It never ceases to amaze me how some clients or prospective clients expect immediate results in the search for new executive level talent. Recently I spoke with a CEO that told me in a phone conversation â€œI need this senior level search completed in three weeksâ€.
The conversation did not last long. We always set expectations that are in line with reality and itâ€™s not always what hiring managers want to hear. Our process usually (90% of the time) takes 8-12 weeks from the time we sign the engagement letter to the day the new employee commences work. If we set an unrealistic expectation in an effort to make a quick fee â€“ we have to live with the results of trying to expedite the search process. The results can beâ€¦well not very good. Thatâ€™s not what we get paid to do and I want no part of sending half-baked candidates into the line of fire. Itâ€™s not fair to the candidate, the client or the firm and in general – itâ€™s just not a good plan.
Our process includes going through multiple â€œtouch pointsâ€ with each candidate to validate their skill-set, experience and real motivation for their interest in making a move. That takes time. This includes multiple conversations by phone, in depth interviews written feedback from the candidate, video interviews, psychometric testing, reference and background work and a whole lot more! Skip any of the steps in the process and you have a real train wreck in the making. I can almost predict the outcome if we attempt to meet an unrealistic timeline just to deliver A candidate that has not been fully vetted. Iâ€™ve seen the movie a time or two. Not interested. Nope. As a candidate, you should be very suspicious of any search consultant that attempts to convince you that their search assignment is a 2-3 week engagement and unless you â€œjump inâ€ you will be missing something big. What? What you may experience in dealing with an abbreviated search process is wasting a lot of your valuable time. Who needs that?
As a client what you will not be getting is a slate of highly qualified and motivated candidates that thoroughly understand the position profile, the culture of the organization and a real sense as to why they are qualified to do the job. What you may get instead are candidates that are ready to jump because of reasons unknown or worse- non-performing B-players. Without the proper vetting cycles we may not be able to uncover all of the details and validate their background, previous performance history and a whole of host of other key elements we learn about in the search process. Again, who needs that?
So I think you get the picture here. I made up my mind a long time ago that I do not want to conduct a search assignment unless we have the chance to do it right! As hard as it is (especially in this economy) I actually walk away from many search assignment if the client has unrealistic expectations. Itâ€™s a lose-lose-lose proposition. The candidate â€“ the client and our firm all lose. It makes no sense to me to deliver a service unless I can do it the right way and deliver real value.
Iâ€™m just guessing as a candidate â€“ thatâ€™s what you want as well. Right?