10 Tips for Employers to keep Exceptional Headhunters Happy and Focused
So you’ve found an exceptional headhunter who’s a pleasure to work with? Seems like he or she knows all the right candidates out there and get your business perfectly. Here’s how to keep him or her happy. Here’s how to make him or her a strong advocate for your company. Here’s how to make sure he or she ALWAYS keeps you in mind when meeting Rockstars out there…
1 – Give prompt feedback
Whether it’s after receiving a resume or meeting a candidate in person, you can be sure your headhunter is looking forward to receiving some timely feedback. Let’s be honest, exceptional headhunters don’t swamp their clients in resumes, they carefully hand pick candidates to submit, and have built a solid relationship with said candidates. Hence, they want to get back to their candidates with quick feedback on how they did in an interview, whether they should expect a second interview, and if not, why not. Don’t worry too much about sugar-coating your answer, we’re there for that. We’ll make it as digestible as possible for the candidate, while providing him or her with useful advice. As a rule of thumb, 48 hours or 2 working days is a reasonable delay for feedback. We don’t expect you to get back to us during the week-end, but if you do, chances are we’ll be taking action as soon as we get your feedback!
2 – Show us what it’s like to work at your place
Let’s hold that first meeting in your offices, so we can get a good feeling of the vibe of the place. Allow us to get a taste of that espresso you make available to your employees. Tell us all about the perks of working at your company. Walk us around the premises, let us meet a few key employees to shake hands and chat. At the end of the day, exceptional headhunters are there to put you in contact with the best of the best candidates, but also to “sell” your company and available position to them. Make no mistake, the Rockstars out there have plenty to choose from. Give us some material to convince them that an interview at your place is a smart, smart move. Also, getting a good feel for the vibe of your place will allow us to pick the best candidates who will thrive there.
3 – Tell us exactly what you need
HR staff are usually pretty good at crafting long shopping lists of skills and requirements for any given job position until it ends up looking like a wish list more than anything else. Not very useful. Instead, tell us exactly what you’re looking for in terms of a candidate, in your own words. Forget the HR jargon. Exceptional headhunters specialize in specific profiles, and end up getting a solid grasp on their favourite industry jargon and technologies. Feel free to talk shop with them. If you eventually bring them beyond their depth, they’ll let you know before they drown, promised.
4 – Share your budget info with us
Yes, we will ask you what your budget is for any specific position we are trying to fill. We’re not trying to anticipate any negotiations at this point, we’re simply trying to get a rough idea of the range of candidates we can send in for the position. Exceptional headhunters always ask all suitable candidates for salary expectations and provide you with that number. If the candidate is way above budget, we’ll also make sure to let him know so that he can either lower that number or pass on the opportunity. Always bear in mind that different candidates have different “hot buttons”, i.e. aspects and perks that they are really looking for in a position and get their blood pumping.
5 – Pay promptly
This should go without saying, but remember that most exceptional headhunters are also freelancers, and thus make a living a 100% based on the commissions they charge. Therefore, quick money in the bank is always appreciated. Checks are fine but wire transfers are even better. Most of us will invoice you net 30, but by all means, do feel free to pay us sooner, even on reception of the invoice. This is one of the sure-fire ways to make sure that your favorite headhunter will always keep you in mind when meeting that elusive Rockstar everybody seems to be courting, or that he will stay up all night browsing the darkest corners of LinkedIn for that special candidate you described on Friday at 5:00PM. Conversely, paying late or, gasp, not paying at all, is a sure-fire way to be quickly forgotten.
6 – Let us know ASAP if things start to slip with a candidate
So you’ve hired a candidate through us, but you’re having second thoughts. Maybe the candidate is not performing as expected after all. A rare occurence when working with exceptional headhunters, but still a possibility. Most headhunters offer warranties, i.e. they will replace a candidate free of charge should he or she leave, or be asked to leave, before a certain time period has elapsed. Maybe just a discussion with the candidate is in order. At any rate, the sooner we know the better. We can then start searching for a potential replacement, perhaps even negotiate some sort of knowledge transfer between the two.
7 – Tell us all about your company and where it’s headed
Well, all that is not confidential information anyway, though most of us have not problem signing an NDA if necessary. The more we know about your products, services, competition, aspirations and goals, the more we can earmark specific candidates that you could very well be interested in meeting and eventually hiring. Let us know if it’s okay to send in “spontaneous” candidates, that is to say, candidates for which you did not give us a specific mandate but we that feel are truly exceptional and worth your time meeting. Remember, exceptional headhunters will NEVER flood your mailbox with uninteresting candidates. Matter of fact, if yours does, maybe it’s time to go shopping for a better one.
8 – Bring us into your inner circle
Don’t be afraid to ask us for our opinion. Make us feel like a part of the team, because really, we are. Want to know what the job market is like at any given time? Go ahead and ask us! Want to know what the fair market value is for a specific candidate? Again, that info is just a phone call (or even better – a cup of coffee together) away! You’re throwing a fun happy hour to celebrate some milestone? Invite us over! We like coffee, but we also like beer.
9 – Spread the word!
If you are a cool entrepreneur with cool positions to fill, chances are you also hang out with other cool entrepreneurs that also happen to have cool positions to fill. Put us in touch! Let’s face it, nobody likes cold calling, even exceptional headhunters. It’s simply not natural. But a good introduction, now that’s the way to start a business relationship! It simply is one of those win-win-win situation: your friend wins because he gets to meet an exceptional headhunter; we win because we get to work with a new, cool, exciting client; and you win because it simply is good karma! Good karma is important.
10 – Don’t over-negotiate our rate
Finally, remember that exceptional headhunters are also honest headhunters and will charge you a fair rate for their services. While it’s okay to negotiate that rate, bear in mind that if you drag it down too much, your headhunter might politely refuse or accept to sign you as a client, but in effect move you behind his other clients in his priority scale. You’ll thus be receiving candidates only if all the other, regular rate clients, have no current need for said candidate. Also remember there are many parameters that can be negotiated upon, such as exclusivity (meaning you will deal exclusively with a particular headhunter for a particular position), or even paying in instalments. Ask for favorite headhunter for details, you’ll be surprised at how flexible some of us can be, especially when you’re shining on all the criteria listed above.
Are you an exceptional headhunter? Did we forget to mention anything? Are you a cool client in search of an exceptional headhunter? Let us know!!!
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