As recruiters, our job and our daily interactions involve two sides of any industry we work in – the ‘candidate and the client‘, or the individuals in a given market place seeking a new challenge or otherwise and the companies and businesses that we work with and /or aim to work with.
Whilst any good executive recruiter will provide a thorough and professional service to both and be a representative of one to the other, the company that engages with us and will (hopefully) pay the invoice for our services will generally receive slightly more of the recruiters focus. It is still very surprising after over a decade in the industry just how many companies are therefore unfamiliar with the recruitment process, or actually behave in a manner that inhibits the recruiter they have just engaged to help them.
Here are a number of points that any company should consider before they engage with executive recruitment agencies or executive search firms.
Whilst a quick google search may well be a good starting point (for example head-hunter Thailand or executive search Thailand), it will really help you if you engage with a recruiter that is a particular specialist in your industry or market. Take the time to identify a small number of recruiters that operate within that space and then speak with them. Finding out whether they have worked on similar roles, how long they have been in the business, do they work with competitors etc. are all useful things to know.
Doing your research can also be something to consider prior to engagement – as a business have you explored all avenues before you have turned to a recruiter? Have you asked current employees for referrals? Are there any people you have met before or that are in your network who could do the job?
It is surprisingly common how many companies to engage recruiters without being able to articulate exactly what job they are looking to fill. Whilst it is the case that there can be some fluidity or flexibility within a role or business, any company must then be able to answer probing questions about this. A good recruiter will seek to gather as much information as possible about a job role, the department, the company etc. Personality is always a key factor when recruiting too, so be able to answer questions based on the characteristics or skill sets of the individual you need in the business. Whilst a job description is undoubtedly a useful document, fairly often they are little more than a guide, so be prepared to engage in a good discussion and update the recruiter on any specifications in order to get the most from them.
Any good recruiter will be looking to agree an action plan or timeframe when engaging with a company. This allows recruiters to manage their time accordingly and project their business in future. Once the specifics of the job are made clear and the recruiter is engaged then any meeting should be concluded with a discussion and agreement on the process moving forward. If this is subject to change then make that clear to a recruiter. Providing updates, feedback and having clear and open lines of dialogue are essential processes that enable a recruiter to do a thorough and professional job and furthermore attract that talent that you want to join the business.
Like any commodity in any facet of life, the maxim “you get what you pay for” certainly rings true in the world of recruitment. Largely as a result of the increasing competition within the recruitment industry, fees have been steadily declining over a period of time. That said, a company should not just consider their bottom line when engaging with a recruiter. Obviously a budget is a budget, but the best recruiters will charge a standard reasonable price and their work will represent full value for money. Aiming to engage with a recruiter based on their low fees alone runs the risk of receiving a low quality service and may actually increase the prospect of having to deal with a demotivated ‘budget priced’ recruiter.
In some regards this ties in with point number 2) but it is essential that as a business you are aware of your placing in the industry, the quality of candidates you should be able to attract from competitors and that you are able to offer a package that is attractive to would be candidates. It is quite striking how frequently a business will be looking for a superstar, but only willing to offer a salary that is below par when it comes to the market average. Beyond financial remuneration a company or role is attractive based on clearly defined job requirements, opportunity to progress and develop and the potential to expand their skills and experience in an enjoyable environment.
Remember that engaging a executive recruitment agencies to work for you is just as important as hiring and qualifying a candidate to work for you. Both should be fully aware of your process and you should be confident that both will do what is required of them for their respective roles. Knowledge, skills and experience are the key criteria when making the decision to hire.