I recently heard a client's in-house recruiter make a comment that gave me pause for thought. Luckily, I'm a mature, seasoned recruiter, because in my earlier years, I may have paused only long enough to grab a weapon. Not to say I didn't consider a smart-ass retort, but sometimes a little clarification goes a lot further. And it's not as if I hadn't heard similar comments before.
The premise for the comment came from an assignment in which I had presented no more than three candidates, all qualified and in very short order. While I was working with the CFO on an exclusive basis, the company's recruiter was working very hard to find his own pool of candidates to present. All very well - can't blame him for trying! As we quickly wound down the process with one of my candidates, the in-house recruiter suggested I didn't work very hard for my fee.
Well, as you can imagine, it's all too easy to take umbrage at such a suggestion. But since I have heard similar comments in the past, I think it's something I'd like to address here. The view after all from without sees only the top layer of a very time consuming process.
Clients pay big fees for results. If the executive recruiter, quickly, professionally and efficiently brings the hire to the table, does it really matter the effort behind the result? And what may appear seamless to the client, is usually anything but.
There's two components here. When a recruiter has invested years of time in a certain niche or market, creating a reputation & building relationships, she has a lot of goodwill in the marketplace. In my case, all my searches are exclusive and/or retained; with top shelf companies who have great reputations, compensate well and offer career mobility. So, when I place a call, candidates listen. And since those calls are strategically placed to candidates whose preferences, qualifications and career goals I know, more often than not, they have interest. But most importantly, they have trust. So the first component that the client benefits from is the many years I have invested in my practice, building a candidate pool, knowing my market, market trends and who's affected by them . So let's not mistake efficiency for luck or worse, not working hard enough.
The second component is the extensive interplay going on behind the scenes with the candidates that the client isn't often aware of. It's never as simple as making a call, presenting a resume and crossing your fingers that everyone will just 'get along'. People have complex lives - I find this particularly so with recruited candidates. I am all too aware that I've just introduced an unexpected element into their lives. Where recently they may have just been contemplating a job change, now they're possibly in the middle of one. Like any major life change, it's a process. My job is to assist, manage and shepherd the candidate through this process. This is the most time intensive and critical component of what I do. Influencing someone to first consider a job and then interview is a skill, but managing the intricacies of all the moving parts is an art. The successful merging of client and candidate is ultimately, the final masterpiece!
Looks can be deceiving.