How to get hiring right: Top lessons from our client and candidate satisfaction surveys
The New Year is a traditional time for many companies to start looking for new senior team members. If you too are recruiting, you may be considering engaging an Executive Search Consultant to help. If you are a successful executive, you may be getting a call from one soon.
But what does an Executive Search Consultant actually do? Unfortunately, there’s still a widespread misunderstanding that their role begins and ends with generating a strong list of candidates. As a result, both companies and candidates can miss out on valuable help during the selection process.
One could think that the consultant’ role is simply to identify candidates and get them in front of the client but you’d be wrong. In many cases the demand for talent far out passes availability, notably in oncology but also market access, health-economics & outcomes research to name a few. Candidates have become much more “savvy” and companies need to be aware that they must optimise the value proposition.
In 2014, Euromedica started surveying clients and candidates to find out where they felt we added most value. One of the most striking findings was that almost every candidate who was hired felt that their perception of the company changed during the process – and that our consultants played a role in this change.
A good ExecutiveSearch Consultant should be their client’s ambassador, selling the opportunity as best – but also as honestly – as possible. At the same time, they should advise candidates, and manage their expectations.
Above all, they should ensure the process is well-managed, transparent and respectful of the candidates. Everyone wins when candidates have an excellent experience.
Your Executive Search Consultant should deliver:
1. A clear brief. A hastily compiled job description is not enough if companies are to attract the right candidates, and those candidates are to make an informed decision about whether to apply. A good search firm will develop a comprehensive, attractive and realistic document.
2. Candidates should be well-screened. Again, this works for both parties. Companies want to see only the most promising candidates. Candidates do not want their time wasted. Long-listed candidates should expect a professional, respectful and to-the-point phone conversation with the Executive Search Consultant and later meet them if there is interest. This, too, is a two-way process: a chance for both parties to understand each other better.
3. Both sides should be prepared for interview. When candidates are short-listed, the Executive Search Consultant should ensure that they are aware of any relevant issues. At the same time, a good consultant should brief their client about candidates, coaching them on which areas to probe, and how to achieve a good fit.
4. Candidates should receive good, timely feedback. Candidates are entitled to honest, constructive feedback after meeting the Executive Search Consultant and the company. This is often one of the most difficult things for busy hiring executives to provide, and one of the most frustrating issues for candidates. The Executive Search Consultant can ensure that feedback does not become a source of contention.
5. The importance of stringent process management and continued follow up. This cannot be underestimated. The consultant plays a crucial role in keeping the candidates engaged throughout the process
6. The consultant can close the deal. When the right candidate is chosen, the consultant can act as an ‘honest broker’ during contract negotiations. A trusted third party is often the difference between a hire and no hire.
Euromedica launched its Client and Candidate Satisfaction Surveys as an ongoing quality management tool to ensure that we are delivering on all of these counts, and so that we can continually refine our service (as Jan Leschly, former CEO of SmithKline Beecham said, “If you’re not measuring, you’re only practicing”).
In order to allow for objective feedback the Surveys are being conducted by an independent party. We are proud to report that Euromedica scored an average of at least 4 out of 5 on quality of documents we prepared, quality of candidates, adherence to timelines, preparation of candidates, our feedback and support in contract negotiation.
Clients were overwhelmingly satisfied with the outcome of their hiring process (average score: 4.7 / 5) and every client would consider working with us again. Candidates expressed a high level of satisfaction with the support they received from their Euromedica consultant throughout the whole process. In addition candidates indicated that their perception of the client changed positively during the process. This was largely due to the open and transparent way the company and position had been presented.
Years of experience have shown us that no company sets out to give candidates a poor experience, but it still happens all too frequently. If you want the top talent to commit to you, the experience you offer them during the hiring process must match the promise of your products and branding. The Executive Search Consultant’s mission is to make that happen.
Frank Lippens is senior partner at Euromedica, a retained Executive Search Consultancy focussing exclusively at the Life Sciences sector and allied industries.