I was having dinner with a friend the other night and the topic turned to my work as an executive recruiter. I explained the reasons I love the work – particularly the relationships I make along the way working with clients and candidates, and the opportunity to get to know different organizations and to think strategically and creatively about the opportunity a new hire presents.
He nodded his understanding, but then commented that as someone currently engaged with a search consultant to hire for a position in his organization (he has a big job at a large hospital network) it requires too much of his time because, as he explained, the search firm wants him to meet a number of candidates. It can take time, I acknowledged, and asked how significant the position is for which he’s recruiting. Oh, he responded, it’s really a critical position. So, I inquired, it’s important you get the right person for the job? And, I nudged, probably worth your investment of time meeting with candidates in order to ensure you make the best possible hire?
Now, my friend is a very smart man and it’s not that he didn’t understand immediately what I was saying about the importance of his time in the hiring process. But his time is precious at work and sometimes the process of a new hire can feel like too much added to someone’s already overburdened work schedule. And although there are website claiming they can help you hire successfully through an online service- sounds quick and easy! How appealing – the fact is that finding the right fit for most jobs requires a more nuanced process. It also requires a partnership between the search firm and the hiring manager where both sides understand their role in the process. The firm is absolutely being hired to do a considerable amount of the work, but there are some parts of the process that can only be done by the client.
As the conversation continued, I commented on the fact that a vacancy often creates a key opportunity to take stock of not only the vacant position, but also of the organization. It can be very useful to have an impartial, third party holding up a mirror to help the leadership understand areas that might need to be addressed in order to make a successful hire. You know, my friend acknowledged, through this process he did hear some things that surprised him about how his division is perceived by others in the organization. And, he continued, now he’s working to address those issues.
As our conversation turned to other topics, I couldn’t help but feel that in describing why I love my work, I had helped my friend come to understand the value of a good search consultant and the importance of investing his time in the process.