelligence associated with your competition, compensation and scope of candidate pools.

Dedicate Time

Sending the headhunter a job description and turning them loose on the market is ineffective. Dedicate time to educating the recruiter on the opportunity, in-depth qualifying questions, budget and company value proposition. Often, a recruiter is the first person introducing your company and opportunity to the market – you want them to represent you well and accurately.

This time invested will also provide you with insight.

  • Is the recruiter tracking the topics being discussed?
  • Are they asking insightful questions?
  • Have they provided consultation on the subject matter?

If the answer to these questions are “no”, then it may be worth your while to continue looking for a more appropriate service provider.

Confirm Search Parameters

You’ve just dedicated valuable time providing the recruiter with the information required to communicate your message to market. Prior to letting them loose, ask for a written summary of the details to ensure both you and the headhunter are in line. This will either confirm your partner is on the same page or show a lack of dedication to your search.

Partnering with a Recruiter

In deploying a recruiter to communicate your company’s value proposition to the market with the desired result being attracting talent, you just entered into a strategic partnership. Like any partnership where interests are aligned and contribution by all parties is needed, communication is key.

Below are four recommendations on how a winning partnership can be established between employers and headhunters.

Candidate Data

A good headhunter will conduct detailed interviews with every candidate they represent. The data uncovered in these discussions adds critical context to a resume and should be included with each candidate submittal. Being that the recruiter is the first level of qualification, they should be capable of elaborating to hiring managers the reasons they’ve decided to present an individual.

Resume Reviews

Just like any relationship, the initial time spent learning and level-setting is crucial to success. Whether or not you are happy with the initial resumes submitted, ensure you dedicate time to a live conversation with your headhunter to provide feedback.

If the resumes being sent are not on the money, the recruiter will need to learn and adjust. Over time, the profiles will either get closer to the mark and your partnership will flourish. Or, the candidates will not improve, and it may be time to find a new search firm.

Interview Debriefs

This is the same premise as the resume review.  If an interview does not go well, the recruiter will need feedback in order to adjust. If there was a positive outcome to the interview, that feedback enforces to the headhunter that they’re on the right track.

Another item to consider is that if the interview went well, it’s presumed you’d want the candidate to remain engaged.  Having the headhunter relay the good news helps!

Closing Candidates

Candidates will often share vital information with a third party (headhunters) that wouldn’t necessarily be communicated to employers during the interview process.  In order to ensure the offer you want to extend aligns with the candidate’s expectations, allow the recruiter to level-set with the candidate.

Level-setting can include:

  • Compensation
  • Start date
  • Vacation
  • Benefits
  • Competing opportunities

This is the ultimate test. If a recruiter brokers a successful close based on trust and value with both parties, then you’ve found your partner. If the offers are being consistently contested or rejected, an adjustment needs to be made.

While these steps may seem like a lot of work, identifying the right recruiting partner will pay dividends throughout your career. You will have your go-to headhunter for all critical searches and your hiring woes will cease to exist.

We at Pinpoint Search Group would appreciate your consideration as you select a go-to headhunter for searches related to Cyber Security, Information Management, Cloud and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

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