Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Changing World of Headhunting (Part III…continued). How it is impacting the Employer-Recruiter Relationship.

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.”

I think the case has been made that technology has radically changed “headhunting”. The way candidates look for jobs has changed and the way employers look for candidates has changed. Headhunting just ain’t what it used to be. But there is still a place for third-party recruiters. To succeed they must be experts in their industry, develop long-term relationships with both candidates and clients and use their time wisely.

For me, the two critical keys in the Employer-Headhunter relationship are Commitment and Communication. If the client is truly committed to filling the position, committed to using my services AND is willing to communicate; we have a winner. If any of those are lacking, then it gets dicey. In the last blog entry I said that I would wrap up this series with a look at the different types of Employer-Headhunter relationships. For me there are four basic relationship types:

Low Commitment-Low Communication
Low Commitment-High Communication
High Commitment-Low Communication
High Commitment-High Communication

I do my best work in the High Commitment-High Communication quadrant. The other three are shaky at best. I would almost prefer dealing with a Low-Low where my expectations are also low and my investment of time and energy is equally low. The Low-High is the worst. The Low-High is big boots, big hat…no cattle. They tell you how great this opportunity is and how much they need an exceptional recruiter like you to find them just the right candidate and there will be more searches like this one in the future and on and on. You submit candidates and everyone gets excited. They interview, these are great candidates, you are doing a wonderful job, where have you been all of my life, hopefully we will make a final decision before the end of the month….and then it dies. You find out the hard way that they were not all that committed to filling the position in the first place, or at least not from the outside or certainly not if it includes paying a fee to a headhunter. Low-Highs are killers. On the other and, I can work with a High-Low. Not as good as a High-High, but if the commitment is there, I am willing to tolerate less than the best communication.

Writing this series on the Changing World of Headhunting has been an interesting exercise for me. A reader might conclude that I am pessimistic about Headhunting’s future. Actually, it’s just the opposite. I am optimistic. For the most part I think the changes have simply exposed more of the low hanging fruit in the job search-recruiting orchard. There will always be headhunters and candidates and employers looking to make things happen faster and cheaper. If one sees people as just another commodity to be traded in the marketplace, then perhaps faster-cheaper is the logical approach. But when it comes to making long-term investments in people, faster-cheaper is not necessarily better. I believe that candidates and employers who are investors, not just traders, will continue to partner with those headhunters who know how to find good investments.

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