When you are recruiting senior-level employees, the stakes are higher. There are typically fewer qualified candidates and the impact of the hire for the company you’re working for will be bigger. As a recruiter, it’s your agency and your personal reputation on the line.
If you want to increase your odds of success, you’ll need to follow a few specific steps to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Develop A Robust Candidate Profile
Nearly every job search, at every level, will start with developing a profile for the ideal candidate. You line out the traits, skills, experience, certifications, education, and other parameters your clients expect. However, hiring top talent means taking extra care to get the details right.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you probably aren’t worried about yourself in the process. The important thing is to get the key stakeholders to agree to what’s really important. That means identifying which things are mandatory for candidates and what’s on the “wish list.” It’s too easy to pass up qualified candidates because they didn’t check every box only to find out later that only having 5 years of senior management experience wasn’t really a deal-breaker.
It’s up to you to probe and push. Often, companies filling out candidate profiles don’t really know what’s realistic or what the marketplace is like for hiring employees (especially when hiring top talent). A big part of your job as a recruiter is to manage expectations on the front end so you can deliver prospective candidates that your clients will want. This can mean pushing back when clients want the world, but then suggest a compensation package that you know won’t get the job done.
You also want to probe on cultural fit and working styles. Some great candidates might not make the cut because they work differently than the way your client wants. Find that out sooner, rather than later.
Broaden The Candidate Pool
You know this already: the best candidates are likely not actively looking for a new opportunity. They’re too busy doing their job. If employers could just sit back and wait for people to apply on their website, they wouldn’t need to hire you!
You’ve got to do more than just cast a wide net and hope you catch the right person. Tracking down these passive candidates takes more work but failing to do so dramatically limits the pool. On average, 70 percent of the global workforce is made up of passive candidates. With low unemployment rates, that number may be even higher.
That doesn’t mean passive candidates are not open to looking at new opportunities. While most senior level candidates say they are satisfied in their current job, 82 percent report being open to opportunities elsewhere.
Sourcing a mix of passive and active job seekers is likely to produce the best results.
Mining Your Database
One of the first places to look is your own database. If you work in specific niches, you likely have talked to a lot of active and passive candidates over the years. The more detailed your database is, the easier you can sift through it. Identify the pool of candidates you already know have the requisite skills.
Don’t eliminate contacting someone just because they aren’t the perfect fit or said in the past they aren’t interested in moving on. People’s situations change. Even if they aren’t looking, they may know someone else that is.
Always Ask For Referrals
High-performing senior level people typically know other top talent. They can open the door to communication and help surface additional prospects. In fact, the number one way people discover a new job opportunity is through a referral.
When You Find Great Candidates, Act Immediately
When you do find that someone appearing to be a perfect fit, don’t wait. The best talent doesn’t stay on the market long. When you find them, and they are interested in the job for which you are recruiting, put the search on hold for just a moment and connect them with the hiring manager.
These unicorns are hard to find. Don’t just throw them on the list or wait until you have enough candidates to present.
Coach Your Clients
When you present candidates for senior level positions, make sure you help your client streamline their recruiting process. Make sure they understand that good candidates move quickly or move on mentally if they don’t get attention. The lower unemployment rates are, the more opportunities they are for strong candidates.
Make sure they understand it’s a buyer’s market these days. They shouldn’t wait to get “sold” by candidates. They’ll need to be the ones selling them. Coach clients on candidate’s career goals and what’s important so they can highlight the right things with key candidates.
Suggest they limit the number of interviews, tests, and meetings. When hiring employees, an extended process is a turn-off and can cause good candidates to drop out (if they don’t take other jobs first).
Keep Your Skills Fresh With Recruitment Training
Consider recruitment training to make sure you are using best practices and staying on top of the latest trends. Recruitment training for consultants can reinforce lessons they’ve already learned and showcase new ways to approach business recruiting.
Recruiting senior-level executives can be lucrative for agencies. You want to make sure your consultants and recruiters are armed with the best tools they can get.
- Understanding your client’s needs (and business)
- Defining recruitment account growth plans
- Account management and revenue optimization
- Thought leadership and SME (Subject Matter Expert)
- Matching needs and getting referrals
- Leveraging your assets
When everything is clicking, recruiting can be a highly rewarding and profitable enterprise. Recruitment training for consultants can help motivate team members and show them new ways to succeed.