Any headhunting project usually gets divided into several stages. It starts with a need that arises from different possible angles and tends to end when a person is hired and starts a new job. We remain on the path of the person and the company for the first few months while we follow up to make sure everything goes smoothly, and in doing so, we seek to ensure the person’s success in their tasks and journey.
In the past few years, I focused more on the construction and expansion of InHunt World’s international network (https://inhuntworld.com/our-network/), as well as improving the efficiency and the development of InHunt’s digital channels throughout the Group.
From time to time, however, I still have to roll up my sleeves and put on my headhunter’s hat. Usually these projects are very interesting and demanding, where success depends on a great number of aspects.
And in my opinion, the following is a list of the three most important key elements, which in most cases determine the success of a direct search project:
1. Review carefully the profile of the person being searched
At InHunt, we have developed a method that goes by the name of “2 x 360”. It means going through the client’s company in detail and the Searched Person’s profile, extremely carefully. In fact, I usually refuse to even start the process before I am able to sit down calmly with the client and go through this crucial phase.
At this point, it is also very important that the headhunter responsible for the search understands the client’s business as well as the role of the wanted person clearly enough.
Once the profile has been created, reviewed and approved in writing with the client, we start looking for potential people from different channels and form a list of possible candidates who fit the profile.
Unfortunately, many headhunting companies often outsource this phase to external researchers, which I have never been able to understand. Researchers can of course be used as support, but for the best outcome, it is essential that the headhunter responsible for the search also participates in this work him/herself. After all, he/she is the person who knows the customer as well as the details of what they are looking for. Therefore, he/she also has the best eye on who is worth including in the project and who is not.
3. Contact and initial video call conversations
Once the profile is well defined, and the research work has been completed properly, it’s time to move onto the next critical step, which is contacting the potential candidates. A step that is once again, very often outsourced which is often not the best solution.
Personally, I like to say that we have the opportunity to arouse the interest of a potential person, only once and therefore the opportunity should be used in the best possible way. For this reason, I always prefer to be the person who is in touch with a potential candidate and open the conversation. Unfortunately, nowadays this first contact, and opportunity is often wasted as it happens mostly through a cold and generic message through LinkedIn.
I usually start in a similar way but at the very least, I tend to send a short message to a potential candidate and tell her/him about the company and job role in a couple of sentences. I then put a clear link where they can read in further detail about the job description. At the same time, I will tell explain clearly that if the position seems interesting, then I could tell them more on the phone and I promise not to take more than 20 minutes.
20 minutes is quite enough time to share more information with them, to create interest and to find out with a few questions whether a person is a potential valid candidate for the job. The next step, if “there is a match” would be to chat some more, perhaps face to face in front of a cup of coffee.
There are, of course, dozens of different points in a direct search project, where anything can go wrong, but if I had to pick up three simplified points from there, then these are the ones I mentioned above that will determine the success of the project.
At the same time, ironically, those exact three points are way too often precisely those in which I see that most headhunting companies decide to outsource the work to the third parties, losing so much of the quality of the whole process. A situation in which the victim is solely the client.
Therefore, when you are buying a direct search service and you are talking to different service providers, make sure that the headhunter who is responsible for the search is also closely involved in those steps. It is usually pretty clear for you to find out by simply asking and if the person’s answer is a bit circular and there is no clear answer, it is already a strong sign that the person will not actively be involved in those points. Consider these details carefully before you buy such services. We notice there is very often a sort of halo of confusion around recruitment services. From the outside they might look rather similar, you have an open vacancy, you struggle to fill it, you contact an expert company to help you. But from behind the scenes, there are probably two dozen ways you can come around this issue.
Take into consideration that the world of work is going through a serious revolution. This movement had already started with the invention of AI and Machine Learning, which many compare to a second industrial revolution. It is no longer clear which skills will be essential to have in 10 or 20 years from now (even if we tried to predict a few: https://inhuntworld.com/12-jobs-that-ai-will-never-replace/ ), but even more than that, most companies are seriously considering shifting to remote working for good.
It is now proven that for most industries that have remote work as a possibility, the team is more productive, there are fewer frictions due to everyday cohabiting, of course, fewer costs and with a gigantic portion of the population, it mainly means 1 to 3 hours of less commute time. Time that can very happily be spent elsewhere.
With remote work having entered the scene to stay, this means that your hiring limitations are no longer restricted to the people available in that area, city or nation. Now you can find the best candidate, anywhere.
We really hope this article can open your eyes before you officially hire a Direct Search Recruitment service. If you are currently struggling with an open vacancy too complicated to fill simply with Job Listings online, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, we promise to get back to you in less than 24 hours, guaranteed.