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Redefining Headhunter: The New Executive Recruiter

rw-admin | 07/27/2016

Headhunter of Yesterday

Long ago, a bad word became associated with the recruiting industry; headhunter. Headhunters were thought to be ruthless, stop at nothing bandits that swooped into unsuspecting companies and stole their best and brightest employees.  The negative image developed when headhunting became so cutthroat that some recruiters would use any means necessary to lure desirable candidates as well as bully clients into placements.  Adverse tactics brought ethical standards into question and led to the stigma attached to the term.

Over time, a new generation of headhunters evolved, now most commonly known as Executive Recruiters.  Effective recruiting at the senior-level is vital to an organization’s success. Luckily, there are plenty of honest, ethical, professional executive recruiters who know how to establish long-term relationships with both clients and candidates. As you contemplate partnering with an executive recruiter, consider the following:

  • Does the recruiter have experience or knowledge relevant to YOUR specific industry?
  • Who will you, the client, be dealing with during the entire process? A dedicated representative or a team?
  • What type of communication will be used? Is your contact responsive and open to your questions or concerns?
  • How are your “needs” analyzed by the recruiter? How much effort is put into understanding actual and potential needs?
  • Does the recruiter understand the tangible, strategic, operational, and economic significance of the position in question?
  • How does the candidate search process work? What are the screening, interviewing and evaluation procedures?
  • Is there a focus on company culture and making sure the candidate fits in?
  • Does the recruiter and their firm have a good reputation and testimonials to back it up?

If you are still unsure as to why you should work with a recruiter, consider this: a recent study by Source of Hire showed that of 112,000 positions filled, 45% were direct sourced. This means a recruiter found the person and contacted them to determine interest and fit.  This is an important statistic.  The remaining placements came through personal referrals (40%) and only 15% were due to candidates directly applying to open positions.  So why do recruiters have more success?

  1. Commitment: Executive recruiting is their job.  They are dedicated to filling positions with the “most-likely-to-succeed” candidates. By understanding the nature of the business from both a required skills aspect to the concept of company culture, a top-tier recruiter is committed to presenting candidates that fulfill both capacities.
  2. Advocacy: Good recruiters act as client ambassadors. They are able to professionally convey what a client wants and needs to job candidates.
  3. Time Savings: A company’s HR department can easily be overrun by resumes. Good recruiting firms have specialized processes in place which allow them to streamline resume screening and candidate evaluations, removing this burden from their client’s workload.
  4. Industry insight: Recruiters are kept abreast of the employment market landscape and are able to manage client and candidate expectations.
  5. Dedicated partner: When you partner with the right recruiter, you are building a relationship in which there is mutual respect and understanding, open communication and transparency.
  6. Results: Successful, professional executive recruiters do not make empty promises. Their record should always speak for itself.  The goal is always quality over quantity and that should be forefront and present in all of your conversations.

As with any specialized industry, you will have both good and bad representation.  And although there are still a few unscrupulous headhunters out there, fortunately there are many ethical, professional executive recruiters available to provide valuable assistance in the search for great talent.  Performing due diligence when selecting a firm is of utmost importance.  There should be a symbiotic relationship between client and recruiter which leads to successful placements and positive results.

For customized executive recruiting solutions in the industrial manufacturing and automation industries, trust The Q Works Group.

Written By: Angie Barnes, Q Works Group