Executive hiring managers depend on the quality of their people to achieve goals and implement strategy. A better understanding of the skills and capabilities of executive recruiters can enable any hiring manager to make better hiring decisions by increasing the quality of their hiring decisions, and thereby enhance their own career!
Some executives are aware and take full advantage of the best possible means of identifying and selecting top quality candidates for critical staff openings. However, many do not. Frequently, this stems from myths regarding the merits of utilizing the services provided by topflight retained executive search firms. By a better understanding of these realities, hiring managers will dramatically improve their ability to secure the most qualified candidates in a timely manner.
In the first part of this series, we’ll explore the myths behind sourcing exceptional talent, the differences in the screening and assessments methods used by internal HR and talent acquisition groups, how that is done by experts in retained executive search, and the pros / cons of behavioral testing, and how they impact the ability to make better hiring decisions.
Make Better Hiring Decisions Start with Finding the Right Talent
Myth # 1: Companies Often Unearth the Same Talent that Executive Recruiters Do
With the rise in popularity among HR and internal talent acquisition in the use of online job boards, job aggregators, and networking platforms, many companies mistakenly believe that these sources contain the same talent that can be found through retained executive search firms.
This belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Good executive recruiters don’t post ads on job boards to find qualified applicants. Instead they focus on specific industries and even specialize by types of positions within those industries. The benefits of doing so are enormous. It allows them to invest tremendous time and energy forging relationships with high performing candidates within these niche markets, learning the types of positions in-demand people would see as advancing their careers.
Professionals who genuinely excel have neither the time nor desire to peruse online job ads or to respond to the dozens of email inquiries sent by internal recruiting staff. It is only when an executive search consultant personally approaches them that the best people take the step to becoming available to discuss an opportunity.
Retained executive search consultants invest countless hours establishing unique connections and building relationships with key performers. These connections allow access to talent pools built over many years…and which are available through no other sources.
This, along with the ability of these search consultants to carefully screen and evaluate the best candidates, is what allows them to bring the strongest talent to the table – those “A players” at any level who produce 8 to 10 times more than the next level of “B players”. Instead companies continue to rely on job boards, career sites, and networking platforms that will never find the outstanding quality of talent that retained executive recruiters can provide.
Myth #2: Internal Staff can Access and Vette Candidates as well as an Executive Search Firm
While this belief is prevalent within many companies, a thoughtful analysis will prove the opposite. Retained executive recruiters make a living by finding talent that companies cannot find on their own. While in-house resources may be effective for lower level and even some middle level roles, when it comes to functional leadership or key critical roles, retained search firms are not limited to C-levels. it makes sense for hiring managers to give themselves every opportunity to interview the very best candidates to make better hiring decisions.
Internal recruiters typically spend their time vetting applicants who apply or can be found through online portals. Think about it – in a less than 4% unemployment world we live in, the best candidates are simply not found that way. Retained search firms focus on finding superior candidates who are successful in their present situation and can show similar expertise, accomplishments, and skills relevant to the role you need to fill. This very different methodology results in a very different level of candidate.
A Solid Assessment Method Enables You to Make Better Hiring Decisions
Moreover, retained search firms look at many other factors, such as discovery and validation of candidates’ industry relationships – with internal customers, as well as suppliers and eternal customers. In addition, seasoned executive recruiters do not focus on “corporate culture”. Why is simple. Each team that a candidate will be hired within is unique.
Therefore using psychometrics to discover and measure this team members as stakeholders of the role allows the executive recruiter to measure values and motivations, real and situational communications skills as well as the traits within conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision making. This Team Profile allows executive recruiters to then conduct behavioral interviews and scientific testing of potential candidates to make sure they are only a role fit, but a team fit as well.
Finally, the ability to call proven performers with direct competitors to discuss career options is a significant factor in what sets external professional recruiters apart from internal recruiters or HR people. Having the ability to reach out to these peak performers offers hiring managers access to highly-sought-after candidates they would never see otherwise in order to make better hiring decisions
In part 2, we will discuss HR Orientation including onboarding process that do and do not work, as well as pros and cons of having human resources and/or hiring managers making employment offers.
The truth of the matter when engaging a retained search firm for multiple key staffing needs is they produce far better candidates, have much deeper relationships in the industry they are working in and have a search process that in the end delivers candidates who can meet or exceed the objectives of the role in which they are hired into.
Many company’s HR and Talent Acquisition groups think more short term than long term when it comes to staffing critical roles. The long term strategy is most often used – a combination of career site branding, job boards and job aggregators, LinkedIn talent solutions, and using multiple contingency search firms to help build a large database of potential candidates.
What is missing is that for critical roles that must be filled with quality new hires, the long-term strategy rarely works. Even though using RPOs and contingency search firms will result in the most resumes, it is pure folly to believe quality is the main driver produced by those outsourced means. Therefore, engaging a retained search firm is the best of all options when outside recruitment help is needed.
Let’s look at the recognized statistics in the global workforce. The majority of all workers – approximately 55%, are “C players”. They are literally just bodies taking up space.
They show up on time, can perform assigned tasks assigned such as software or QA engineer, customer service, inside sales, operations, manufacturing and production roles. But the reality is that they don’t develop intellectual property or design anything new;
They are not problem solvers, entrepreneurial or creative and contribute virtually nothing to increasing market share or improving P&L ratios. In addition, many “C players” are just not good employees. Often a lack of upwardly mobile skills, education, and more equates to lack of motivation outside of a repetitive paycheck.
Next are the “B players” who make up to 35% of the workforce, have real education and skills, contribute to developing IP, producing revenues, or some other vital contribution. However, the cream of the crop is approximately 14% of the workforce known as “A players”. From janitor to CEO every type of role has their “A players”. What is so great about hiring them? Leadership IQ and SHRM have developed studies and surveys that demonstrate that “A” players” produce 8 to 10 TIMES MORE than even “B players”.
Reasons for Engaging a Retained Search Firm
With over 30 years of experience in the executive search business, we have rarely seen contingency search firms or RPOs deliver “A players” and have no consistency in delivering “B players” for clients to consider. How do we know this?
- In a less than a 5% unemployment rate environment, most exceptional professionals are happy where they are now in terms of their role, their employer, and compensation. If they were to become passive candidates and look to make a change due to desiring new challenges or relocation, they would simply network and reach out to hiring managers in their industry directly. They rarely look at job postings and have no need to post their resume to a job board. They will not fill out an online application on any company career web site. They are bombarded with emails, InMail’s, and calls every day from corporate recruiters and contingency search firms who generally speaking fail to understand these professionals will likely only speak or reply to an actual executive hiring manager or a retained executive search consultant with a solid reputation among industry Board of Directors and CXOs.
- Contingency and RPO firms rely heavily on job postings and job aggregators. But many of those applicants are the unemployable, unemployed, or “C players”.
- In large contingency search firms the recruiters are graded on the number of send outs (resumes that need to be sent daily to meet a quota). And RPOs have a LOT of clients. Ask yourself, as a client, how much of a priority are you to a recruiter working on 12 to 25 searches at a time? What type of quality and search process would you expect?
I’m not knocking contingency recruiters. I used to be one before I changed to retained almost 20 years ago. Why did I make that move? One, I realized to really have clients as a priority and deliver a superior service, I personally could only work on 3 to 4 searches at a time. To do more than that means both the client and my reputation suffer. Two, with using a search process that was very sound I knew the methodology would unearth those “A players” so I could assess and deliver proof that the shortlisted candidates I presented could meet or exceed the expectations and objectives of the role and client required of the new hire.
As for cost and benefit analysis, the benefits of using retained search is overwhelming while the costs are not much different than contingency search fees.
- When looking to engaging a retained search firm, you are assured that the vetting and development process are superior as you usually receive only 3-4 shortlisted candidates for each role.
- Retained Search provides detailed interview and assessments including current / prior KPIs, depth of industry relationships, and similar accomplishments relevant to the new role.
- Team fit analysis and Target Candidate Profile – by conducting brief online surveys of the stakeholders for each role (team the role will work within and key internal customers), a team profile allows the recruiter to use behavioral analysis and assessment to determine how the potential candidate will fit in and affect team dynamics. One-way behavioral testing of candidates never works as it fails to have anything to measure against.
- Much longer retention of new hires from retained search firms. For instance, 94% of our placements are still working for that client after 4.5 years.
- Superior Replacement guarantee – most contingency firms incorporate a 30 to 90 days refund or replacement. Retained search firms are often 6 to 12 months. We believe in our process so much that we offer 24 to 36 months replacement guarantee depending on the assignment.
- Success based search fees – this is relatively new for retained search firms but a practice we have used for the last 5 years. With most large retained search firms, you pay 100% of the fee regardless if the outcome was successful. Other search firms like NextGen Global Executive Search are performance based. After the initial deposit, the remainder of the fees are paid based on deliverables, including the hire.
- Flat based fees – this is also a relatively new concept. This arose out of the obvious conflict of interest associated with compensation-based search fees. If the recruiter negotiated a higher compensation that was agreed to by both client and candidate, the search fee increased. While some retained search firms use the same fee for every search on a flat fee basis, at NextGen we realized we are being paid for our work. Therefore the basis of the flat fee is appropriate to each role depending on factors such as limitations on relocation, the actual candidate pool size, the number of hours expected in research, search strategy, recruiting, and delivery.
For instance we have clients in the Bay area, NYC and Boston who funny as it sounds believe few exist outside their geography that are worthy of consideration as they often think of themselves as the center of the technology universe. Additionally, for some roles the candidate pool overall is small such as AI architects and power electronics design engineers.
Engaging a Retained Search Firm for filling multiple roles
As retained search firms are like good lawyers and executive management consultants, we ask for a deposit,. This means the client is a priority as they have “skin in the game”, knowing the search firm has a track record in longer retention and producing exceptional new hires. So, the overall flat search fees mean that engaging a retained search firm is clearly the best choice.
Why do Hiring Managers want behavioral assessments? The end goal is to make the RIGHT HIRE to achieve quick ASSIMILATION, faster PRODUCTIVITY, and longer RETENTION. Behavioral assessment (sometimes referred to as “Psychometric Testing”) has become increasingly recognized as a valuable source of information when making hiring decisions.
There is a wealth of data to demonstrate that using behavioral assessments in conjunction with sound, responsible recruitment methods reduces employee turnover, and it’s quickly becoming standard practice for many employers and recruiters.
When used strictly one-sided whereas applicants/candidates are tested, the results are vague and often mis-interpreted. In addition, when compared to a one-size fits-all “corporate culture” , the results don’t help in determining if said candidate is really a good fit for the team he/she will work within AND what effects they will have on team dynamics . The one-sided test isn’t worth the additional time and expense
When in the current economic climate is behavioral assessments REALLY an essential part of assessing potential candidates? When testing a candidate, what are you measuring the results against?
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with behavioral assessment, although the process varies from company to company, it usually involves a questionnaire that asks the candidate about their opinions, preferences and priorities. Behavioral reports can include information such as preferred working environment, how they respond to tight deadlines, preferred management style, approach to selling, and much more.
Define the Role using Team Behavioral Assessments
Figuring out exactly the kind of candidate you’re looking for and creating a job description to match can be a time‐consuming headache. But a simple job survey of the direct stakeholders to the role you are recruiting for, lasting around 12-14 minutes, will produce detailed analysis on how those stakeholders view the role and a composite team analysis on these FOUR POINTS:
Save TIME by Conducting Fewer Interviews
A resume or LinkedIn profile tells you whether a person has some of the qualifications and job history but usually it’s impossible to tell if a person has the right attitude, accomplishments until you interview them. Behavioral assessments, on the other hand, can provide you with that information in a fair and objective fashion.
So if, for example, you have 3 to 4 candidates that look great on paper, TWO-WAY behavioral assessments can help you reduce that shortlist to a more manageable number, and leave you with a much more efficient interview process.
An often-overlooked feature of behavioral assessment is its ability to tell you the training and management styles to use to get the best results from your new employee. Getting your recruit up to speed quickly and making them feel comfortable in the role with fast productivity is not only a time saver but it also reduces the expenses incurred through downtime.
Two-Way Behavioral Assessments Reduces Employee Turnover
We’ve already mentioned the fact that behavioral assessments reduces employee turnover, but have you ever stopped to consider just how expensive and time consuming it can be to replace a bad hire?
Aside from the fact that you have to spend time and money, repeating the recruitment process all over again, you also have to repeat the expense of onboarding and assimilation for the eventual replacement.
Although prices vary quite a bit, the average cost of behavioral assessments are s often far less than employers imagine. And any one of the above four points would more than justify the additional, modest investment. But put these four elements together and you have a potential saving of time and money that represents thousands of dollars. Especially in consideration of reducing employee turnover.
When we think of cyber threats to endpoints, typically what comes to mind is the need to protect our PC’s and laptops. Many more businesses are adding comprehensive security solutions and user policies administered to include mobile threat exploits.
But it’s unquestionable now that mobile phones are just as likely (if not more likely) to be targeted by cyber criminals. There are a few reasons for that. The first reason that mobiles are now a legitimate target is the sheer number of them. It’s estimated that there will be over 6 billion smartphones in use by the year 2020. That’s around 70% of the world’s population using a smartphone in 3 years’ time.
Modern smartphones are now small computers. The processing power, functionality, and the way we’ve integrated them into our lives make them a treasure trove of valuable information and easy food for hackers wishing to use mobile threat exploits. And IoT Botnets further increases the vulnerability of cloud based data and mobile devices.Many people today use their mobile phones to access online banking and as a physical payment method in store. Cybercriminals tend to follow the money and so are putting resources into targeting mobiles. Last year, security vendor ESET discovered a form of malware that presented a false version of online banking login screens to steal credentials.
Exposing Vulnerabilities of Mobile Threat Exploits
Like any operating system, there is a continual process of discovering vulnerabilities and attempting to patch them before hackers can take advantage.
This can be complicated on the Android OS. Android is open source, allowing stakeholders to modify and redistribute it to fit their needs.
This means that when mobile threat exploits and vulnerabilities are fixed at the source, it doesn’t always translate to the problem being resolved for the user.
The most famous example of this is the Stagefright vulnerability. This was mobile threat exploits in the code library associated with media playback. If a hacker sent malicious code within a video via MMS, the attack could be successful without any interaction from the user. This vulnerability was said to affect 95% of Android users making patching a nightmare. Although there had been previous serious vulnerabilities in Android, such as FakeID, TowelRoot, and PingPong, this was the first exploit of this scale that could be successful without any user input.
No OS is Safe
Typically, we see most of mobile attacks targeted at Android devices. But iOS is not completely bulletproof. XcodeGhost was a copycat version of Apple’s development environment, used for creating apps. Developers that used the rogue version of Xcode to create their apps unwittingly delivered their product to the App Store with the malware in tow.
Mobile Threat Exploits Protection Starts with Education
So clearly, we need a robust plan in place to protect mobile devices from mobile threat exploits. But how do we go about this? The first thing to consider is user education. When using a laptop, most people know not to open attachments from unknown sources. But mobile users are not always as careful. Educate them to apply this same level of caution to mobiles; only downloading apps from trusted sources and giving the application, the minimum permissions required to perform its task.
Management is Not Security
Your company likely already has an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution in place. This is useful for managing a fleet of mobiles and preventing opportunistic crimes by enforcing passcodes, for example. But EMM is not sufficient to protect against more advanced threats, and most suites don’t have the functionality to detect, analyze and respond to cyber attacks. For this reason, it’s important to supplement your EMM with a Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) product.MTD has far greater mobile threat exploits threat-detection capabilities and can help to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, detect non-compliant or malicious apps, and spot jailbroken devices. It’s important to have this level of security on your mobile devices due to the amount of corporate data that can typically be accessed via mobile now.
User-Based Access Controls
A cloud-based Identity as a Service (IDaaS) solution can also help to increase security. The benefits of this to a business are two-fold: For the user, all their corporate systems can be accessed via a single sign-on (SSO). This eliminates the need to remember multiple login credentials.It’s likely to be a multifactor sign-on process which is more secure than a static password. IDaaS also allows users to be automatically granted certain access rights or privileges based on their role. Employees get the right tools to complete their job function and no more. This means that in the event of a mobile threat exploits, the compromise, the amount of accessible information can be limited.
As mentioned, patching mobile devices is not always straightforward, particularly in Android ecosystems. Updates can be blocked by Google, the handset manufacturer, or the mobile operator. However, this situation has improved since Stagefright. Even given these difficulties, it’s important that you have a process for keeping your operating systems up to date. This should be easy to configure in your EMM solution.Ultimately, we don’t need the statistics to tell us that mobiles are here to stay in the business world; we see evidence of this every day. Mobiles are now integral to huge chunks of our working lives. And because of this, the threat from hackers will continue to grow.
What steps are you taking to ensure that mobiles aren’t an easy attack vector into your business? And do you feel that your users are as educated on mobile threat exploits as they are about conventional PC-based malware?
Cyber-attacks are amplifying across the globe. Personal cyber security is important as not only have they becoming more frequent, but they are also impacting a wider band of digital terrain. A single worm, like WannaCry is capable of infecting countless systems in numerous ways, from email accounts to personal data to service disruptions and other critical disturbances. The impact and frequency has led to billions of dollars’ worth of damage, to include lost productivity. Damage to an organization’s reputation is not even calculable.
Budgets are growing tight due to the continued cost of cyber security protections and investigations. While this regularly effects large organizations, small to mid-size businesses are also seeing an increase in cyber-attacks. Hackers are turning toward smaller targets because they are less likely to have secure infrastructure and even less likely to know they are under attack. A worm or virus can sit in a computer system for months and without an in-house IT team, small businesses are especially vulnerable.
Personal Cyber Security Thwarts Hackers
A target that is even smaller than a small business is you. Personal cyber security is becoming more relevant as hackers seek out any vulnerability. But if small businesses can’t even afford an IT team, and if large organizations are finding their budgets shrinking due to cyber security costs, then how can an individual protect themselves?Personal Cyber SecurityCompanies like Rubica are offering personal cyber security options that protect individuals, and the businesses they own or work for, from cyber-attacks by providing easy-to-use and affordable cyber security options.
I rarely recommend any company’s products or services, but Rubica has options and features that warrant a serious look by executives and Board members alike.
Far too often individuals do not adhere to security protocols because the protocols are too complicated or time-consuming. People take short-cuts to avoid tedious passwords or log-in requirements.
Doing so on your personal device is risky, but when your personal device is also synced to business applications results can be catastrophic. By providing employees with personal cyber security features, Rubica protects individuals and businesses.
Some of Rubica’s defining features include its mobile ready app that can be downloaded on desktops, tablets and smart phones. There is no need to install hardware or receive staff training on its use. The app is backed by Rubica’s signature concierge service. The cyber ops team is on call at any time. But users rarely need to contact Rubica since the security app and service does its work without the user even knowing.
Personal Cyber Security Solution by Rubica
Rubica’s cyber ops team provides personal cyber security to any user who has downloaded the application. Once downloaded, the cyber ops team is able to monitor your data, identify threats and alert you when necessary. By paying attention to personal behavior patterns, the team is able to deduce when an imposter has entered a network.
If the idea of data and behavioral monitoring is not a price you are willing to pay in exchange for personal cyber security, then don’t worry. Rubica can be turned on and off. Users are able to access the app and view activity graphs, review investigated events and ask Rubica staff questions about their data or any ongoing threats. Rubica’s personalization means that your personal cyber security choices just got more personal.
Require the rolodex and expertise of an executive search team?
NextGen has a solid track record in identifying and recruiting “A players” – the top 14% of the workforce that produces 8 to 10 times more than even “B platers” – AND these “A players” exist at every level from lead software developer to cyber analyst to Director of business development to VP of Cyber Counterintelligence and much more. We recruit for red, blue, and purple teams for cyber defense contractors and DoD as well as private sector cyber security needs.