Questions to Ask Executive Recruiters
When Hiring a Recruiting Firm
Common Questions & Concerns
These are the most common questions to ask executive recruiters and concerns that come up when we’re talking to hiring managers about what we do as a search firm.
“Why Hire a Recruiting firm when My HR Team Handles Everything…?”
We hear this a lot. And it’s not your fault that you might ask this. HR is an absolutely necessary function and is critical to a employing a productive and motivated workforce. In especially large and mid-sized organizations, they often end up taking over the entire recruiting process. But this handicaps the ability to drive selection using what only the Hiring Manager can know – the core purpose, mission, and requirements of a position.
HR must work as a partner to the business, not in place of, when it comes to talent acquisition. Why? Because top-performing talent is the #1 driving force behind the success or failure of your business. Not to mention your bottom line, and ultimately, your career as a leader.
People who join your team don’t join to work for HR (Unless of course it’s an HR role!); they join to work for you.
If you’re looking to reduce mis-hires and bolster your hiring success rate to 90%+, take ownership of and drive the hiring process. Whether you do it internally or in partnership with a quality-based recruiting firm partner. At FiSource Search Group, we can help you get back into the driver’s seat.
“How can I afford to limit my search to just one recruiting firm?”
Of all the questions to ask executive recruiters, this is one of the most common.
What if I told you the greater the number of recruiting firms you assign to your search, the more you will limit your talent pool and chance of a successful hire? Put yourself in the shoes of a non-exclusive contingency recruiting firm. You know that your odds of filling a non-exclusive search assignment is just 10% to 20%. Therefore, one recruiter needs to take on 5 to 10 searches to fill 1. Can you imagine any recruiter being able to conduct a full search, if they’re working on 10 or more jobs at once? By full search, I mean conducting all the research and due diligence to create a list of 100+ candidate prospects, preparing unique and differentiated messaging, and performing full outreach. This involves 500 to 1,000 touches, managing candidates through the process, reference checks, and handling the offer and follow up.
Would you take the risk of performing all that work with just 10% to 20% chance of earning any money whatsoever?
More typically, the recruiting firm takes a quick, drive-by spec, spending perhaps 30 minutes with an HR contact or the Hiring Manager. The recruiter copy-pastes your job description onto the job boards under their brand. They reach out to 15 to 20 of the easiest and most obvious targets for the role, most often people already in their database. And by the way, if you have 5 recruiters going through these motions, they are often reaching out to the same 15 to 20, with a few exceptions. So at most, you’re getting exposed to 25…30 of the easiest-to-get (and least likely to be Superstar) performers, maybe a bit more. Their main goal is to present 3 candidates and move on to the next search.
Their main goal is to make a fill and earn a fee, NOT to ensure you make a successful hire.
“I don’t have the time to participate in such an intensive process. I need someone yesterday.”
Then let me ask you a question; Do you have 6 to 18 months to waste on a bad hire, who won’t accomplish the objectives outlined for the role, only to start the search over again from scratch?
We understand, you’re hurting because you don’t have the right people to perform all the work that needs to get done. You think that investing the time necessary to get those people will only put you further behind the eight ball. It is often why managers turn recruiting over lock, stock, and barrel to their HR teams. Or seek out a Band-Aid, quick-hire candidate. But those hires turn out to be bad hires half the time, so you’re taking a big chance with your company, team, and career.
This is where we come in, to shepherd you through a process that gets results, to ensure that the key steps get completed in a timely manner, and nearly double your chance of making the right hire.
Is the short-cut really worth eventually taking the long road of correcting a bad hiring decision?
“We do just fine hiring folks through our personal networks.”
This may be the case…but is “doing just fine” the same as “performing at the top of your game?” How do you know you haven’t missed out on a top 10% performer who could skyrocket your company, team, and career to the top of your market, simply because, that person isn’t that close to anyone on your leadership team?
The market is fluid and always changing. People enter, leave, and shift around all the time. While you’re busy running your company/division/department, the talent market for positions you will need to hire in the future may have changed dramatically.
Not to mention, the stakes are much higher for a hiring decision when it comes to the leadership roles in your organization. These folks have a large impact on shaping your company culture, direction, strategy, market positioning, workforce productivity and morale, and so many other aspects. You owe it to yourself and everyone involved to evaluate the entire market of available talent and choose the person most likely to succeed and add the most value in the role.
“Superstars Aren’t Interested in Our Company/Industry/Location/Fill in the Blank.”
Sure they are! Or they could be. They just don’t know it yet.
Superstars are drawn to and away from companies and opportunities based on 3 common factors; 1) Challenge, 2) Two-Way-Street Communication and 3) Compensation & Work/Life Integration.
If you’re having trouble hiring top 10%ers to your organization, the questions to ask executive recruiters should center around your strategy first, since you may be:
- Trying to fill a role that offers little in the way of fresh and interesting (or next-step) challenge to the type of candidate you’re trying to attract.
- Positioning the role using standard job postings with boring job descriptions that don’t convey WIFM (what’s in it for me) to candidates.
- Failing to implement a standard, robust hiring process that will generate a large enough talent pool, evaluate them based on standard criterion, and fully vet them for Superstar quality.
- Unable to communicate a strong story or WHY because, possibly, no one has yet dug deep enough for your compelling Employer Value Proposition, or no one has done the hard work to develop one. (ping pong and a stocked snack room WON’T have the Superstars banging down your door.)
- Paying below or even at-market compensation and expecting a Superstar to live with it because of your wonderful reputation, your big brand name, or because that’s just the way things have always been done.
We find that if you’re having a problem attracting candidates, the problem is usually with the opportunity itself. It doesn’t mean all is lost. It simply means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the heavy lifting necessary to draw the interest of Superstar talent. Or, let us take the reins, working with you as a partner and deploying our Source Strategy for Hiring Superstar Leadership Talent, so you can focus the larger portion of your energies on running your business.