SHULMAN ASSOCIATES SEARCH SERVICES, INC
While companies try to contain search costs by hiring internal recruiters who depend heavily on social media, they often miss the point and value in retaining specialist firms.
Internal “generalist” recruiters provide less credibility when speaking with industry specific candidates who want information about what is happening with competitive companies. These candidates expect recruiters to know specifics about what is happening inside competitive companies, and they want career counseling from veterans with anecdotal experience.
And internal recruiters rely heavily on advertising and social media; the amount of searches they do concurrently is enormous and diverse which makes passive candidate outreach impossible because of time constraints.
Most importantly, internal recruiters post openings online and rarely, if ever, cold call to passive "heads down" candidates, which means companies rarely see a broad range of talent.
Plus it's never a good idea for the market (candidates) to see an open job listed for months on end. Conversely when working with a retained firm the search remains confidential.
Competition for executive talent remains intense. This section will help you determine when to hire an executive search firm, what kind of firm to hire and how to get the most out of the relationship.
This is such a critical issue that we wrote an article about it for Employment Relations Today. See “When To Use an Executive Search Firm and How To Get the Most Out of the Relationship” under Archives
When to Hire an Executive Recruiter
As competition for executive talent remains intense, more and more companies are finding it imperative to bring in specialized executive recruiters to search for and recruit top talent in the most efficacious and professional way . Why? One mistake in hiring at a senior level and a company can suffer major strategic setbacks. What’s more, few companies have the bandwidth within their HR department to deal with an activity as intense and demanding as time intensive full-blown executive level search work.
If you decide to conduct the search with in-house staff, the first step is to conduct an analysis of your internal recruiter's skill sets. You’ll need to determine whether specific team members possess the gravitas, credibility and seasoning to reach out to your target audience. In many cases internal recruiter’s talents are limited to successfully filling entry-level and mid-level positions only – positions that are usually sourced through social media.
Outside executive search consultants spend all day every day conducting professional executed executive searches. They understand proactive outreach to passive candidates for the highest levels of on-target candidates. They are adept at sourcing contacts from previous searches. In other words, they find the candidates, they don’t wait for the right person to answer online posts or rely on social media.
The depth of knowledge found from outside search firms is a key differentiator. Shulman Associates, for example, handles executive searches that fall under the umbrella of corporate relations and integrated marketing communications, and other positions that are closely related to the function of delivering the right profile and brand messages to the company’s various constituencies – customers, shareholders, employees, opinion leaders and the public at large. That’s all we do - all day, every day.
What Kind of Executive Recruiting Firm to Hire
It’s not about the number of consultants who work for the search firm; it’s about knowledge of your industry and/or the function for which you’re hiring. Only hires search consultants who are experts in the area you wish to find talent - generalists will not be as effective as experts. Specialist firms have access to the best-qualified candidates through deep and long founded networks, their personal knowledge of key players as well as proprietary databases. Social media is an adjunct, not the sole tool. Search experts “talk the talk” in the marketplace, which enables them to immediately engage the best candidates for your company.
Before hiring any firm, be sure to:
What to Expect from Your Executive Recruiter
Demand their top talent.
Shulman Associates provides principal participation on every search. Conducting a high-level search is a complex task that requires the skills of an experienced executive search professional. Be sure to meet and interview all consultants working on your search. In larger firms, senior consultants oversee multiple searches and therefore rely on junior and mid evel staff to do much of the legwork. In smaller firms, you’ll be able to command the attention of more senior partners. Again, ask for principal participation.
Remember that your search team will represent your company in the marketplace, so look for individuals who best reflect and articulate your style, brand, culture, products and services.
Expect them to start working for you early in the hiring process.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to draft a final job description and salary package before hiring a search firm. To be sure, hiring managers need to initially define the position and what they believe is necessary to achieve outcomes and goals. But this is not where it should end. The best executive search firms will insist on providing value in these early stages, based on their expert perspective of industry trends, their knowledge of how other companies define similar positions and their “take” on the vast talent pool from which to tap candidates. We will create a First Draft Position Narrative for every search assignment we undertake.
Your costs do not increase by engaging your executive search firm early in the process; the consultant’s fee structure is always a percentage of the salary of the position. The bottom line is: don’t hire a firm that won’t help you in this early stage.
Expect them to be part of your team.
Some companies hire a search firm and never hear from them until the candidates are ready to be interviewed. Insist that your search consultants become part of your team. Make sure they meet all significant players, including those who will be peers and subordinates of the new hire as well as the hiring manager and human resource professionals if appropriate. Give them free access to information and facilities so they can get an accurate picture of your company’s atmosphere and culture.
By fostering a team approach you’ll assure communication will be open and cooperative throughout the process. Not all searches travel perfect linear paths. There will be times when regrouping and revising certain aspects of the search will be required. By fostering a team spirit early on, you will not need to redirect and refocus later on.
Use their negotiating skills to the fullest extent possible.
One of the most important parts of any search is the negotiation stage. Here is where the expert executive search firms separate themselves from the pack; they provide the invaluable service of facilitator and intermediary between the company and the candidate.
Most candidates do not want to negotiate directly with their future boss. And most companies don’t understand that a little give and take is necessary to present the right package deal for the best candidate. This mediation role from your executive search firm can make the difference between hiring an individual who is sold on the position or one who is not.
Simply put, maximize the relationship.
Why Hire Shulman Associates?
Shulman Associates scores high in these important measurements. We have an unblemished track record of performance. Most of our business comes from referrals from satisfied candidates and clients.
We recruit only for positions that fall under the integrated marketing communications/corporate relations umbrella, including managers, directors, senior vice presidents, managing directors/general managers to C-level roles for the following roles in alphabetical order:
A search done properly is a process executed flawlessly. And how any company goes to market to hire key staff reflects who are they as a company.