August 12, 2014 Leave a comment
In your career, an executive search consultant can be a great customer. Like anyone who buys your services, you need to build loyalty and trust. Let’s explore how you can get to know your executive search customer!
In my work with executives, I often hear, “I need to transition quickly. Can you introduce me to any headhunters?” I admit I used to cringe at the question, as it reflects a true misunderstanding of the executive search profession. If executives actually reflected on the role of executive search consultants, they could find much better ways to interact with this dynamic group of professionals. To build great relationships with members of the executive search community, you need to move from a transactional approach to a long-term customer-focused strategy.
The role of the executive search consultant (too often loosely called a “headhunter”) is to satisfy the employer’s need. Indeed, a very important point! Candidates are only important if they fit the specifications of an open position for executive talent. Usually, executive search consultants are experts in their industry and/or function area. There are typically two types of executive search engagements: retained search and contingency search. Retained search is where the executive search firm is the sole representative of that role and advises the organization from start to finish, helping identify successful qualities for the candidate in the beginning stages, and assisting with offer discussions upon completion. Most likely, the retained search firm is paid through a mix of a retainer and a commission upon successful hire (usually termed an “uptick”). In a contingency search, the organization may not be the sole representative of that role, and they will most likely be paid when a candidate is hired successfully. Retained search engagements tend to be more consultative with an individual employer (the role is likely more high- profile, and a high degree of confidentiality is needed) while contingency search engagements are less consultative with an employer (there are multiple openings for the same type of job description and the candidate actually might be marketed to multiple employers at the same time).
Knowing these elements is essential, because executives can truly engage retained search consultants over the long-term to benefit their career. Here are some suggestions on building a long-term relationship with the executive search world: Read more of this post