Recruiter, detective, superspy
Effective executive search integrates the skills of all of these professions. This is a special area of recruitment – search for top managers and rare candidates.
One might think that finding such personnel is a piece of cake. There aren’t that many professionals, and they are typically “in the public eye”; all you have to do is get in touch with them and send an offer. However, far from it. The complexity of the search boils down to the fact that these people are neither regular job seekers, nor their resumes are available in open databases. Moreover, keep in mind that they will need the most telling arguments to change jobs.
Executive search is a real art, “top performance” of recruitment. In the process of searching for a candidate, the recruiter (or, say, the head of the company doing this on one’s own) will have to become a “detective”, a diplomat, and a secret agent all rolled into one. In addition, you need to assimilate all your professional skills, personal connections, and recommendations by friends, as well as, of course, state-of-the-art technologies.
In some countries, executive search specialists can even position themselves as a separate (elite) recruitment area. Say, executive recruiting technologies can hardly be called a cheap pleasure, and customers who can afford it carefully monitor where the office is located, how recruiters are dressed and what cars they drive. However, these criteria are already becoming a thing of the past, especially during a pandemic with everyone going online. Not anymore are recruiters identified by a car brand or suit design, but rather by their performance.
OK, let’s try to find out – how to start executive selection procedure.
Figure out, pin down, “recruit”
The search consists of three steps akin to the following actions: figure out (analyze the market), pin down, “recruit”.
Prepare for the search with the utmost care. Oh no, don’t be scared – you won’t need a high collar cape and dark glasses (the very first attributes of a detective). Instead, you need to create an action plan alongside making friends with computer technologies.
First, monitor the market. Look how many specialists of the required level you can come across. Employ all resources possible – Linkedin, Facebook, websites of core businesses and publications. Draw up a list of companies that can be donors and a list of potential candidates.
Now check out the events taking place in the desired industry (trade, real estate, finance, IT, etc.), as well as a list of speakers. As a rule, the best experts are active members in the forums.
Go to the official pages of those events on Facebook and look at the followers. For example, you can add short comments to recent messages, explain what kind of specialist you are looking for, and leave your contacts. Find the official pages of the companies on Facebook. Executives, partners, leading managers are most likely to be found on the company’s website and in social networks as brand representatives.
Follow up with professional associations: find members, heads of committees, active participants, speakers and organizers. Peruse thematic media – who is the author, who leaves comments; it is never redundant to to add the active to the list as well.
This preliminary search is sure to take a lot of effort, time, skill and patience. Your hirer’s office will turn into a real detective agency!
“Hunting” on Linkedin and beyond
Linkedin is an ocean of professional contacts. Should you be lucky enough, you can immediately find a candidate there and get to know him. Yet, bear in mind that this person can either limit the circle of contacts, or have his/her “friend limit” exceeded. If so, try sending them an email. There is absolutely no guarantee that you will get an answer; mind you, you never know for sure what exactly can work out in the end.
If you haven’t found the right candidate on Linkedin, no big deal. Praise yourself and move forward. After all, this network hosts less than three million Ukrainians, whereas there are over ten million of them on Facebook. Ok, one may say that there is no search function for candidates, yet there are other useful features. Take advantage of them!
If you know the name of a candidate, type it in different languages and see if the one is online. Is there? Bingo! You moved within touching distance. Now write to him/her and establish a contact.
By the way, you can get your Facebook advertisement for a job running. This is exactly how we found a specialist for the HRD position in Minsk. Over one week alone, we received ten resumes, eight of which fully met the employer’s requirements.
You can also post a job ad both in Stories and on Linkedin’s mobile version. Make it a “picture”, and you are bound to get the views!
Ask for expert advice. People love it!
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that after browsing multiple sites, forums and media, the right person is yet to be found. Wipe the sweat off your brow: it’s time to switch to plan “B”. When looking for valuable, but not public specialists, welcome another viable technique – recommendations.
More often than not people who work (or have worked) for the same company are friends on Facebook. Therefore, look at the list of friends of the potential candidate, then – “friends of friends”. If the person specifies only the name of the company (without a position) – write to him/her. Do not be afraid! Chances are he/she will be the one who can advise the right specialist.
You can also ask employees of the company to recommend one. While on the subject, you need to ask not only the name of the likely candidate. Inquire: where you can find the right person, whether there are specialized core groups, communities, events, what is the specifics of the industry. Don’t be embarrassed to admit that you are being “out of the loop”. That’s what people can see by themselves, and they obviously love to be asked for advice like experts.
As you may see, there are multiple search options. Once upon a time (before the era of the Internet), in order to contact the right person, you had to call the reception and pretend to be a customer. Nowadays, the very same thing can be done via Facebook.
“Spy Hacks and Tricks”
Finding a potential candidate’s email is definitely a small win! However, do not rush to write a letter, some extra information might come in handy right now. You can use a little “trick” – enter the address in a Google search in quotes (for example, “email@example.com”) and find out the candidate’s social media page (if this email’s been used during registration) and even partially home address (if this individual is an entrepreneur). Of course, you will not lie in wait for the guy near the home, but you will learn the city at least.
An offer one can’t refuse
The stage of actual recruiting a candidate is called headhunting. Headhunting means talent poaching.
A recruitment operation appears to be commensurate with intelligent services special operation. Therefore, in addition to the name and contacts of the candidate, it is necessary to find out whether the super-pro is happy with his employment, what kind of ambitious career goals he sets for himself, and whether he succeeds in implementing those plans at his current place of work.
Remember: the best and brightest will agree to swap a job or a project only for something more interesting, providing growth opportunities. That’s exactly how serious pros view “an offer that cannot be refused”.
The best tactics during the first contacts with a potential candidate would be to provide a brief information about the new job, as well as the prospects. Remember: communication (especially when it comes to headhunting) is a real art. Hence, it is better to hand over such a conversation to a real professional recruiter.
If the conversation has already taken place, and the candidate is interested, recommend a specialist to the customer. At this stage, interviews, perhaps practical tasks or brainstorming, or presentations of the project (company) development program take place. Further – discussion of conditions and drawing up the Job-offer (document of guarantees and obligations).
Competitors are in the game
Don’t be too quick to pop the champagne, though. Experienced recruiters are aware of the fact that eventually unique candidates accept only 70 percent of “job offers”. Your specialist, found through painstaking process of trial and error, can always opt for the counter-offer by competing companies or his employer. It is for that reason that you should always have the name of another candidate and the tools of the “detective and superspy” at hand.