Placement Fees Are Cheap When You Look At Them This Way

Employers seldom complain about the services of headhunters, it’s the headhunters’ fee that has become their pain point.
I recently heard a webinar presentation to a group of HR professionals about how to recruit like a headhunter. The presenter made the comment “if you are not using headhunters as your primary recruitment weapon, then you are not hiring the best talent in-the-market”. One of the listeners responded that the presenter didn’t know what he was talking about as they hire good people who are working out just fine, without the help of headhunters.
The presenter explained…”you really don’t need headhunters to hire the best talent on-the-market. However, what would you say was the difference between the best talent in-the-market and the best talent on-the-market?

There were many responses…the ones with the best resumes; or, the ones presently work for the big brand name organizations; or, the ones with the best education. An excited participant, yelled, “I have the answer…the best talent in-the-market not on-the-market.” Absolutely! They are most likely those who are not actively searching for a job.

Passive v. Active
Why?
It has been my experience from years as an employee that top talent expects to be sought after by a competitor. They need to be strategically motivated and consequently sold on the opportunity.
So, if you are not using headhunters, then you are hiring the best talent from among only the individuals actively looking for a new job. And, there is a significant difference in the caliber of talent when you compare those actively looking to those not actively looking for a new job.
We took a quiet survey.
1. How many of you know of someone actively searching for a job? Almost everyone raised their hands.
2. How many of you are actively searching for a new job? Three individuals raised their hands.
3. How many of you are not actively looking, but would listen to details about another job opportunity if you believed that it could be of some interest to you? Half the individuals in the room raised their hands.
4. How many of you are not actively looking, but would seriously consider another job opportunity if you were convinced the job would not only improve your standard of living, it would also advance your career to the next level?

Big Pool v. Puddle
He pointed out that the result of that survey was similar to recruitment activities in a niche market. The best talent most likely will be from the group of individuals that are not actively looking. So, if you are not using headhunters, you are not hiring the best talent from the entire talent pool; you are hiring the best talent from a puddle.
The question was asked, “With all the new recruitment apps that are available, the big job boards, and the growing appeal of social media, are you trying to convince us that headhunting is the most effective recruitment method available?”
He said yes…and why.
Recruiting Ahead of Need
The reason headhunting remains the most effective recruitment method is because as headhunters we recruit ahead of the need! The only way that is possible is if we are committed to building relationships from a recruitment perspective.
But, we also have to be passionate about recruiting to be committed to it; and when committed, will live and breathe recruiting 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. A good headhunter will know who the most talented individuals are; they can identify the hardest workers from the slackers; they know the ones who operate below the radar screen; and they also know the ones with the most potential. They do the hardest part of recruiting for you, which is developing relationships.

About that Fee
A participant asked, “what are your options if you don’t have the budget to pay headhunter fees?”
Therein lies the problem, the headhunter fee. But it is also a tremendous opportunity for headhunters to make more placements. How? They just need to do a better job of selling the economic value of using professional headhunters, or demonstrate creative ingenuity in the pricing of headhunting services, ie package deals or monthly contract recruiting. Headhunters can offer a variety of recruitment services as solutions to a unique need and budget.
The economic value is more profits, because employers who hire the best talent often win and retain more customers. Also, why not allow your competitors to do the hiring and the training? You simply rely on headhunters to recruit the best talent from your competitors after they are trained. Paying headhunter fees will be a drop in the bucket compared to the savings realized in salaries paid to average performers and from the profits generated by superior performances of the headhunted talent.
It’s about changing perception. A good recruiter/headhunter will partner with you and your company to build your teams, be a sounding board during the first 90 days and gather/disseminate feedback to all parties to ensure the best outcome. The end game should be an HR partner that is called upon to bring a different perspective about the organization and who will be the best fit overall, including culturally. Remember, the candidates will be more authentic and open with the headhunter, showing a side that may be important during future interviews. We are the middle man and the middle man sees and hears it all.

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