Search consultants must produce goods

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first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Search consultants must produce goodsOn 18 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. As organisations struggle to secure the services of the best candidates fromthe marketplace, there is a need for search consultants to produce key playerswho match the pre-agreed specification, with the right attitude and requiredlevels of proactivity. Search assignment failure generates a strain on fragile corporate andpersonal relationships. Many key players are reluctant to move from one organisation to another intimes of market turbulence, even though many companies are experiencing growth.However, at such times, the introduction of new blood will assist with growthand add substantial shareholder value. It is at times like these that executive search consultants can greatlyassist strategic growth, but they need to have a close working relationshipwith the corporate client, and an intimate understanding of the needs of theorganisation and the human chemistry involved. Client and executive searchconsultant need to work hand-in-hand. Yet, as the end of 2003 approaches, thereseems to be a disconnection between them, even though more emphasis is placedupon supply chain management, preferred supplier routes and seamless serviceprovision within FTSE organisations. I suppose if supply chain management techniques involving regular appraisaland review are implemented, there is a greater chance of a successful outcome.But this cannot be a foregone conclusion, even where a 360-degree approach isused. In many cases, lip service is paid to the well-worn statement:”Successful search is a matter of strong personal relationships, achievingor exceeding pre-agreed targets, producing the right candidates, and managingthe process pre- and post- commencement”. Yet, failure to produce suitablecandidates still occurs, and consultants and agencies can often producemediocrity or a shortlist that bears little resemblance to the originalcriteria. To be successful, there needs to be close attention to detail and a specificbrief that fully covers the tangible and non-tangible aspects of the role andthe organisation. A robust process needs to be applied and re-iterated atregular intervals, and finally, total commitment must be given to full andregular communication between the client, the consultant and the candidates. So why do failures occur with such a well-scripted brief? Incomes for manysearch firms have been and are still reducing, although the first shoots of newgrowth are appearing. Major search companies are ‘down manning’. Boutiques arespringing up and, more dangerously, agencies are re-inventing themselves assearch consultants. Maybe it is because both clients and search companies need to go back tobasics and ask: who do I want to work with? Why do I want to work with them?What can we mutually achieve from the relationship that will add value to bothparties? By Stephen Hall, Group HR director, Costain Grouplast_img read more