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.