Who is an Executive Recruiter’s Client?
Under most circumstances, your client is the ultimate hiring authority, best defined as the person the new hire will report to. For example, if the position you seek to fill is a VP position that will report to the president, the president is your client. If it’s a CEO position, your client is the chairman of the board.
Before you embark on the search, you’ll want to hammer out a few issues with your client:
- Turnaround: If you send search-related materials to the client — résumés, memos, and so on — how quickly will he turn them around? If you can, push for same-day turnaround. Anything more than 24 hours won’t fly. A great candidate is hard to find — and you don’t want someone else to snap her up while you’re waiting for your client to weigh in on her.
- Scheduling: If you land a hot prospect, you’ll need the client to interview that person. Find out ahead of time the best days and times to schedule interviews with the client.
- Speed: Of particular interest here is how many interviews the client typically conducts before he’s comfortable making a decision. You’ll want to know upfront in case you need him to speed things up.
- Process: What is the client’s go-to interviewing process? For example, does he interview first and then introduce the potential hire to his team, board, or peers? Or is it the other way around?
- Technology: Find out whether your client is willing to use technological solutions, like Skype, to move the hiring process along. If you’re hunting, say, a senior sales executive — a road warrior who is always on the move — this can be a real timesaver. Ditto if you intend to recruit out of state. When you don’t have to worry about the logistics of interviewing in person, this type of technology enables you to broaden your search.
- Confidentiality: Is the opening public knowledge? Or does it need to be held in strict confidence?
Also, ask the client what attracted him to the company. His answer will help you
- Assess how effectively he’ll be able to sell any leading candidates on the role.
- Consider whether you want to emphasize that aspect of the firm in the job description and position profile (assuming, of course, that the thing that attracted the client is still a “thing”).
Speaking of things, here’s one more thing — and pay attention, because this thing is super important: Ask your client what the consequences would be if the position were to go unfilled. It seems like such an innocuous question, but it isn’t. Asking this question enables you to gauge the client’s sense of urgency. Perhaps more important, it reminds your client of the ramifications of failure — specifically, of his failure to do what’s needed to help you hire the right person. The bottom line? Asking this question is a great way to ensure the client’s cooperation and commitment to providing swift feedback and following through on any promises he makes.