STEPS IN THE PROCESS
Getting to Know You
- Who your competitors are;
- What makes this job a unique opportunity;
- Where you are located and what that means in terms of cost of living differentials, quality of education, cultural, and other amenities.
In an employer-driven market, some companies neglect to differentiate themselves as an employer. They assume they have their pick of candidates. While this is true, the number of “A” players in a particular field never changes by a significant number. The top company in any field may not have to “sell” itself, but even the number two company needs to differentiate itself in order to attract the “best in class” employees. This is even more important for smaller companies whose differentiators may not be as obvious.
Plan the Search
The passive candidates who make up the bulk of our placements are not looking for a job when we approach them. Once a person is open to leaving his current position, however, he often begins to wonder if he should explore other opportunities before making a move. We work to keep things on schedule, in order to avoid your getting involved in a bidding war for a highly desirable candidate.The length of time it takes to fill a position generally falls into the following ranges:
- Time to conduct the search (thirty to ninety days, depending on difficulty)
- Telephone and face-to-face interview process (depends on client’s process)
- Negotiation (one day to one week)
- Candidate gives two weeks’ notice
We will never prolong a search in order to impress you with its difficulty. If we have recently run across the perfect person for your position, we will not risk losing him or her in order to justify our service fee.
We develop a job description with the hiring manager and all parties who will participate in the hiring decision. Our experience tells us that 50% of the time, the hiring authority, the department head, and the human resources manager have significant differences in their understanding of the position’s scope, responsibilities, skills and technical requirements. Small changes that occur in the evolution of a position over a number of years can be easily overlooked by parties not close to the situation or not involved in the creation of the position.
We need to hear from the hiring manager (the horse’s mouth) exactly what he or she is looking for in an ideal candidate. What is his leadership style? What is it that he would like this person to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days? What type of person has been successful in this position in the past? If this previous person left or was terminated, why? Was it a personality conflict? Or did this person lack skills important for the position? We know our candidates well. They are not just pieces of paper to us. We want to know the hiring manager just as well.
We build a profile of the ideal candidate for the position you are trying to fill. We want to know minimum education, experience and skill sets as well as ideal education, experience and skill sets. What it is that you want versus what it is that you need. We work with our clients to create a set of core competencies for each unique position. Competencies considered are intellectual, personal, interpersonal, management, leadership, and motivational. We help you sell your opportunity, based on our knowledge and understanding of the job, the company, and the hiring manager. We create a story that will attract qualified candidates.
We ask about ongoing efforts to fill the position. Has anyone been interviewed and rejected? Why? We do not want to waste our client’s time, our candidate’s time, or our time sending in someone to interview who may be qualified on paper, but totally unsuited for the environment he will be walking into.
We don’t just recruit. We advise our clients regarding an appropriate compensation range and benefit package. Because we are in the market every day, we can usually provide data as to what the low, high, and average levels are in the industry, without doing much additional research.
The slow economy has also increased the difficulty of recruiting a passive candidate. Many people have seen friends and associates leave for a better opportunity that didn’t work out, often because the new employer promptly restructured and eliminated the position. The perceived risk of moving is currently very high.
We find candidates the old-fashioned way—through professional networking and contacts in our industry. By making anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 calls for a single search, we identify a few candidates we believe to be a good fit for your opportunity.
Qualifying the Candidate
- Leadership: the real reason behind nine of out ten departures
- Environment: an unpleasant physical surroundings or psychological atmosphere
- Resources: insufficient capital to support growth
- Challenge: same job for too long, no room for growth
- Compensation: often not a good sign, unless the person is underpaid compared to industry averages.
Most of the time, people are discreet enough not to give leadership as a reason for their discontent. A skilled recruiter, however, is like a detective. He or she is able to determine the real versus ostensible reason for interest in a new opportunity.
Talented recruiters are empathetic. They take the time to ask questions, dig under the surface, and listen carefully. Generally speaking, we avoid candidates whose sole interest is in financial gain. Such a candidate is easily induced into accepting a counter offer from his or her current employer. Before we confirm that the candidate’s experience and skills are a good match with the position being filled, we identify the reason for the candidate’s interest in making a move. Is he just trying to see what he’s worth in the marketplace? Will she go through the interview process hoping to get an offer to use as leverage for a raise with her own company? We spend a lot of time interviewing and getting to know our candidates in as much depth as possible.
We vet candidates as to:
- Experience, skills, attitude, knowledge, talents, and style
- Realistic expectations in terms of compensation, job title, duties, responsibilities, travel, and commute
- Availability to interview and start in a timely fashion
We make sure that the candidate’s expectations and the opportunity you have to offer are in alignment, so neither party’s time is wasted.
Counter offer. Many offers of employment are turned down because of a counter offer from the current employer. Estimates run as high as 25%. We cover the counter offer early and often with the candidate.
We inform the candidate that he or she will probably be given a counter offer, even by companies who claim they never make them. (It happens all the time.) We test the candidate’s resolve, and often coach him or her as to how to turn down such an offer, in a gracious manner, if one is made. A good recruiter is part psychologist.
Relocation. In the same CareerBuilder study referred to earlier, only 39% of workers who were laid off and had not found work were willing to relocate. Those who already have a job are even less willing to relocate.
The second biggest reason for an offer of employment to be turned down is relocation. As experienced recruiters, we know how important it is to cover this issue early in the recruiting process.
By identifying all parties who will be affected by the move, and always speaking with the significant other, we do not eliminate the chances of someone changing his or her mind at the 11th hour. We do, however, minimize the chances of it happening.
We perform a minimum of two in-depth reference checks before we present a candidate to a client for preliminary consideration.
If there is strong interest, we will do further reference checks, ideally: two former supervisors, a peer, a subordinate, and a personal reference. We will ask for additional references in many cases, for example:
- If any of the work related references is also a personal friend;
- If one of the references appears lukewarm;
- If one of the references gives a standard corporate response such as “Our policy permits us to verify employment only.”
Whenever possible, we use our industry contacts to try to obtain a reference from someone not identified by the employee as a reference.
Our research goes far beyond verifying education and dates of employment and asking “Would you rehire this candidate?” We ask about skill sets not readily identifiable on a resume, such as interpersonal skills, and reasons for leaving past positions. We look for evidence of integrity, loyalty, good work ethic, and a winning attitude.
We are careful not to lead the person into making positive statements. Our reference checks generally take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how generous the person is with his or her time.
Prepare and submit profiles of those candidates who meet the preferred candidate criteria. Our goal is to make the best possible match with your company’s culture and values. Our understanding of a company’s culture goes beyond dress code. It speaks to:
- Organizational structure: flexible, creative, entrepreneurial or hierarchical, process-oriented?
- Human resource policies: Is the company constantly top grading its staff, or would the company put everyone on a three-day week rather than lay anyone off?
- Leadership: Is Six Sigma the rallying cry, or servant leadership?
- Is work/life balance an important concern, or are people expected to do whatever it takes, including weekends and evenings?
We provide initial candidate feedback regarding overall interest, perception of the opportunity, and any reservations he or she may have. We let you know what the candidate’s hot buttons are and what his or her areas of concern may be so that you are prepared to address them. We serve as an intermediary during the entire interviewing process, which allows us to brief both parties before and debrief them after each interview.
We iron out any kinks in the feedback loop, answering unanswered questions, clarifying issues, dispelling any misconceptions that may have arisen, and pinpointing issues that may need further research or exploration. We prefer to present only one candidate at a time. This gives us the ability to evaluate information gained from the first interview and to clarify position requirements, company priorities, and hiring manager preferences. Rapid feedback at each decision point will ensure that:
- We will not lose a good candidate to another offer.
- We can immediately adjust our search criteria, if warranted.
The Offer Process
Some of our clients consider negotiation an integral part of the candidate’s evaluation during the interview process. In other words, the candidate’s negotiation style and effectiveness provide information about skills that are a prerequisite for the job. In such cases, we step out of the picture during the negotiation phase. Others, however, are aware that less than 50% of offers made by companies without the use of a professional recruiter are accepted.
We enjoy helping you to hire the candidate of your choice by participating in the offer and negotiating phase. We strategize with you to put together an acceptable offer. Because we have pre-closed our candidate throughout the interview process, when an offer of employment is made, its terms should come as no surprise to the candidate. We carefully manage expectations to limit the possibility of a disappointment in terms of the offer. For example, we make sure that the candidate is not insulted by an offer that is below the least he would be willing to accept. In the same manner, we make sure the client is not surprised by unrealistic expectations of an extraordinary jump in salary or bonus.
Because we are already aware of the company’s benefit package and how well it will meet the candidate’s needs, negotiations are not as likely to fall apart over a disappointing relocation package, and the chance for a turn-down, is minimized. In the event the company’s first offer is met with a counteroffer, we act as a go-between. An objective, third-party buffer takes emotion out of the equation.
After the Offer is Made and Accepted
We coach the candidate through resignation from his or her current position. This is when the candidate is most susceptible to a counter offer. It is during the relocation and transition period that many candidates get cold feet and change their minds. We monitor the process and counsel clients to offer as much assistance as possible.
In many instances, moral support can be more important than financial. Anything that can be done to reduce the stress of moving reduces the chances of someone having buyer’s remorse. After a candidate is on board, we stay in close contact with both you and the candidate to make sure things are going smoothly and that all expectations are being met.
We schedule regular follow up phone calls during the initial weeks of employment and then keep in touch monthly for the next six months. It is important that the integration of both the employee and his or her family is as seamless as possible. An unhappy significant other is more often than not the impetus for a new employee to start looking for a new opportunity. A good search consultant keeps in touch with all parties to a transaction.
Your Commitment to Us
Before you decide to work with Prodigy Executive Search, we ask for your commitment to our process—a process designed to:
- minimize the investment of time by all parties;
- maximize the return on investment by producing a good hire; and
- build trust and understanding that will facilitate future transactions.
We work with a select group of companies that are committed to the same high standards of integrity and openness that characterize our company. We do not recruit from client companies.
Why Do It Our Way?
You gain peace of mind when you let Prodigy Executive Search recruit for you. We understand the market for the talent you want. We have a solid grasp of the quality and experience of candidates available. We have on-going relationships with people at all levels of ability, experience, and talent, and we have up-to-date information on compensation for all levels of positions. It is our responsibility to show clients what is available on the market, based on the qualifications they have shared with us.
You minimize the risk of turndowns, falloffs, and mishires. The costs of a turndown are only time, but the costs of a falloff, or a mishire include compensation paid, termination settlements, recruitment expenses, and/or placement fees. Disruption to the organization, management errors, lost opportunities, strategy failure, wasted training, and damaged morale are less easily quantifiable, but just as harmful and expensive to all concerned.
According to Bradford D. Smart, PhD and author of Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People, a mishire can cost a company 14 times the salary of a manager making less than $100,000 a year, and up to 28 times the salary of someone making $100,000 to $250,000 a year. Because the process is so stressful and often ends in disappointment on both sides, the emotional investment is considerable, as well.
You benefit from third-party validation. We sell your company’s story and integrate it into an effective recruiting and retention strategy. An outsider is always perceived as more impartial than an insider. Working with a search firm with a sterling reputation, who specializes in your industry has many advantages. The third-party validation of such a firm promoting your company will increase the credibility of your message. We treat our candidates with the same respect that we treat our clients, and they trust us.
You reduce your time to hire. We recruit with urgency and passion, so you can focus on what you do best. Our goal is to create a win-win result for you, your next great employee, and us—your trusted advisor for all your recruitment needs. Why not work with us, using a strategic, well-organized plan designed to meet your needs in the most effective and efficient manner possible?