It is truly amazing how many tools, databases, associations and other on-line resources we all have to find and locate great talent. I can NOT imagine what it must have been like 25-30 years ago in the executive search business. Manually tracking resumes, interview notes – not to mention keeping track of sourcing candidates AND ONLY using pen and paper! YIKES!!! My heart rate goes up just thinking about it. In our firm, we do track call metrics and interviews and various other key data elements to ensure that our researchers and recruiters are being as productive as they possibly can.
However, I have witnessed, on multiple occasions, how lots of recruiters (including ME) think that just by having all of the great tools at their disposal (“pointing and clicking”, sending out multiple e-mail blasts to announce our latest search assignment), ALL OF A SUDDEN (mysteriously) we have a great chance to double our billings (shrugs). Simply with the touch of a mouse…J
Nothing could be further from reality, as we are in the relationship business and, like it or not – you simply can’t replace an understanding and empathetic voice with a 12 POINT – TIMES NEW ROMAN BLUE FONT. Not now.. Not ever! You have to get back to basics and stay the course each and every day, by spending high quality time on the phone.
A dear friend of mine, who is a BIG BILLER running a small boutique firm, once told me that he could always tell when he was in trouble. He would spend time on business development to get new clients/searches and hire more and more people to execute his searches. He would spend more time on the road and mostly participated on the front end of most of the big searches and leave the rest to his team to close. Well – that usually had the same ending. We have all seen the movie. In the end, the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. He knew that once he took off his headset – he was headed for trouble.
The same thing can be said about trying to execute critical search assignments without a steady diet of phone time. The relationships we all build in this business are based on trust, professionalism and the way we verbally communicate with clients and candidates (plus a whole lot more!). So when you get the urge to have your laptop do the recruiting – STOP IMMEDIATELY. Strap on your headset and PICK UP THE PHONE DAMMIT!
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….