Picking carefully, and getting an exceptional headhunter on board when there are so many different organisations billing themselves as headhunter agencies, can leave you feeling bewildered. How do you identify the truly great from the range of headhunter agencies? How do you make contact with the best?
Know Who You’re Dealing With
When considering contacting headhunter agencies to fill your executive vacancy, you need to be aware that not all agencies advertising ‘headhunting’ truly are headhunters. So your first task is to identify whether you have shortlisted a recruitment agency, or one of a select number of true headhunter agencies.
To do this, you can ask some direct questions (which you may be able to answer yourself from their website). A recruiter will typically pitch equally to both candidates and employers – a headhunter focuses more precisely on the needs of the employer alone. A recruiter will offer a generalist service whatever the level and type of roles being sought, and operate a database system of matching candidate to employer. A headhunter, on the other hand, specialises in executive level search, and does so by researching the niche carefully, and using appropriate intelligence to entice the ideal candidate to you.
What to Look For
Once you have identified specific headhunter agencies from the plethora of recruitment agencies who offer a headhunting service, then you need to know what to look for specifically. Get it right and you’ll find your top level recruitment actively and accurately meets your organisational objectives. Get it wrong, and you’ll be paying over the odds for a labour-intensive, second-rate service.
We believe there are certain non-negotiables that you should look for when selecting a headhunter agency.
- Reputation: The reputation of the headhunter is exceedingly important. It is their network, contacts, experience, and intelligence that will lead to success in filling your executive position. You should be able to ask for references and be supplied these with ease. You should also look at the collective skills and experience of the headhunter agency. Choosing an agency over an individual consultant brings you a range of different skill-sets and experience to draw on.
- Clarity of Tasks: You should have a very clear idea of the process and how headhunting recruitment works, and who is responsible for what. Therefore, the headhunter should clearly lay out their expectations of you (which will include a preliminary discussion regarding the role, and the corporate environment, and your role in interviews), as well as their commitment to your position through research, networking, and short-listing.
- Timescales: Whilst it is impossible to guarantee exact timescales in recruitment, a good headhunter will be able to give you a clear idea of how long the process should take. At Eagle Headhunters we are proud to be able to solve your executive search problem in around 4 weeks from first contact.
- Online Presence: Headhunting, by its very nature, requires outstanding networking skills. You should be able to see evidence of this through the online presence of the various headhunter agencies. Take a look at their website and the information it provides, as well as looking on LinkedIn, and other general online searches.
- The Contract: Make sure you discuss the terms and conditions of the executive placement before you sign on the dotted line. A good headhunter agency will have a clear and transparent contract which should give you peace of mind regarding the process. The agency should be willing to discuss the contract and process with you.
- Accountability: You should ask the potential headhunter agencies how they keep you informed throughout the process. Headhunting is not the same as straight-forward recruitment with easily quantifiable targets to meet. Instead, you will need to be kept personally informed with how the research is going, as well as the nurturing of relationships which will hopefully lead to the ideal candidate.
- Openness and Knowledge: A successful headhunted placement is dependent on clear and open communication with you regarding the role and the organisation. This needs to be combined with pre-existing knowledge regarding your industry niche. Therefore, an excellent headhunter will be able to explain clearly how they get the information needed from you, and how this couples with their existing knowledge of the market. Will they spend time actively getting to know your needs?
By considering these different attributes, you can shortlist the best headhunter agencies. From here, as long as your chosen agency satisfies all of the above, you should choose based on who you feel comfortable communicating with.
To see how Eagle Headhunters can help with your executive search, get in touch on 0203 5822663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.