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Benefits Of Professional Talent Hunting

Aug 24, 2007
Retained search is different than any other type of 'talent hunting' in the market. If done properly and professionally, it is much more effective than any other mechanism to find 'the right fit'. Today there are more and more internet sites linking people and companies, on-line ads, networking sites for CV placements, popping up like mushrooms.

It is more than enough to convince you that everyone is on the Web job hunting, and if you're not, well, you'll lose that dream job that pays USD500K plus your own private jet to use the company villa in St Bart's. Sad to say it doesn't work like that- pasting CV's all over the Internet dilutes one's marketability, lowers credibility, and instead gives a patina of childish playfulness, not strategic marketing.

Companies, and candidates both partake of such posturing, but it has a very limited and passive effect; to stand back and see who comes a'knockin' on your door. It reminds me of the cartoon ads decades ago that used to show a muscular man on the beach kicking sand at a wispy guy, telling you that if you want to be strong and confident, send in $10 and all your worries will be gone Ah, if only life (along with perfect abs and the perfect job) was that easy.

The best companies get the best talent by going out into the market and looking for it! Do you, as a hiring manager, really believe that you will find the best people to come into your organisation by taking out an ad and hoping your wishes are filled, or even by looking in a database and having an 'ah ha' moment, having found a perfect fit? Do you, as a strong candidate, think that the best companies will send you back a note on-line, telling you that you're what they're looking for, and the job is yours?

That is the attitude of 'whoever comes along'..You are faced with a search process that warps the selection process; hiring those who come along rather than those you really think would be the best fit for the company.

Now, of course, I am aware that people have gotten jobs and companies have found people over the internet. I'm not a Luddite and think it is an amazing tool to get information. But the higher up one goes, the less likely that your next career move will be from the internet-it will be from your interpersonal ability to position and market yourself skillfully.

Part of that process is to work with a credible and trustworthy search firm. Whilst that is often synonymous with retained search, the truth is that a knowledgeable search firm mitigates a happenstance hire, and pivots towards the best content and the best fit.

Companies hire people based on their ability to think, not technical aptitude. Working with a like-minded search firm that can think, and allow a targeted search strategy to evolve, is antithetical to that passive approach. That, by the way, is why retained search often seems to be the last resort for companies, when it should logically be top of the list.

A good search firm will be able to consultatively understand not only the position, but the history of the role, organizational chart and how it works, the pluses and minuses, must haves, culture, future, growth, benefits, peers, and be able to articulate it [to the right people] better than the client!

For me personally, unless I have a mental picture of whom I'm looking for, I cannot do a successful search-it cannot get more intimate than that, yet unless you are truly under the skin of the organisation, you can't explain, much less promote it, to a viable candidate.

Lesson #1-Don't wait for whoever comes your way, whether you're a client or candidate. Use the internet as much as you want, but it's a chimera to think that technology will get you in the door.
About the Author
Hunt Partners is a high end Executive Search firm providing search and human capital solutions for global and regional clients who require discreet search of top management and board level positions throughout China, Hong Kong, India and across the Asia Pacific region.
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