Hello…yes, I’m returning your call.

 By: Rosemary Gantz

HR Leaders and Hiring Managers continue to seek the big “discriminators” between executive retained search firms when making decisions about which search firm to choose. Just in researching to write this blog, I came across hundreds of other blogs with advice on this same topic. I even wrote one of them. Blah-og, blah-og, blah-og. A short review of search firm websites shows that most mention the use of “customized databases” and “deep personal networks” and “customized process.” While we know that good tools and good process are necessary tools in our business, we think there are just a couple of real discriminators. I like John Sullivan’s related blog: 10 Predictions for 2012

We recently completed a more challenging search in the beauty and fashion industry. The client was well-known but highly restricted in total compensation, with no relocation budget and a few very specialized criteria. We built and executed a detailed strategic search plan, and filled the position. We were all struck by the constant feedback, as we identified and tracked each potential candidate, that they called us back because we were “persistent.” The conversation was usually something like this, “Hi Tom, you know I get a lot of people trying to recruit me, and I generally don’t respond or call back. I’m calling you because you were so persistent.”  This seems to be the chorus on every search.

So, to us, Big Discriminator #1? Get on the phones. All the time. Be polite but persistent with a short meaningful message targeted to your audience. Keep the timing of your calls close together so the receiver knows you’re serious and feels a sense of urgency. Create a plan with a proper close out.

Lack of Forecasting and Talent Shortages are the Same Problem

 By: Rosemary Gantz

Years ago, aka 1996, I began working on talent forecasting in business units and capacity planning for delivery in the recruiting function. While a seeming logical and practical quest, I learned quickly that no one really did this at the time. We borrowed from financial planning models and IT systems planning tools to create a tool for this purpose, and everyone applauded while later failing to remain seriously invested in the effort.  As I talk to recruiters and meet with clients today, it seems that this is still the case more than 15 years later. At the same time, we are all wrapped in the “talent shortage” dialogs at conferences and throughout the blogosphere. I find these two things directly related.

 While there are some trends and sudden events that may not be predictable, I’ve found that most mid-term hiring needs are highly predictable. In fact, I would argue that with good talent management practices, they can even be well-managed to meet a plan. This means that we should be able to calculate and craft a talent needs assessment and hiring plan for a significant portion of hiring in this country for the short-, mid- and some longer-term.

 I believe the most painful shortages we feel are self-induced, i.e., preventable. I’m not saying that we don’t need more engineers or scientists or skilled electricians…but I am saying that companies have the ability to forecast their specific situations and create a path, a plan, to prevent these shortages through re-training, job shadowing, job-stretch programs and good ol’ talent pipelining efforts.

 Strategic and systems-thinking leaders of talent management need center stage and the support of company executive leaders and budgets to put longer term programs in place to head off this problem at the pass. Stock-price-influencing critical vacancies and mass hiring crises should be rare events. Better planning will lead to better hiring decisions and less wasted time. The ultimate result is cost savings, better results and higher bottom-lines for business.

Look Under the Hood When Picking an Executive Search Partner

By: Rosemary Gantz

I’ve recently started thinking about car shopping again…it’s been almost 10 years since I bought my last one. There is so much information available today online to help make this decision that the process is way more fun than it used to be…plus now I shop for quality and performance as opposed to paint colors, cup holders and bright shiny objects. Now, I look under the hood and ask the kind of questions that will make a difference for the long term.

Lately, I’ve been surprised by the lack of due diligence that is done by people about other important decisions, often despite their better judgment. I’ve seen this in my world of executive search. Some leaders and hiring managers choose based on past relationships, convenience or cost alone (the bright shiny object!) And there’s nothing wrong with this approach if it works. But when it doesn’t, talk to other possible search partners and look under the hood!

Here is a list of questions to help you “look under the hood” when evaluating search firms to choose a great partner:

1.  Why are our company and/or this search interesting to you? (Elements: alignment, investment, partnership)

2. How do you decide who to contact first? (Elements: strategy creation and execution)

3. What do you do first when starting the search process? (Elements: background investigation, research, process)

4. How do you manage candidates in the process? (Elements: relationship, process management, ability to attract)

5. Who will be talking to the candidates? (Elements: team involvement, candidate management, brand protection)

6. How do you help candidates get to know us? (Elements: ability to attract, recruiting skills, position/company knowledge, ability to see value proposition, communications)

7. How do you help us get to know your candidates? (Elements: investigative research, assessment, communications)

8. How do you assess a candidate’s alignment with the compensation package? (Elements: investigative research, recruiting skills)

9. How do you assess a candidate’s suitability for the role? (Elements: recruiting skills, assessment, search process)

10. With whom may we speak to learn more about your work? (Elements: ability to execute, process management, recruiting skills, experience)

Look for more detail on each of these in future blogs, or contact me any time if you’ve got an urgent question to help you through this process.

Recruiting Begins When Someone Says “No”

By: Rosemary Gantz

Great recruiters RECRUIT. They’ve researched potential candidates before they call, they learn about current situational dynamics at the companies where people are employed and they thoroughly understand the role about which they’re calling. A great recruiter can quickly find the value proposition for a potential candidate – IF it makes sense…AND will clearly call out when it doesn’t. A great recruiter exudes authenticity in their conversations with potential candidates…and has the ability to attract talent. The “right” person will often say NO the first time approached about a new role…but a great recruiter can create a vision of the future that will cause the “right” person to say “Hmmm…” And THAT is what makes the difference.

When hiring an executive search firm, we recommend leaders ask about the recruiting skills on the team and for examples of when they turned a “NO” into a “YES” to recruit the perfect hire for a client.

Let’s Celebrate Employers Who Support Volunteerism

By:  Rosemary Gantz

During the holiday, while many people are celebrating. I was having a hard time getting focused and “in the spirit” this year. Then our whole team took a tour of the American Red Cross facilities in our hometown headquarters of Columbus, Ohio. We went to deliver our donation to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

We learned a lot about The American Red Cross when they became of a client of ours. And then we saw the incredible work of these volunteers in response to Hurricane Sandy. Our hearts grew three sizes they say! Volunteers are the engine of this organization, with tens of thousands hours donated from volunteers from every state.

“Volunteers come from all walks of life,” says Mark Innocenzi, Regional Director of Volunteers, Central-Southeast Ohio Region. “It’s always amazing to see.” In the State of Ohio, the State government allows them to go and this is true for many states. Volunteers will take a temporary leave of absence or take personal time off, and many companies encourage their employees to go and participate in programs like Ready When The Time Comes.  This is a company focused program that helps to make sure your building is prepared should a disaster strike you, and in return Red Cross asks that your employees are allowed to help when another local disaster hits. “Safelite is a great local example of a company who really supports us,” said Mark. To us at McIntyre, this sounds like a great thing for every company to do.

So we just want to pass along our humble thanks to those businesses, big and small, who allow their associates the opportunity to respond to these disasters. Thank you for supporting your volunteers. And our big-hearted THANKS go to the American Red Cross for all they do.