We Have Great Clients!
(Thank you to Kathy Rhodes, one of the talented Associates at Abeln, Magy, Underberg & Associates for this Blog topic suggestion!)
As we always say, no one has ever called us with an easy search and a long timeframe. We are commonly called when there is an immediate need for a key leader. While many of the openings we work on are planned, others come up based on circumstances of the moment – a resignation, a ‘surprise retirement’ (two words that have increasingly come together since COVID), etc.
As the Blog title states, we have great clients.
During the life of a search, there are a number of key client attributes that drive this home. Here is a partial list – and we are appreciative of each one:
Access – meeting the hiring leader and their team is simply critical. While we don’t need hours of time with this executive, we do need to get to know them. An executive hire is a major investment (think ‘impact’ of the key role); getting to know the expectations and style of the hiring leader is critical.
I started my career in Human Resources – gravitating to leadership roles in the ‘Staffing’ function. (We did not call it Talent Acquisition at the time.) Having Human Resources staff as our partner is a true asset/gift. They commonly become our key communication link and help us navigate our information and calendar requests. Most importantly, they are an incredible search partner – giving us valuable information about the organization, the history of the opening and staff, and keys to success in working for the employer. That is true access and a great partnership.
Transparency – we guarantee our placement. That simply means we want the candidates we place (who are likely gainfully, busily and happily employed elsewhere when we approached them) to be wildly happy and successful in their new role/with their new organization. To assure a strong placement, we need the truth. Not all employers are perfect; cultures vary – and there is no single culture that is attractive to everyone. We need to know the good and the bad about the company, its history, the position history and the manager. We are honest with our candidates – and they are very appreciative of that honesty. Being transparent with us is key. We will keep confidential information confidential. That said, we want the truth so that we can communicate it properly.
Responsiveness – today’s job market is active. At some point in every search, I tell people one of Abeln, Magy, Underberg & Associates’ favorite internal quotes – “Calendars Kill Candidates”. This simply means that candidates that are open to talking with us are also open to talking with others about possible opportunities. Strong employers are also working hard to retain their key talent. While it is critical to take the time to properly explore the full candidate marketplace and thoroughly assess each candidate, we also know we need to keep the search process moving.
This responsiveness includes responding to questions that come up in candidate vetting conversations. While we do our best to pre-think questions we are likely to receive, there are always questions we need to further explore with the client. Fast responses keep candidates engaged.
Materials – we need information. What would the company give the candidate (printed or electronically) as ‘collateral’? We need benefits information. We need brochures if they are in use. Internally (to the search firm), we need organization charts so we can understand and communicate the structure of the company and the key departments related to the search.
Dual Role Recognition – everyone involved with the search wants success – a great new employee with the skill set and style (IQ and EQ) to succeed. The candidate will visit the company a few times . . . . . for interviews and general meetings (meet/greets) with the hiring manager, varying company leaders including board members, and the department or area the position will lead. Every interviewer is in the role of assessing the candidate.
They also have to ‘sell’ – the interviewers represent the company. They have to sell the benefits of working there . . . . . why they chose the employer and what keeps them there. If it is a national search, selling the geographic area is key as well. In today’s market, candidates have choices. If an offer is extended, everyone wants the candidate to accept and ultimately be welcomed.
- The dual role – assess AND sell!
Feedback – after each candidate interview, we ask our candidates to get back to us with comments and feedback. We ask our clients to do the same. Candidates want feedback. Was the candidate a fit for the role – experientially and culturally? When we present a candidate, we have assessed the candidate and determined that (in our opinion) they are a fit. Client feedback assures us we are doing the job we were hired to do – bringing forward candidates that are a clear fit for the role.
Flexibility – searches have the most fascinating resource – people. And while we love the people business, we also know people have many obligations. Candidates work elsewhere. Clients, while anxious to bring on the new key leader, also have to do their jobs (running the company, often without a key person in place) and lead their lives. While timeframes are laid out, flexibility is critical. The candidate you want has a business trip scheduled – to China. The client board meeting is coming up and time is needed to prepare. Simply put – be flexible in your timelines and expectations.
Our great clients have these attributes and more!
I want to end as I began – we have great clients – thank you!