10 Tips to Select the Best Executive Recruiter

Oct 11, 2018


An executive recruiter can bring a turnaround for struggling businesses. Whether you own a large or a small firm, you need to hire an executive who has the competency, experience, and most importantly soft skills required to recruit the best employees for your company.

A good consultant will help you locate the most skilled and talented individuals for executive positions. But you need to be wary when selecting an individual for an executive recruiter position.

So, how can you find an executive search company who can connect you with the right persons for the job? How can you know whether the consultant is making empty promises? How can you hire the best executive recruiter for your company?

Here we have listed ten tips that will help you identify and hire the best person who can make a big impact on the business bottom-line through effective hiring policies.

1. Quantify the Achievements

You need to select a recruiter who is better than the rest. In this context, you need to ask the person to quantify the achievements. Ask the recruiter to give some examples of executives who were able to make a major turnaround for a struggling company when hired.

Furthermore, you should ask the recruiter to benchmark services as compared to the competitors. Consider asking the company how you can benefit from selecting their services instead of the competitors.

2. Ask the Right Questions

You need to interview the consultant to ensure that the person is the best one for the job.

Make sure that the candidate knows the right procedure in selecting executives. Some of the questions that you ask them during the interview include the following.

  • How will you assess candidates? or What is an effective vetting process? — The recruiter should know about the effective hiring process. Make sure that the he or she knows about the techniques to pinpoint candidates who are the best fit for the role. Also, find out whether the candidate knows how to assess candidates by using tech tools such as evaluating their LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook profile. The vetting process explained by the candidate should be thorough and effective in selecting the best prospects for the company.
  • How long does it take on average to fill a position? —Longer search time makes you lose money due to loss of productivity. So, it's essential that the executive search consultant can search and fill positions quickly. Workable’s Benchmark tool that collects data from more than 5,000 customers shows that it takes on average between 40 to 52 days to fill different positions. An efficient recruiter should be able to fill positions in half that time.
  • How Involved are you in the search process? —Great recruiters are persistent and creative in prospecting candidates. They develop a list of potential candidates and create a follow-up schedule to influence them to join the company. The he or she will target both active and passive candidates i.e. those who have applied for a position and those who are not yet looking for a job switch. Being more involved in the search process will result in hiring the right candidates.
  • How will you know about the status of the candidates? A good research team will know how to use tech tools to create weekly reports showing the status of different candidates during a hiring process. This is important to ensure that candidates who have applied do not remain stuck in the pipeline. It will avoid time and cost wastage both for the firm and the candidates.

The above questions will serve as a starting point for hiring executive recruiters. You should add your own questions that are based on your specific criteria.

Effective recruiters will provide thoughtful responses that are backed by actual experience. You should prefer recruiters that have the experience and energy that can help you connect with genuine talents. In addition, you should look for specific traits such as successful track regard, tenacity, and an aim for excellence. Solid communication skills are also critical in this line of work. You should keep these things in mind when interviewing the executive recruiter.

3. Know the Desired Traits

An important question that you should ask before hiring an executive search firm is what skills are sought when looking for executive candidates.

When searching executives candidates, Google, for instance, looks for individuals with learning agility, intellectual humility (anti-narcissist), and inquisitive mind. Other traits that are important for an executive include the following.

  • Delegating ability,
  • Confidence,
  • Communication or soft skills,
  • Positive attitude,
  • Adaptability,
  • Critical thinking skills, and
  • People management skills.

Make sure that the recruiter is aware of the critical skills required for effective leadership. A recruiter that doesn't know the skills that are desirable in a candidate for an executive position will not be able to hire the best person for the post.

4. The Ability to Persuade

Another important thing that you should consider before hiring an executive recruiter is the ability to persuade and influence the candidate. Hiring top candidates for a position requires expert persuasion and influencing skills.

Consider for a moment that you are a Chief Strategist working for a big firm. You are receiving a good salary and fringe benefits. Normally, you won’t want to switch jobs and stay with the company till retirement.

But an experienced search consultant knows the arts and science of persuasion that can make a person even in a stable position change mind and make the switch. Successful executive recruiters know how to win trust and develop relationships. They know the art of persistently aiming the ball in the right spot resulting in a strike. The trust earned through concentrated efforts results in successful hiring outcomes.

5. Focused on Constant Personal Development

Make sure that you hire candidates who show initiative in self-development. Ask the candidate whether and how he or she remains up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry.

Does the candidate know about developments in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for assessing candidates?

Does the candidate know about agile human resource practices?

Asking about the latest trends in HR will help you to gauge whether the candidate is focused on improving related skills and knowledge.

6. Tech Savvy

The best recruiters know the use of technology to accelerate the search process. They are able to make use of software to identify and hire the best candidates. You should ask the recruiter how he or she uses technology when searching for candidates.

Using technology allow recruiters to network more effectively with national and international candidates. They can use data analysis software to create a talent pool. This allows them to strategise their search strategies.

In contrast, recruiters who don't know what technological tools to use in headhunting won't be able to effectively search and locate the top executives. They won't be able to fill positions within a reasonable period of time. And time is money with the longer a position is left unfilled the greater loss in productivity to the company.

Remember that in this 21st century, individuals who don't use technology belong to the stone age. They can't be able to function effectively in searching for the right candidate for the leadership position.

Great recruiters, on the other hand, know the use of game-changing technology to make a difference for their clients. They are tech-savvy and know how to use technology to home in on the best candidates for any position.

7. Hire an Experienced Professional

An experienced executive recruiter is more valuable than a novice. Unless your firm is a startup that can't afford to hire top executives, you should always go for an experienced search firm.

Hiring specialists Bruce N. Pfau and Ira T. Kay had stated in the book 'The Human Capital Edge' that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. This suggests that hiring experienced professionals is the key to hiring winners. According to the authors, you must hire candidates who can hit the ground running for your company from the first day. You can't afford to waste time and cost in training an inexperienced recruiter.

Experienced executive recruiters have spent years in developing their skills in finding star candidates and convincing them to join the company. They have a solid network of excellent candidates for different positions. You can rely on them to recruit individuals with hard-to-find skills.

Hiring an experienced executive recruiter will result in lower time to fill and higher quality candidates for different positions.

8. Hire Someone Passionate about the Field

People who are passionate about their work are able to excel in their field despite insurmountable obstacles. The heart and the brain must be aligned in any field of work. Passionate recruiters have the inner drive to excel in the human resource management field.

Hiring may look like an easy walk in the park. But this does not reflect reality. The fact is that hiring managers face a lot of challenges. Unexpected strategies may derail a finely tuned search strategy. Candidates who were selected may change mind at the last moment to make the switch. There are a lot of other problems faced by recruiters.

However, passionate executive recruiters don't stress out under pressure. They will diligently work to overcome all obstacles. The passion for the craft makes them a juggernaut of human resource management.

Makes sure that you hire recruiters who are passionate about what they do. It will help you assess how passionate the individual is towards the profession. Passionate individuals are never satisfied with the ordinary, and always strive for the extraordinary. They are willing to invest time and money to become proficient in their field.

9. Give an Assignment to Assess the Candidate

This is an invaluable strategy to gauge the skill of a prospective recruiter. You should make the assignment realistic but also brief so that it can be completed within a reasonable time. In this way you can assess the candidate's traits like being tech-savvy, calm under pressure, detail oriented, and others that are important for the role.

The test that you make for this purpose should test the prospecting skills, communication skills, and also adaptability and integrity of the candidate. By giving a test, you can know for sure that the prospective candidate has the right skills and traits required for the job.

10. Contact Executive Search Firm

One of the most effective ways you can hire experienced and skilled candidates is by hiring the services of an executive search firm.

Executive search firms are different than recruitment agencies in that they search for both active and passive candidates. They prospect candidates who are not only looking for a job but also those who are content in their present post. Moreover, executive recruitment firms will be able to use proactive strategies in searching for candidates. They don't advertise and wait for the right candidates to apply. Instead, the firms will actively seek candidates resulting in filling the position within a matter of a few weeks instead of months.

Jefferson Maguire focuses exclusively at executive level positions providing solutions to big and small companies in the UK. By providing the best talent to companies, we contribute to effective leadership in organizations. We are fully aware of what effective leaders can do and we are passionate about delivering the best solutions to our corporate customers. For more information about our executive search services in the UK, you can contact us today.

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