We are a business growth company, and although our main sector is growing businesses, we also have a Headhunter on our books to help them sustain growth with quality staff. So here are a few top tips for you, based on our experience!
1. Be Realistic and Genuine About Pay
Make sure you set two salary targets, the first being an ideal salary you want, the second is an upper limit (i.e. the most the candidate will earn.) Imagine you'd like to hire a skilled Technical Manager, the industry pays about £35k, you'd like to pay £25k. How much interest will we get and what sorts of candidates will we find if you tell us you want to pay just £25k? The truth is you'll get inexperienced individuals who may never perform, wasting your money and our time. Is that really what you need? Will you be better off dangling the carrot by saying up to £35k with a target of £30k? Don't hide from us your upper limit, as we can use this as a card up our sleeves.
2. Don't Ask for Too Many Candidates
The whole thing about Headhunting is that we save you time and angst! (Don't compare us with agencies, we are not an agency!) Why try to interview four candidates when we can shortlist it to two, or even give you the best candidate to interview alone? Headhunting is about speedy services to capture the right person.
4. Be Nice to Candidates
Yes, you read that right! If I only had a fiver for every candidate that told us they were treated like dirt. Some even told us that from their interview or telephone experiences, they wouldn't work for that company for a significant pay rise. Now bear this in mind, that candidate is working in your industry, what sort of thing will they be saying about your company? Also, they might not be right for this job right now, but leave a good impression and they may be back again in 5 to 10 years, better skilled and ready to earn you money! Treat them like a precious commodity and they will return that respect to you.
5. Don't Dither
Employers dither, and many haven't got the real meaning of what Headhunting is about. the service is designed as a quick way of selecting your ideal candidate. The candidates we select are usually 'stickers', so it's not always easy to persuade them to uproot. In tempting them to move, we've sown the seed in their head about change, so if you don't act fast they will have spotted a decent job elsewhere, maybe better than yours! After all, they will be a quality candidate, very marketable and skilled at what they do, ripe for the picking, just make sure it's YOU that picks them first.
6. Don't Leave Candidates Waiting
When you get the CV, ring them the same day, even if its in the evening. Leaving it three days or more gives the message that you're not impressed and that you don't really give a toss about whether you hire them or the next person. Same drill after your interview. the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that they will actually refuse to work for you if they haven't moved. They may even get the impression that the delay is because you're trying to recruit someone else, so when you speak to them, they think the first person has already turned you down! I've seen this many times.
7. Be Reasonable with Expectations
You're trying to hire a skilled resource. Think of the process from their angle, and try to work out what they will think of your job. Let me give you an example. Ever noticed that some jobs are always a revolving door? Ever noticed some jobs can be a real pain to fill? There's always a reason behind this! It's usually low salary, too many hours, too much driving, terrible working conditions or similar. So, if you want a HGV driver to cover the whole of the UK on £20k, out from Sunday night until late Friday, you'll have almost zero chance!
7. Be nice to your Headhunter!
Our Headhunter works long hours to find the right candidates, and I MEAN long hours! He's obsessed by it and wants to find the perfect match. (He also needs a hobby!) Keep him sweet and he will dedicate a lot of time to getting it right. If he knows you're a good company, he will find someone who matches your ethos and business approach. conversely, if he gets a 'different' opinion of what your company is about, he will also try to match the personality with what his perception of your business is about.
Good luck with your quest and I hope you get your ideal candidate!
Robert Harris is the Managing Director of Harris Associates, a consultancy delivering Business Growth services. He can be contacted for further information on 0800 254 5000, Robert@HarrisAssociates.biz, twitter @HarrisAssocSW