Recruiters: The Challenges of Executive Head Hunters
(and how the Internet is solving them)
By David Leonhardt
Once upon a time, head hunters were no more than common cannibals. Some people still view them that way, but executive recruiters are a vital link in a chain that keeps major enterprises functioning well.
The top positions at any organization dictate the fortunes of the company, the shareholders and the employees ... and often the communities in which they are located. A good executive head hunter can ensure that new company executives have the skills required for the position and the challenges ahead. He can also ensure that the right executive is chosen, one whose style will flourish in the specific environment of that company.
However, modern executive recruiters face challenges to be effective. I caught up with Esther Barzel, co-owner of the Online Recruiter Directory ( http://www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com ).
Q: What are the main challenges of executive head hunters in today's business climate?
A: To start with, the geographic net has become much wider. A head hunter in , say, New York City or Toronto, can no longer rely on finding the right candidate right in town. In fact, the ideal candidate might be just minutes away by Internet, but he might be located in another country or even on another continent. We are looking at a new breed of executive recruiter.
Q: The Internet should make his job easier, right?
A: Yes...and no. He has to post requirements in more places and sift through more potential candidates to find the jewel he seeks. So his workload has actually increased.
Q: Plus, I presume, he still faces the challenges of yesteryear?
A: That's right. He still has to make contact with potential candidates, conduct preliminary interviews, set up meetings with the company, attend to minute details, brief the interviewer, etc.
Q: What about follow-up?
A: Yes, there is, of course, follow-up required after every interview, both with the client and with the prospect. It's a busy job.
Q: So how does the Internet make life easier for an executive recruiter?
A: Now you have online communities and bulletin boards, such as Monster.com, where you can place ads for positions. This makes it somewhat easier to cast one's net. Directories like ours help head hunters attract clients, so they can spend more recruiting and less time on business development.
Q: Don't online bulletin boards and directories just mean the head hunter has to spend more time in more places?
A: Yes and no. Online resources are more easily searched than, say, paper. Our recruiter directory gives employers the chance to search by geography or by vocation, or by the type of position. This means they can find a recruiter that specializes in pharmaceutical sales, or who specializes in accounting, or whatever field. The head hunter spends less time answering questions from people who will never be their clients.
Q: And I assume it works both ways?
A: Yes, the recruiter gets resumes from only those people who are likely candidates for the types of positions he works on. The pharmaceutical recruiter, for example will not get a resume from someone whose background is in aeronautical engineering.
Q: Wow, that's a mouthful. I don't know if I could even repeat that.
A: Many executive recruiters could not repeat it, either. So the Internet is making it easier for them to receive resumes targeted to their field of expertise, saving them time...not to mention overexertion of their tongues.
On that humorous note, we thank Esther for taking the time to explain how the Internet is making life both more complex and easier for executive recruiters and head hunters.