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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Synergistic client relationships

Does your executive recruiter have synergy with you and your organization? Do you know how crucial they are?

Recently I had a bad experience on a search and I lost my candidate interview to another firm whose resume was received first (the resume got lost in email). So after I sold my candidate and secured the interview I had to give it up to a recruiter who had NEVER met or even interviewed this candidate. I felt terrible for the client who was placed in an awkward position. “Butts in seats” recruiters are out there; they have no knowledge of a candidate’s goal alignment or competency so BUYER BEWARE: if you are getting resume pushers, maybe you should be paying 5%, not 25% - 30% fees. The larger fees should be reserved for those who take the time to investigate the historical data of a candidate, and assess the candidate’s motivations, accomplishments and competencies. Through the use of behavioral interviewing techniques, an experienced and well-trained recruiter will get a lot deeper than what is on paper. The biggest question is "who are you working with and what is their process?" In this case, the client recognized the issue, but was tied to a service agreement. I gave up the fight because the candidate needed a good job, which this one is.

What are your criteria for selecting a vendor? How do you know when you have synergy?

Synergy: a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility

With over 22 years in this business I can name many clients with whom I have synergy. Being on the same page ethically and professionally makes it easier. Understanding your clients’ business objectives and thinking in their shoes really complements the process. Of course compatibility extends to identifying with the organizational culture and having a passion for representing companies to high caliber talent. When an executive recruiter becomes a trusted advisor, she can really help to make significant positive impacts.

K. Russo Associates differentiates itself by assisting in talent acquisition and ultimately talent management by offering a macro search perspective — we are not placing a candidate for today, we are also placing them to internally fill the client’s talent pipeline with the best and to meet succession plan goals. That’s when we know we are doing it right. Our metrics speak to that.

The cost of replacing talent is about two times salary and the average person stays in a position for 19 months—yikes!!! What is your external recruiting partners’ strategy? Does it incorporate a process to ensure their referrals can meet your long–term objectives?

Here are some questions clients should be asking their executive recruiters:

  • How do you define and support succession planning?

  • How did you find your last candidate slate?

  • What did you do to source the best and the brightest for the job requirements?

  • Did you use a job board or pull a resume out of your database?

  • Did you interview the candidate for synergy between the client organization and the candidate’s long term goals?

Talent pipelining is the biggest challenge on the minds of today’s CEOs. Does your company have the right partners? Lets talk about what makes a great business partner and why. What is your executive recruitment vendor relationship like? What is important to you when you are looking to hire a staffing partner?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Networking yourself out of a job

Here’s a jaw dropping story for you in the recruiting world: My human resources client tells me my candidate, for whom I had secured an interview, called a senior executive within their company to ask for a recommendation. The problem was the senior exec had only met this person briefly at a conference and did not feel he knew the candidate well enough to recommend him.

Social media, LinkedIn, Facebook – they’ve created a false sense of connection: we are all friends and now we can even recommend one another because of it! And we’ve never spoken by phone or even met face-to-face.

What happened to boundaries? How can someone be expected to put in a good word from just shaking hands or discussing yoga with you at a dinner party? You can assume that the aforementioned interview will now be a waste of time. What the candidate did was prove he is socially inept!

How many times have you name dropped people you barely know and who probably won’t remember you? Have you sent an email asking for a recommendation without having a strong connection?

If you want a recommendation that carries weight, then establish a solid foundation. Also don’t, don’t, don’t name drop, and don’t forward your résumé all over the company -- what if your contact is not well received within the department interviewing you?

Networking is a crucial part of building career contacts, but there are limits:

  • Stay away from using names of people you don’t really know or have only met once.

  • Don’t assume people will remember you. When they don’t or have to think – you are done. It means your connection wasn’t memorable to them so don’t go there unless you spent some quality time together. (An email exchange does not qualify as quality time!).

  • Don’t email or call people and ask for endorsements if you’ve only had a brief encounter - let them get to know you first.

  • When too many people are hearing from you in the company or you get too many people involved, you will get a meeting …but just to get rid of you.

Heard enough about the swine flu pandemic? There’s a networking etiquette epidemic. I’ve polled my executive recruiting peers and they are seeing the same lack of networking IQ. An article from Carol Wenom of Whitaker Technical resonates with me on the frustration human resource managers and executive recruiters are confronting.

K. Russo Associates, Inc has made networking and social media an important part of our recruitment strategy. From our experience we can tell you that building a rapport over time is the most effective. People need to know who you are and how you operate. They also want something mutually beneficial in networking with you. LinkedIn is good networking, but if you are currently working you must be discreet. Ted Konnerth of Egret Consulting sums up the dangerous side effects of social networks if you are not careful.

“Candidate information on the Internet is potentially everywhere, and … not all of the information is 100% accurate. “Friends” or enemies can post information about anyone on blogs or network sites such as MySpace or Facebook. The requirements of accuracy are at best minimal and in practice, if there isn’t an outcry from the victim, the oversight may be non-existent. .... With the advent of more social sites such as Twitter, the ability to ‘tweet’ information into the public domain is fraught with unintended implications. There are companies who actively ‘follow’ or ‘lurk’ on the social networks to identify brewing customer service issues or to identify unhappy employees. Imagine the consequences of tweeting a friend about a bad day at work and discovering that information is heading into your personnel file.”

So when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and other electronic social media tools - watch what you write on your walls and the photos you post. Once you go live on the Internet there is no turning back! And lastly, nothing ever beats in-person contact. Get out from behind your laptop and arrange a breakfast, lunch or coffee and show the real, not the cyber, you.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and examples of networking yourself out of a job. You could save a candidate from making a major mistake.

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