At a meeting with a new client recently, I gave them an in-depth review of our process when recruiting talent. When I had finished, he paused, then said “okay, that really clarifies things for me, and I feel I understand better why you are worth the fee. I always thought recruiter fees seemed too high, but it makes sense now”.
Whilst this didn’t necessarily surprise me, it did get me thinking about how we could educate our clients about the extensive processes we go through to find the ideal candidates. Also, understand that not all recruiters are the same. Some of them just put an ad on Seek, and screen the applicants, whereas others will go to extreme lengths to headhunt the best person.
Have you ever used a recruitment agency or an executive search agency to source a high-level candidate? What was your experience? Did you find out what lengths they went to in their search?
To give you an idea of the effort that goes into this, I will give you a breakdown of my typical process. When I start my search, I will first reach out to my own network, including our database with thousands of high-level candidates, and our social media networks (we have over 20,000 LinkedIn 1st connections).
I will then research the market (through various channels) and create a target list of 60-100 potential candidates who have the experience and skills required for the role. I will reach out to each of these people individually and discuss where they are in their career, their current job and what they’re looking for, without mentioning the client at all yet.
Depending on whether we are recruiting in a major city, regional city or a remote area, the number of candidates that are open to further discussions will vary. But usually, from this extensive initial process we will have a good list of great candidates who are interested in the position. From there we will start our in-depth interview process, sometimes involving multiple interviews with each candidate, to have a shortlist of the top candidates for the job.
Then there are the reference checks, and these are not just a few basic questions that we email the referees and wait for a reply, we spend a good 30-60 minutes really delving down into the details of how this candidate works and thinks. We want to be sure they are the right fit for your organisation, and if we don’t think they are, we will tell you.
There can often be hundreds of hours put into this recruitment process, and for the senior executives that are our clients, they do not have this kind of time to do it themselves, they are too busy doing their actual jobs.
This isn’t always going to be the case; most lower level jobs are simple to recruit for and I recommend you do those yourself if you have the time. But for those senior or more technical positions, save yourself the time and go to the experts.