As employers we know that hiring is a risky business. Unfortunately most candidates don’t come with guarantees.

Successful recruiting is part science and part art.  It is the successful marriage of realistic expectations and best matched skills and experiences for both the hiring organization and the candidate.  Employees generally don’t come with guarantees and it can be one of the most costly “experiments” a business organization undertakes.

Understanding the nature of the entrepreneurial organization and what it takes for a potential hire to successfully assimilate into this environment is what gives an experienced recruiter a serious edge over other recruiting firms when it comes to finding the right talent to match your needs.  When looking at the recruiting company identify if the recruiting function is an integral component of the consulting that the company offers its clientele.  Job – shops are just that, they collect résumés and people and turn them over to make money.  Successful recruitment companies provide more than employee hiring.

When you are evaluating a firm ask and make sure you are comfortable that they thoroughly research, reference check, interview, and profile any candidate that is presented to you – before you sign an agreement.  As a client, you benefit from meeting only qualified, realistic and available candidates who have a clear understanding of your mission and goals, and who have more than a passing interest or a mild curiosity in what you have to offer them.

executive recruitmentEvaluate the firm’s longevity and expertise in the marketplace – years in service, executive level experience in corporate business management, finance, and human resources.  Does staff have experience beyond the local level and have industry knowledge that includes the major business sectors in your regional economy – construction, retail, hospitality, engineering, energy, recycling, technology, and health care?  Does the firm work in both the for-profit and non-profit environments and understand the significant differences in both cultures.  Does the firm’s approach involve finding consensus for common goals, providing a full range of feasible options, and being painfully honest about possible outcomes?

All firms charge a commission on successful placement.  The range is from 18% – 35% of the total compensation package and any expenses involving advertising and travel time that are negotiated prior to a project commitment.

Oftentimes firms will only work on a retainage basis, charging a non-refundable retainer along with a signed letter of agreement outlining the search assignment will be required prior to project commitment.  The full amount of the retainer is deducted from the final non-refundable fee, which is due in full at the date of hire.  Other firms work on a contingency basis with the commission paid on hiring of the employee.  Some firms offer employee replacement guarantees at no additional cost – others do not.  The replacement guarantee averages 90 days and can increase proportionate to the placement fee up to 1 year.

Profiles & Benchmarks

Entrepreneurial businesses can now improve performance by objective diagnostic tools that are used by major companies, saving time and money by reducing or eliminating failed hires and costly turnover.

Employees come with their own temperaments and personalities – they have natural predispositions — for what they need, how they interact, the language they use and how they communicate.  But, people can adopt different languages to suit the situation.  When we hire them, we may not know which “language” they’re speaking.  So, we don’t always know how they are going to turn out.

  • Will they fit in?
  • Will they become productive team players?
  • Or will they wreak havoc with their fellow employees?

Just like individual employees, each company has its own language and personality – its culture.  The smart employees quickly figure out the informal rules – the way things get done, and what the company values.  They adapt accordingly.  The rest can get stressed out.  And, when they get stressed out, they behave in predictable ways based upon their talents, values, and behaviors.

There may even be differences between the overall company cultures and what happens at the department or team level.  When there is misalignment between the company, departments and individuals, communication is snarled, turnover can increase and the work can fall through the cracks.

When you are researching staffing firms for professional placements ask what type of assessments are used, how they are utilized, and whether or not you would be able to have an assessment done for your position.  Normally a competent staffing firm can build an assessment for specific positions – it will take a little time and there is usually a separate fee involved but it helps you and the staffing firm with increased confidence in the interview and screening process.

These assessments identify how people make decisions, what their value profile is, and how they prefer to behave – all important elements in every hiring process – and they help you hire more effectively.   A more thorough understanding of the dynamics of thinking patterns, motivators, and personality type at the company and employee level enhances the opportunities for replicating successful hires. These benchmarking assessments can then be used as a basis for more effective recruitment and retention, as well as for more effective team building.

Human Resources Simply Stated

Simply stated, the human resource field is a demanding, complicated and highly diversified field.  Today’s human resource manager, whether in-house or outsourced, must be accountable for maintaining standards and practices which can withstand the scrutiny of multiple federal and state agency regulations.  New laws governing employment have invaded every aspect of business management.  HR managers must now focus precious time and resources on myriad issues that did not exist a few years ago!  In addition, the HR manager must work side-by-side with senior management to evaluate the financial impact of the human equation.  HR today is an integral part of the senior management planning team, and must anticipate the demands of senior management decision making, while continuing to respond effectively to the daily needs of supervisors, managers and employees.

Unless the CEO or business owner recognizes these multiple roles and is prepared to provide the necessary support to the HR function, it is likely that the business will encounter a number of “hiring minefields” that can inadvertently result in poor hiring decisions or violations of an individual’s rights under State and Federal law.

As you navigate the search for an executive recruitment firm consider these factors. The choice is always yours.