Most companies use Headhunters to source specific high level key individuals who understand their market, the business and its products or services. These people often work for competitors or related organisations and are not actively looking for a career move. It is the Headhunters skill and expertise that enable them to identify, approach, inform and sell an opportunity well enough to interest potential candidates to consider a change.
Headhunters also get involved in projects sourcing rare and difficult to locate individuals for companies who have perhaps tried all other methods of recruitment. Direct searches of this nature are more effective, faster and efficient than any other method of hiring and the time saved helps to reduce cost and effort for the client. Multiple roles across several regions can be a real headache for a client trying to create some synergy in their hiring under time restraints. Good headhunters can swiftly and cost effectively handle many roles throughout a region or across several countries.
Whatever the reason a company has for using headhunters the elements that unite all search projects are the specialist skills needed to locate and attract good people.
1. What method of Executive recruitment do they offer?
A good retained headhunter will work with the client to understand their requirement, their business and industry sector. They will want to know about the dynamics of your organisation, the history and culture as well as management personalities.
The next stage in the process is to understand specifically where you want candidates to be sourced from. Also perhaps you have strategic alliances and certain people or companies cannot be approached. Following the research phase potential candidates will be approached and informed of the position. If the opportunity is confidential then NDA’s can be signed and information flow limited.
A good headhunting team will contact between 20 and 60 candidates on average per role and then face to face interview at least 10 strong individuals of which around 4 or 5 should be short listed. Headhunters should then manage the client’s interviews as well as coaching both parties and handle the over and negotiation of an employment contract and also assist candidates with resignation.
Often a database of candidates is used to source candidates who may be unemployed, redundant, unhappy in their position, not achieving results etc. This is why they are quickly available to start new jobs and immediately motivated to move. Contingency recruiting does not require any skill or experience and is a more agency method of hiring. Contingency candidates are generally not interviewed on a face to face basis.
2. What are the fees?
Generally contingency recruitment fees for executive level projects can be around 20% to 25% of the basic salary give or take a few percent. _is is quite expensive considering the skill and time and effort involved. However many factors will affect the price including the number of roles and seniority. A contingency fee is due only after the client has made a hire.
Retained recruitment projects are more complex in nature and so is the pricing structure. 25% to 33% of the basic salary plus benefits and travel is normal but make sure you are receiving the highest level of service for this fee. Considering the detail, team/ research involvement and experience needed to successfully complete a retained assignment the fee levels are very reasonable. Just make sure that every project is bespoke and the company are not using a data base of old candidates. Retained fees are generally paid in 3 equal stages due to the sophistication of the assignments and detailed work levels required.
3. Can they guarantee their work?
Some recruiters will work on retained projects and not guarantee success. As clients are expected to pay fees in advance it is perfectly acceptable to demand pre-agreed deadlines and targets.
4. What are they promising?
Any promises made by a Headhunter should always be backed up by experience and past performance. Furthermore guarantees should be included as part of the terms and conditions making them legally binding.
5. How are headhunters actually finding candidates?
Do they use researchers or a database or can they provide evidence that each project is bespoke. Weekly reports and updates are very useful to prove to clients what stage the project is at, who has been contacted and what further work needs to be done. MSC has never advertised in newspaper appointment pages, this will only add unnecessary costs and time.
6. Do they understand my business and are they asking the right questions?
Always consider that the headhunter you select is representing your business. Have they asked enough questions to gain valuable insight into your company which they can pass on? Do they understand that certain information is sensitive and confidential?
7. Have they headhunted at this level before?
Knowledge of how to target and contact senior level people in your sector is vital. CEO’s and VP’s require a very different style of approach to sales or technical people and this experience must be proven.
8. Can they offer testimonials?
A happy client will be glad to give a reference and it is vital for your peace of mind to know that other companies have successfully used your headhunters service.
9. Assignment updates?
It is vital that you are kept informed at every stage of a search assignment. Good Headhunters should send you weekly reports keeping you up to speed with their progress. Additionally this helps you to ensure they are working to agreed target lists, time scales and also to identify problems or issues before they escalate.
10. Long term relationships.
When evaluating a headhunting company its important to identify if they just want a one off fee or if they are keen to develop long term relations to work with you in the future. Building a good working relation with a headhunter who understands your business and people and has proved successful can help your organization flourish.
About MSC Headhunting
MSC are European Headhunters specialising in the Technology arena. the company offers a unique three level guarantee system to all retained clients, providing complete security and peace of mind. With 100% success rate and in depth market knowledge MSC are well placed to assist with senior level commercial hiring.
For further information please contact MSC Headhunting.
Tel. +44 (0)1565 757 877
Written by Ed Robertson