Ever wonder what REALLY happens at a search firm behind the scenes?

For those of you who have looked for a new role on your own before—you know—looking for the right career move is a full time job—and no, it is not simply linking up and doing a quick query to find the perfect match. Matter of fact, in my 26 years recruiting, it has never been that easy.

Clients often ask us to look in our database and see if we have someone in mind.  We call potential candidates and they ask to connect on LinkedIn instead of talking and think that should suffice.

So maybe it is time to pull back the curtain and give everyone a taste of what my firm does for 8-12 hours a day (hint: it is not database management).

Just like Rome wasn’t built in one day, neither are relationships. It takes multiple conversations to build trust and that includes in our business. We must build relationships with potential candidates while doing the same with potential clients.  Finding the right piece of the puzzle is not discovered overnight.

  1. Research: Oh, not as easy as one would think.  We have a set criteria from the client on what they want in education, experience and attitude and we spend countless hours coming up with a recruiting plan to meet those expectations.  On the flip side, we make sure we have a diversified client base that can appeal to our functional population and meet the needs of those A players who want to go Fortune 500, Private Equity or small tech start up.
  2. All hands-on deck: Or in our business–on the phone.  Yes, we use LI and other technology (no, I’m not giving away all our secrets) but what makes us really successful is our ability to talk to a lot of people.  As a firm, we focus on the top 10% of talent in the market and that means meeting, assessing, and listening to the needs of thousands of people every year.
    That takes a team approach and yes, it is hard work.  
  3. DatabaseYes, someone has to enter all that data and bottom line, only the person conducting the interview can really put in the data info on the evaluation, fit/culture/comp.  We have tried to outsource and it leads to errors so yes, we “do” the data entry, but it is not our focus.
  4. Technology: Yes, we spend a great deal of money on the latest sourcing and time saving tech and just testing it can take hours.  We cannot get comfortable and as recruiters, we try out the latest “cutting edge” tools in hopes for the best, but alas, it’s back to basics and we’re usually back to the phone.
  5. Marketplace Data: This is where my English literature degree pays off (yes, to liberal arts!)  In search, you must assimilate a great deal of data and do it quickly.  You take notes, you research competitors, compensation data, cost of living data, family expectations, equity out 3,4 ,5 years and that is just the basics.  If you want to know what is going on in any given market, ask a recruiter who works it—they may know more than your stockbroker.
  6. Emotional Roller Coaster: That is our biggest concern and one that can make you elated at the end of the day or exhausted.  People can change their mind at any time.  Making a decision that can impact their future, their families, and their wealth for years to come is a big decision and it can be quite a roller coaster ride.  The psychology of our work is often intense.
  7. The Follow UpLike dating, follow up is key.  We have pre interview discussions, post interview and every step in the journey of someone’s big life decision. There are conversations on culture, promotability and into the details of office environment and benefit packages.   We conduct reference checks, gather referrals, and assist with a myriad of items like total reward statements, reimbursements and travel details. 
  8. The moment: To stay or to go.  The negotiations. The questions. The emotional roller coast continues.  Is the candidate right for the job or not?  Do they really want the role or are they fishing for a better deal from their current employer?  The counter offers come into play.  The pros and cons. The pitfalls.
    Yes, it is our job to cover all of that and communicate it appropriately to all parties. Damn. I’m exhausted just writing about it.
  9. The reward: The very best part of being a recruiter is when someone accepts the new role that you’ve been working on for weeks or months.  But the pride is short lived because there is still work to be done: signatures, NDAs, drug screens, background checks, resignation, 30-day, 90-day follow up etc.…. The REAL reward usually takes a while. It’s when our clients call thanking us and our candidates call, telling us they are happy and have already been promoted. Sometimes, like this week, candidates even send us flowers. It’s super nice. But at the end of the day, when a candidate that trusted us in representing them calls and asks us to help build their team, turning into a client, that’s more than nice. It makes all the hard work worth it. That’s what we do for a living. 

We are always happy to help you through every step of the process, from determining what your career goals are to helping you reach them. Feel free to contact us!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here.

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