The Evolving Age of the Specialist – Go Ahead, Make My Day!

Published: 27 March 2014

A constant theme in recruiting circles is the evolution of solutions to the age old challenge of finding enticing talent. Internal resourcer or head-hunter; social media campaign, search or advertising; contingent or retained – whichever route is decided upon after the debate there are always some parameters that stay the same:

  • It is going to be time consuming - the decision should be based on how much of this time you want to spend yourself and have you truly weighed up what this time investment will cost you?
  • The only predictable thing about human behaviour is how unpredictable it is – does the person you choose to lead the assignment have the skills to attract, convince and help on-board your choice?
  • The quality of the talent will be impacted by your organisational sell – Integrity and honesty is critical, but are you confident that your chosen recruiter has a balanced view of your business and can effectively position the reasons why it is an attractive place to work?
  • Successful hiring requires both a technical and cultural fit – Are you utilising a recruitment resource that understands the nuances of your industry, the position and the people characteristics that are most likely to ensure longevity.

There is no doubt that social media is driving improved visibility of candidate pools. But does it offer a complete market picture? Linked-In penetration at executive level is rising fast, yet in 2013 two thirds of CEO’s were not on Linked-In. More importantly, what percentage of the task is tied up in the identification phase and how much of the real skill is in translating the identified pool into a viable and compelling shortlist?

Our fast growing manufacturing practice believes that an informed and skilled search team combined with deep subject matter expertise relevant to the client is critical to ensuring you deliver the required candidate. Judging by practice expansion, our clients agree with us but a further interesting trend is emerging where some clients are adopting a multi-channel approach and tasking recruiters with only the most challenging assignments.  Often recruitment is viewed as being ‘expensive’ which comes back to the reality of time investment mentioned above, how you want your business to be represented, and the depth of quality you want in your shortlist.

Good representation requires investment and arguably if the solution for ‘easy’ positions is not via external recruitment, should we be charging more, not less for the service when asked to recruit the toughest assignments? My view is that within the bounds of what is realistic, a good retained recruiter will back themselves to reach the toughest to find candidate pools and spend the time necessary to do so; expecting in return a fair commercial fee. Tough assignment? Go ahead, make my day!

David Thomas is a Principal Consultant in the Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practice at Berwick Partners

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