Complexity and specificities of direct research

Responsibility in finding key employees
In most cases, when sourcing candidates for mid- or lower-level positions, an HR consultant or HR manager is only required to conduct a few interview steps, assess the completed test assignment and analyze the candidate’s social media accounts. If the task is to find and evaluate a candidate for a management position, the consultant must have specific skills and experience for effective recruitment and subsequent evaluation.

The cost of mistakes and the liability of finding the “wrong” employee are too high, and the demands often exceed the capabilities of the labor market.

Understand the goals and objectives facing the future manager
It is important not only to discuss, but also to obtain a written description of the goals and objectives that the employee faces and that underpin the role for which we are looking for a manager.

Of course, it’s important to understand the history of the role, what happened to the former employee of the position, and what made the search relevant. These are all basic questions an HR consultant asks.

When seeking leadership positions, depth and analysis of the context in which the position emerges is important. Knowledge of the segment is always an added advantage, often executive search consultants come from the industry.

Personally, my previous experience in marketing communication helps me in my research. Thanks to this experience, I have an understanding of key performance indicators in marketing, media and working with the premium segment, where I started working over 10 years ago.

Candidate personality
Personal competence is one of the determinants of the search for key employees.

Additionally, it is important to match the personality profile of the immediate supervisor, company shareholders, head office requirements, and hiring manager if dealing with global companies.

Basic personal skills are important, among them: emotional intelligence, leadership, the ability to innovate and flexibility, to these I would also refer to “technological thinking”, which is now in the foreground for a successful manager, like ability to make decisions, teamwork.

In addition to evaluating the candidate himself, it is important to understand the profile of his future leader, and we show the importance of this understanding to our clients. It is important to assess the profile of the hiring manager and work on the compatibility with this person.

In the assessment we use the DISC system, the Myers-Briggs typology and the value questionnaire.

I would like to expand on the last tool, as it is now a new and important element in the search for key employees, and I would say all future employees of the company.

Company values
Many companies declare their core values. It can be openness, proactivity, customer orientation if it is a service company and many other important things.

When recruiting, the importance of matching company values ​​with each specific candidate is often overlooked. When selecting a key employee, suitability and sharing their own values ​​and those of the company are fundamental. It is important to understand the underlying values ​​of the future manager, because at the interview level the candidate may state one thing, but a more detailed assessment will reveal that in reality the value profile does not match the company.

Direct research always involves working within a certain framework.
Working within limits and with limited resources is considered a norm when looking for key employees.

What does it mean? To give you an example, when looking for a Marketing Director for a sports and lifestyle brand, we first approached direct competitors and the best global players in this segment. The number of such players is limited, and candidates who have the right and interesting experience and at the same time are motivated, even less. So we expanded the pool of companies and industries from which we sought candidates. The client wanted to see a perfect match in terms of professional and personal skills, sharing and understanding of company values, and of course a high level of motivation to make the transition.

We did a lot of analytical work, provided a search map and set up meetings/interviews with candidates from similar industries in marketing management positions, from the consumer segment. After 10-15 meetings with these candidates, the client came to the conclusion that it made sense to focus only on direct competitors. The circle has returned to the original starting point, but the client can only draw such conclusions after meeting candidates from related industries and studying the profiles of these candidates. In this case, we may encounter a change in the timing of finding and releasing the candidate we need. But as a result, we find a perfect match.

Delays in finding key employees and senior managers
It’s good when the client sets a clear deadline and we understand that we have a task with a specific deadline, for example, to get a candidate out within 2.5 to 4 months. On average, the search period for a leadership position takes up to 6 months, and in some cases up to a year. For leadership positions, at least 5-6 interviews are required, including assessment and participation from global colleagues, if we are talking about international companies.

In addition, it is important to consider the preparation of the candidate to enter, often 1 to 1.5 months to complete cases in their current position. I can point out that if a candidate, even in a general manager position, needs more than a month to close his business, it is a kind of signal and must be taken into account and paid attention to the real motivation and preparing for the transition.

The search for leaders and key employees is a laborious, time-consuming and detailed task, but it is vital for the effective and successful work of a company.

To assess the quality of a headhunter’s work, it is possible to look at the example of their internships, the quality of their employees for the company, and how well they have justified the investment that the company has made. made in the search for such a specialist.

The risk of a hasty and superficial search is too high.

Sharon D. Cole