Active Sourcing for executive jobs by headhunters is increasingly becoming important in today’s human resources scenario. A study by Experteer Switzerland shows that 97% of senior candidates in a company want to be ‘found’ or ‘approached’ by headhunters for relevant vacancies (Experteer career services survey, 2013, sample size: 1,124 respondents). And only about 38% headhunters are actually implement ‘active sourcing’. This really goes to show that the opportunity for executive recruiters is in fact quite big. The survey not only showed this big gap, but also that many executive candidates actually seemed to be put off by the lack of discretion by executive recruiters leading to a lack of interest. This is surely something that can be altered. Executive recruiters who have realized the active sourcing opportunity maintain a strong candidate relationship right from the initial contact itself. The results of the survey were first published in Persorama, a HR magazine in Switzerland and we have the 4 key tips for successful active sourcing for executive jobs summarized here for all the recruiters and HR managers.
4 tips for successful active sourcing for executive jobs
1. Discretion in the first contact
A golden rule from the survey results is- unconditional show of respect or discretion in the initial contact with a senior candidate. This means a senior candidate should not feel that the headhunter or the executive recruiter is ‘dubious’ by any means. The Experteer study found that 86.9% candidates prefer being contacted through a private E-Mail address or via online networks (77.9%). Through these discrete means of communication (as opposed to an official ID)- a senior candidate can potentially understand the recruiter request better and be in a better state of mind to respond or even prepare for a potential interview.
2. Personalized communication
We already understood that Email is the preferred communication vehicle. However, it is the content of the Email that distinguishes the wheat from the chaff. Case in point- a simple three liner with a request for a contact will not necessarily lead to a successful recruitment contact. To interest potential executive candidates for a job, basic facts such as the industry, key responsibilities, and the work profile must be clearly defined. Additionally, the information must be provided in a personalized way. No one wants to read a forwarded email Bcc-ed to a thousand other candidates. Candidates need to have the feeling that the request was not sent as a mass message but specifically to them. It is important that the Email answers the question that is perhaps running through the candidate’s mind: ‘Why am I the best candidate for this position?’. With a close look at the candidates profile, and by putting in time and effort, the headhunter or executive recruiter can save a lot of time later on.
3. For further action: stay concrete
If the initial contact is successfully established, the headhunter or executive recruiter needs to quickly follow it up with concrete discussions. Unlike candidates that reach out via conventional job posting methods, candidates contacted through active sourcing expect immediate and a quick response- ideally within a week. At no point must the senior candidate feel that the recruiter is not aware of complex questions or real functioning of a certain role or position. Thus a concrete plan of action, role expectations and also expectations from the company must be laid out clearly. The interview is not only for the senior candidate to exhibit his/her skill sets, but also to ask relevant questions that need to be clarified well.
4. Open communication
Whether the company or headhunter decide for or against a candidate, the importance of open communication must be laid out clearly. Candidates need to know where they are in the application process and what the next steps are. Often recruiters are inclined to inform successful candidates more but the ones that fall through the process need to be contacted in equal measure. This is not only fair to the candidate, but also ensures a good relationship for the future. Successful HR recruiters tend to maintain a long term relationship with a candidate as a future position may work out well.
Hopefully the results of this survey and the tips we enumerated can be helpful to executive recruiters and headhunters enabling them to race ahead in the talent race!