Mr. Happily Employed: Woo him or lose him.
17th August 2015
One of the more challenging aspects of executive recruitment is managing the mindsets of employers. It’s a not a new phenomenon. In my thirty-three year career as a Recruitment Consultant the issue of altering the mindset of some clients – has never gone away.
It’s worth saying that this something that applies to only a proportion of employers – but that is also noted by recruiters across the industry as a consistent challenge. So what am I am banging on about?
Introducing Mr. Happily Employed
In a nutshell, if you’re recruiting for a mid to senior level position, chances are that the best person for the job will already be in a job. And they may well be – being an ideal candidate – happy, hardworking, loyal and not looking for a career move. Now, these kinds of people may come under the radar of many recruiters who take the usual methods of hunting down job-seekers on their database, job boards and LinkedIn. But – and this isn’t a sales pitch – I’ve always found that digging a little deeper and going after the “happily employed” senior execs, pays enormous dividends.
Success- against the odds
So where’s the problem? I hear you ask. Well, imagine this scenario: You’ve managed to do three things – against the odds:
- Locate and contact a highly suitable person who is already employed with another company – possibly a competitor.
- Despite their loyalty and reservations you have managed to tempt them to meet with your client – a seemingly utopian company who you have had to speak extremely highly of to even keep their attention.
- You impress upon them that your client is eager to meet with them and they cautiously agree to it.
What can go wrong?
What happens next is critical. The onus to prove oneself does not rest solely on the candidate. The employer must take an equal role in demonstrating their commitment and professionalism. And when they don’t – and believe me, some don’t – Mr Happily Employed, will retreat to the comfort and security of his existing position and put it all down to over-zealous salesmanship on the part of the recruitment consultant. Gone. Lost forever. Just because of a few little things.
After all, Mr Happily Employed wasn’t looking for a job was he? So – hyper sensitive though he may have been – when the director he was due to meet postponed for a week, then arrived 15 minutes late, was unprepared and had a scant knowledge of the reason for the meeting, Mr Happily Employed was less than impressed.
It needs to be a two way street. The coming together must be a two way interview, with both parties looking to explore a mutual opportunity. Given the sheer effort that goes into the recruitment process and the long term impact that it has on employer and employee, missing an opportunity is not an option. Failing to impress a potential candidate who you are apparently eager to meet with is not only a cardinal sin, it is a wasted commercial opportunity.
Getting it right
Here are some tips that we give to client who may be new to this type of challenge, perhaps because they are expanding quickly.
Be on time
- Know your person – prepare for the meeting
- Structure the meeting – think about including an introduction to another colleague, or talking about the growth plans and culture of the company.
- Leave the meeting with a clear way forward: Second meeting? When?
- Remember at this stage it’s a two way street – it’s a meeting not an interview.
- Be clear on the outcome and objectives for a role in the business, paint an accurate picture of the now, the future and the part the candidate plays.