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Talent Acquisition Management

The future of executive recruitment

Ratna Wright Ratna Wright

Executive recruitment used to be a much simpler industry in terms of entry as well as sustainable performance. Before networks like LinkedIn and dedicated job-searching websites, businesses had little choice but to connect with executive candidates via a third party.

Recruiters didn’t even necessarily need to have special skills or qualifications, either. A company could advertise its services, and even collect flat rates regardless of whether they produced any viable candidates for their clients.

But as every industry matures, free-riders are filtered out as standards improve. Businesses nowadays have tools of their own to connect with potential new hires, and the onus is on recruiters to justify the value of their contributions.

For recruiters to thrive in the new economy, they must successfully adapt to this data-driven world of high connectivity and advanced metrics. They must, in short, offer things that most companies cannot replicate on their own.

Some of these value-added services follow a traditional formula. Sites like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor provide superficial information about employees and companies, but they lack the ability to match candidates based on values and corporate culture, and offer no responsive personal guidance through the hiring process. For employers choosing to use platform-based resources such as these, it is still necessary to devote considerable time and resources explaining their company’s approach to each new recruit.

Employee assessment, training, coaching, and retention efforts are other areas where recruitment companies can continue to offer specialised services. The ability to find ‘hidden’ talent is another key feature of effective recruiters, as they drill into the mountain of passive candidates and within other sectors of industry to find the right human resources for their clients.

But recruiters today also have much more to offer than they did in the past, as technological advances have expanded their own capabilities as well as those of their clients. Data-driven research into the talent focus of their clients’ competition becomes possible, along with predictive models which outline how such talent structures can be used for advantage within the industry.

Most of all, recruiters need to press upon their clients the reality that their work involves much more than just posting classified ads. Personality assessments through psychometric tools can determine whether a particular person is the right fit for an organisation, and how they are likely to perform in their future roles. Focused leadership training can help polish candidates in preparation for the company they are about to enter (or have already entered).

Through this collection of advanced supplementary services, recruiters are likely to find more success by shifting their fee structure from commissions to retainer or subscription fees. This business model can be well served through the creation of an original, custom-designed platform for continued interaction with clients regarding the many facets of their existing and future talent pools.

Constant coordination, measurement of progress, talent development and mentoring – these are the hallmarks of a recruiter poised for success in the modern era.

Until LinkedIn can figure out a way to deliver all that, of course.