Hopefully you have read my earlier article – The top 5 questions you should ask an executive Headhunter. If not then I will summarise the main subject areas that should be considered.
- What methods of headhunting does the firm offer? Retained or contingency?
- Fee structure
- Headhunting methodologies.
So you have established the basics but now you want to see what the headhunting firm is really capable of. Do they have a track record of success? What’s their communication process like, what headhunting services do they provide, and have they worked in similar roles? You need to feel assured that they are listening to your needs and requirements so make sure you are confident of the following answers.
- DO THEY UNDERSTAND MY BUSINESS AND ARE THEY ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS? Always consider that the Headhunter you select is representing your business. They will be talking to your competitors’ employees to educate and persuade them about the benefits of your company including the USP’s of your service or products. 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?
- HAVE THEY HEADHUNTED AT THIS LEVEL BEFORE? 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.
- CAN THEY OFFER TESTIMONIALS? A happy client will be more than happy to provide a reference and it is vital for your peace of mind to know that other companies have successfully used your Headhunting service. You are also within your rights to ask to speak to one of their clients to get a more personal reference but consider many will want to remain confidential or to keep some specific details of their project secret. If a verbal reference can be provided this will give you a more personal insight into the service and off the record comments will help to create a full picture.
- 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, timescales and also to identify problems or issues before they escalate.
- LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS. When evaluating a headhunting company, it’s 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 relationship with a Headhunter who understands your business and people and has proved successful can help your organisation flourish in the long term.
A wrong hire for any business can quickly become a costly and damaging mistake. This is why it is so important to make sure your Headhunting partner wants to take time to understand your business and its specific hiring needs. A good Headhunter will be a huge asset to your business because they can, during a search, provide you with so much useful market information and more crucially intuitively help identify and attract great people that can add value quickly to your business.
Author: Ed Robertson is a seasoned Marketing Manager writing about a range of topics covering executive search, employment and education. MSC Headhunters is a retained executive search firm serving corporations around the world.