A couple of months back, I talked with a good friend of mine who is the founder and CEO of a very fast-growing company called Eversports. The company is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and has operations in several countries. They have created a platform through which it is very easy for users to find and book different sport facilities. Through their app users get access to more than 600 sports venues and studios in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
They have one very important recruitment coming up and my friend wanted to talk to me about what he should take into account when choosing a headhunting partner for that particular recruitment. Yes, we had an open discussion about the topic and not so much about why we (InHunt World) would be the best partner for them. Of course, we are in conversations, but in our meeting we focused more on what he should take into account when making the decision.
Here’s the summary of what I think he should pay attention to:
- The headhunter’s industry expertise, personality and chemistry
Back in the days, I was involved in choosing and interviewing people for some positions in an industry where I didn’t have enough knowledge. Needless to say, it was almost impossible finding the most suitable candidate.
Thus, it is very important that the headhunter who will be responsible for searching, contacting and interviewing the candidates understands the job profile, requirements and main characteristics of the industry.
The headhunter’s personality is also very important, because often we humans tend to favor our own kind of people. Much is talked about the so-called mirror effect (favoring people like ourselves) and therefore it is important to interpret the headhunter’s personality, speeches and words, because those will also have an effect on what kind of candidates he will eventually present to the client.
Moreover, it’s important that there be good chemistry between the headhunter and the client. This plays a big part in ensuring that information is always received the right way and that communication flows seamlessly back and forth throughout the recruitment process.
- Being sure who genuinely makes the contacts, conducts the interviews etc.
I also told my friend very honestly about the headhunting industry, the players there and the many different ways to act. I told him that it is not odd that the headhunter who appears to be responsible for the search, is not the one who’s contacting the candidates or even doing the first interviews. Quite often there are junior level people doing that and the Senior Consultant will be stepping in later on. The biggest problem here is obviously that if the contact is not done properly, a lot of good candidates will be lost right at the beginning of the process.
- The headhunting firm’s reputation, references and size
The headhunting industry has changed a lot during the last 10 years and many traditional players have either disappeared or got themselves in big problems. Therefore, I would not value the fact that a headhunting firm has been operating since 1970, but I would put more weight on what it has done in recent years, how well it has kept up with the developments (new technologies, social media utilization, GDPR, etc.), what kind of searches it has done recently, and most importantly, what kind of headhunters they have.
Size also matters, especially when everything does not go as agreed. In really small companies searches are usually conducted by one single person. This might not be an issue, but sometimes it is, especially if the same headhunter is working on multiple cases or gets sick etc., which means that the search process could be paralyzed, at least temporarily.
Teemu is a Director of InHunt World and has been working in the recruitment and headhunting industry since 2009. Teemu is from Finland and came to Spain in 2014 to set up and open new headhunting offices in Madrid, and later in Barcelona. Since 2016, Teemu has been focusing on designing, creating, and running the new InHunt World International Headhunting Network, which already covers over 30 countries.