Aug 2, 2013

How to Ensure You Hire the Best Possible Candidate

By Shaun Carpenter

I’ve highlighted some of the important steps a Hiring Official should take when working with a headhunter, to maximize the chance that the organization ends up with a superb hire.

  1. Make sure all stakeholder voices are heard – It is extremely important at the onset of a search for the Hiring Official to be inclusive and encourage involvement from all the interested stakeholders.  All those who will be directly impacted by the role can be invited to sit down one-on-one with the headhunter to share thoughts/opinions in confidence.  This step at the beginning of a search can be quite challenging to organize from a scheduling standpoint and can also be enormously time consuming for your headhunter, but well worth it. A good executive search consultant will invest the time required; not only will this process get everyone invested in the search but it allows the recruiter to hear “the real deal”.  Critical information inevitably comes out of these conversations that can be shared with prospective candidates so there are no surprises when he/she joins the organization.  The recruiter needs to know the good, the bad and the ugly.
  2. Keep the process open and transparent – There are some exceptions when confidentiality overrides this but whenever possible, a Hiring Official should communicate internally to their organization as well as externally to the marketplace that an executive search firm has been retained and a search has commenced.  This way everything is out in the open and all politics, biases or any other influences can be removed and a thorough, effective and objective process can prevail.  The Hiring Official can encourage internal candidates to apply and this way they will be evaluated fairly as every other candidate in the selection process.
  3. Give the headhunter all the tools – These items may seem obvious but they are important and having them ready right at the beginning of the search can help get the headhunter get off to a quick start:
    • An updated electronic job description.
    • A written or on-line benefits summary.
    • The base salary targeted, the approved range and realistic “wriggle room”.
    • A comprehensive relocation package.
  4. Plan ahead and communicate often – Take a look at the time-plan right away and secure dates in the calendar for everyone who will be involved at shortlist presentation as well as at the interviews. If you have a large Selection Committee everyone is bound to have very busy schedules so locking in dates early will save frustration and delay later on. A long-list discussion before the executive search firm actually interviews candidates is also useful to review people who are perhaps know by various employees and again update the Hiring Official as to those who look most promising.
  5. Utilize the headhunter to help get to “Yes” – Once a Hiring Official or Selection Committee has chosen the top candidate, the negotiation begins and the headhunter can be very useful at this stage, acting a facilitator and preventing any breakdown in discussion.  A Hiring Official may be looking for strong negotiation skills when describing an ideal candidate for the job but then see these skills in a completely different light when on the other side of the table negotiating an employment offer. Acting as a middleperson, we can ensure that everyone feels good about an accepted offer and there are no hard feelings when the person shows up on day one.

A good headhunter should be like an extension of your own organization and these 5 tips will assist you in finding the best possible talent during an executive search process.