In any search assignment, you have to deliver candidates who can absolutely get the job done. No need to candy-coat that expectation – right? Here’s the problem. In order to truly understand the search assignment, expectations of the job, culture and a number of other critical pieces of information – the search professional needs to have access to the hiring manager. In addition, he or she needs to be able to have an ongoing dialog with that person during the course of the search assignment. It’s critical! Seems fair enough to me;-)
There are some people that for some reason treat external (and who knows – maybe internal) recruiters in a very unprofessional manner. I get the whole food chain discussion and know where I fit in that chain by certain people. The common goal we should all share is to get the best possible candidate in the least amount of time. What is the purpose in not having access to the decision maker? In some cases the search firm (or consultant) is hired by the CEO, the top HR executive or another executive who feels that firm has the specific industry expertise to accomplish the task of finding and placing the talent they need. Then a hand-off is done to a wannabe. Oh boy. This is always painful.
Why can’t we (all parties involved) just work together?
Why should we have to deal with those who appear to do whatever it takes to completely derail a search assignment? I think it has more to do with some people (non-executives) finally being asked by an executive of the company to (do something important) be a liaison with the outside search firm. Liaison, I can deal with, as long as the person doesn’t take that responsibility and abuse their role causing the entire search process to slow down. This can cause candidates to sit in waiting and a whole host of other things that can go wrong while a qualified candidate is waiting to interview with the hiring manager. The wannabe (who thinks they are a search professional) feels the need to vet each candidate (many times with NO skills to do so). This delays scheduling interviews, continually blocks the search consultant from the decision maker and literally redesigns the search strategy just to feel “important”. Give me a break! I’m sorry. That simply does not and will not work for most search professionals. With no access to the real decision maker – you are doomed to fail. I also think the wannabe (with apparent low self-esteem) believes they are the critical link to ensure a successful outcome to a search. Are you kidding me? In most cases, they actually wind up waisting everyone’s time and truly do their company a real disservice. Did I mention they also give me a real headache? (Didn’t think so)
So…I made a business decision a long time ago that I will not take a search assignment unless I have access to the person ultimately making the decision. This is NOT a power thing with me. It’s NOT an issue I have in working with my HR partners either. Not at all. I work regularly and have worked with some of the finest HR professionals who have added a ton of value to our search process.
I’m just not working with any wannabe’s. Please…I can’t take it! By now – I can usually spot a wannabe a mile away. And… I always run – and fast! So, move out of my way, wannabe, and let’s get on with the search!
OK – I’ve made my point:-)
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….