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.
The big challenges in the recruiting is that great talent is in short supply and most talent acquisition strategies are broken. Executive hiring managers are interested in ONLY one thing – whether internal or external the ability to not only Identify, but to recruit exceptional talent. When you evaluate an executive search firm, look for two things. One do you have the capacity to perform research to identify target competitors and passive candidates, and two, do they have experience in cold calling, a deep network, and reputation of getting referrals?
Most Companies Fail to Properly Evaluate an Executive Search Firm
Most common is to go with the big name search firm. The issue there is you pay a full fee regardless of outcome, other than the principals teh recruiting force is a revolving door, and a bad track record in retention. Secondly, if you are a startup to mid-cap you really need the expertise of a team that specializes in your industry; known as niche recruiting. Most big name search firms work across all industries without specialization. while that diversity may work for a CFO or Board role, it falters with lack of a deep network within your industry.
What you should look for is a retained search firm that not only has the industry expertise but has a sound evidence-based recruitment process management system utilizing Ai predictive validity. It all begins with a discovery step where the search strategy is built upon defining the objectives of the role and learning what the role with do with the required skills, not just the having of them.
Next is using scientifically based psychometrics to determine team dynamics and thus the search form can then develop a target candidate profile and custom search strategy. A great recruiter will define prior desired accomplishments in a similar environment and make sure candidates are screened who have similar. Rather than accepting verbatim the experience and skills required, a good recruiter will drill down to ascertain in what environment and product / service those skills are used in , again further screening candidates to validate they actually can meet the objectives of the role.
The Job of Hiring Managers to Evaluate an Executive Search Firm
For almost 30 years, we often run into Hiring Managers that say just send them resumes and they will determine which candidates to interview. Which of course begs the question, why would you be paying a search fee? You can simply hire an RPO to troll job boards or have HR post job openings to dozens of web sites. Great hiring managers know three things:
- They don’t have the time to go through an in-basket full of unqualified resumes
- They know that the one-size-fits-all resume is perhaps the poorest document ever created. It is generalistic, vague, and rarely indicates if the candidate has used required skills WITHIN a similar environment, as well as accomplishments tend to be exaggerated and without verifiable substance.
- Great hiring managers know that professional successful executive search consultants are good at what they do and do not pretend to be a Hiring Manager who may be a CXO or VP of engineering or sales or whatever. So why do so many Hiring Managers assume they are great recruiters? Trust me, in all my years, it is less than 1% who are good at both roles AND those who can do both are very successful startup entrepreneurs in early stage building their executive team.
Finally ALWAYS evaluate an executive search firm by three factors
- Candidate placement retention rate is far and above client retention rate. That is because some companies will prefer the cheapest or who best serves HR rather than the client on the whole. For instance, NextGen has an average 93% in 4.5 years are still working for that client whereas we have lost new searches with the same client to other firms with an average 2 years or less of placement retention.
- The average replacement guarantee for contingency is 30 to 90 days, which of course should alarm you as the confidence in the quality of candidates presented for you to hire just can;t be that good. Basically any average “C player” can be presented and hired and a company not realize in under 90 days wow that hire is just a body filling a space. The average retained is 90 days to 6 months while a very few will go one year. At NextGen we offer a full 24 to 46 months replacement guarantee.
- Executive levels with MBOs – most retained search firm you will pay the entire fee without regards to an actual hire or success within 60 to 120 days. For many they believe you are paying them for their reputation and experience, NOT for their success.
For more information on how to effectively evaluate an executive search firm, download the PDF to compare what NextGen Global Executive Search does to others.
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.
Increasing new hire productivity requires making sure the new employee can hit the ground and produce. Behavioral assessment (sometimes referred to as “Psychometric Testing”) has become increasingly recognized as a valuable source of information when making hiring decision.
There is a wealth of data to demonstrate that using behavioral assessment in conjunction with sound, responsible recruitment methods reduces employee turnover, and it’s quickly becoming standard practice for many employers and recruiters. But by and large behavioral assessments are not used properly.In addition, is it really worth the additional time and expense? In the current economic climate is behavioral assessment REALLY an essential for your next recruitment campaign?
The answer is: YES with a CAVEAT. towards Increasing New Hire Productivity
Here are three points why increasing new hire productivity works when behavioral assessments are used properly. What is a general consensus among most companies is this usually involves a questionnaire that asks the candidate about their opinions, preferences and priorities.
Based on the results, and by comparing the answers against years and years of historical data and expert analysis, the individual’s attitudes and behaviors can be extrapolated.
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.
If you’re skeptical, ask one of your employees – preferably one you’ve known for many years – to take an assessment. You’ll likely be surprised at just how inaccurate the results are.
1. Defining the Role Fit and Team Fit = Increasing New Hire Productivity
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 survey of the stakeholders of the role (direct report, internal customers, the top employees already in that team the new hire will work within) can then be put into a Composite survey that will produce a detailed description of the ideal characteristics you’re looking for, many of which can be inserted straight into your job description. There is virtually no scientific proof that performing a behavioral assessment of candidates alone will result in a “good hire”
To be successful in evaluating candidates and making the right hire so that increasing new hire productivity is the goal, once you know they fit the role in terms of tangible skills, education, and experience, but t,he fact that 46% of all new hires fail within the first 18 months, according to Leadership IQ, it is vitally important to measure the intangibles in the role fit and to assess the candidate’s impact on team dynamics. And here is where so many Hiring Managers make a HUGE mistake. The one-size-fits-all “corporate culture” is used to assess candidates across the board. But the truth is that ALL teams are unique and EACH has their OWN CULTURE which may align in some ways with the corporate culture statement. An accurate behavioral assessment of a potential candidate is when it is measured against the team composite profile. In particular, you need to measure
- Values and Motivations and how the potential candidate’s views and needs impact team dynamics
- Relational Communications Traits – how the candidate is able to listen as well as sell his/her ideas to the team
- Conflict Resolution Skills – many of post Baby Boomers were not taught this skills, so training is essential if hiring
- Decision Making Traits – can he/she make a valued fast decision or do they delay and waiver inconsistently?
2. Conducting Fewer Interviews
A resume or LinkedIn profile can somewhat tell you whether a person has the ideal qualifications and job history but usually it’s impossible to tell if a person has the right attitude and accomplishments until you interview them. Behavioral assessment done the right way, on the other hand, can provide you with that information in a fair and objective fashion. So if, for example, you have 7 candidates that look great on paper, a team fit and role fit scientifically based assessment can help you reduce that shortlist to a more manageable number, and leave you with a much faster interview process.
3. Customized Mentoring / Coaching = Increased New Hire Productivity
Quick assimilation – faster or rather increasing new hire productivity and longer retention. It’s the goal for EVERY Hiring Manager. An often overlooked feature of team fit and role fit profiles and behavioral assessments is its ability to tell you the training and management styles to use to get increased new hire productivity. Getting your new recruit up to speed quickly and making them feel comfortable in the role is not only a time saver but it also reduces the expenses incurred through downtime.
We’ve already mentioned the fact that behavioral assessment 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 on-boarding and assimilation for the eventual replacement.
And it’s almost impossible to put a price on the potential for lost business and the reduced employee morale that occurs while the position remains vacant. Although prices vary quite a bit, the average cost of behavioral assessment is 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 three elements together and you have a potential saving of time and money that represents tens of thousands of dollars. Especially in consideration of reducing employee turnover. So, the question is not whether you can afford to use behavioral assessment. The real question is… Can you afford NOT to use behavioral assessment?
NextGen Global Executive Search – Increasing New Hire Productivity
Get an inside look at how NextGen uses this behavioral assessment with award winning Leadership Vault Recruiting process. NextGen Executive search provides retained and engagement recruitment services for clients who build and service aerospace power systems, UAVs, drones, and stealth tech; artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality; cyber security and cyber defense; industrial automation, robotics, industrial power system, renewable energy, and fossil generation; medical devices and electronic health records; mobile networks, digital media, embedded wireless, IoT, and cellular infrastructure. Compare our search process and fees compared to other search firms by clicking the image below or contact us today.
Screening candidates for team fit is more fruitful and accurate than corporate culture match. Work is a lot like life in general in that screening candidates cultural fit is what many strive for. While it is a lofty goal, it is also a bit of star Trek wishful thinking that all will be well in the universe and a perfect hire will happen.
In life, we tend to mingle with people who are quite like ourselves. As an individual, a person would usually be drawn to another who expresses similarities, in language, music, and style are among the things. In a few words: we are attracted to the same culture. The same goes for the business world.
Companies have a selection process where they usually look for candidates who share the same values and methods of their organization, i.e corporate culture. Screening candidates for team fit takes more work but in the end it is about the performance of the team and the impact the individuals being considered for hire will impact team dynamics. Each team has their own culture. And teams are made up of individuals. If everyone thinks the same and has the same corporate culture and process methods philosophy, their is no innovation, no challenge to different thoughts as everyone is robotic in their thinking.
And cultural fit should not be mistaken for one’s own prejudice. A candidate should be hired based on how they would make a positive impact on the team he/she will work within and how that in the end would be beneficial for the company without clashing with other employees and while at the same time maintain demeanor. If these are met y assessing team fit instead of culture fit, then that new hire is likely to fail.
Screening Candidates for Team Fit is Essential to Team Success
While cultural fit can be discerned in the screening process, whether the candidates fit the team he/she will work within is one of the main purposes of utilizing psychometrics to asses a candidate’s impact on team dynamics. The major problem is the reliance upon one-way behavioral testing that partially measures a potential candidate’s potential behavioral patters, values, and motivations, but fails to take into account the team composite regarding relational communications style, decision maing and conflict resolution skills, and leadership/management style.
Many feel that in a panel interview they can discern within a few hours how a candidate will impact team dynamics and weigh heavily on Human Resources to provide the behavioral assessment. the interaction established in the interview exhibits the candidate’s credentials to accomplish the job and an essential fit needed to perform efficiently within the role, but cannot measure team fit.
Behavioral interviews are often used; unfortunately, the standard practice does not work well. Organizations need to measure a candidate’s behavioral profile against the composite reading of the team’s behavioral profile. This type of psychometric measurement combined with the in-person interviews can accurately tell how the candidate’s approach and conduct are compatible with the ones practiced within the team, as well as within the company.
According to Entrepreneur, Corporate culture is “a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths companies develop over time.” In itself, a company has their own identity within its workforce and it greatly varies from one organization to another. Within a company, it is common that different people are working together.
Screening Candidates for Team Fit Means a Good Hire
Screening candidates for team fit assures that teamwork is common and important in a corporate setting. Employees who value working with peers and acknowledge the input of various ideas is most likely to work well in an organization that puts emphasis working in teams. Working with others is an important part in business organizations. However, when an employee prefers to work alone, he or she might be a good cultural fit in an organization that is more inclined in working in teams.Screening candidates for cultural fit and team fit also measures the capability of an employee to embrace diversity and exhibits no qualms in working in an organization that is compatible to their own set of principles and ideals. Companies need to recognize and employ candidates who exhibit these traits. Employees who are happy in their work environment tend to perform better and stay longer.
Despite the diverse personalities within a workforce, a company needs to find balance in shaping their work culture that will assure its accomplishment. Working in organizations would mean meeting a lot of people with different backgrounds. Both cultural fit and team fit emphasizes an employees’ abilities in and characteristics that can contribute to the success of the company.
A Recruitment Process Unmatched
NextGen’s award-winning Leadership Vault search process begins with the Discovery step where the objectives of teh role, how a candidate will use their skills, team dynamics, and value proposition are determines. The target candidate profile includes researched competitor and company targets followed by documenting accomplishments, relative KPIs, depth of industry / customer relationships, and scientifically based team fit analysis. Success based recruitment fees where majority is based on acceptable deliverables and the actual hire. Backed by a custom onboarding plan and a 24 to 36 month replacement guarantee and a retention rate of 93% of our placements are working for same client at 3.5 years of service with 72% in 5 years. You should expect NOTHING LESS than hiring an “A player” when you pay a recruitment fee.