Best Ways to Build Relationships with Search Consultants

November 10, 2022 – In the age of social media, it is remarkably easy to turn up statements of distrust and even vitriol toward job recruiters with a simple internet search, according to recent report from ECA PartnersTony Topoleski. “Quora questions and subreddits like r/recruitinghell are filled with horror stories of abuse, endless lies of omission, and ghost stories of interviews missed or late-stage processes ended without a word,” the report said.

Meanwhile, in perhaps direct relation to this, the Great Reshuffle of employees is alive and well, leading to ever more recruitment outreach, says the ECA report. As a result, the talent wars are being waged at a feverish pace and third-party recruiters must act like Swiss diplomats moving between candidates and hiring managers with rapidly changing lists of necessary skills and candidate demands.

“To be an effective and diplomatic recruiter in such a situation, one must build an ongoing sense of trust and act as a thoughtful guide across the candidate experience, for the sake of both future employees and employers,” the ECA report said. “In response, candidates can look for recruiters that actively work to build trust and form relationships, while employers can look to work with recruiters who bring effective counsel informed by such trust.” The report points to three key factors a recruiter can bring to the table to build these more beneficial relationships:

1. Self-Assessment without the Whole Picture

As a basic requirement, a third-party recruiter must be an “expert” in the day-to-day demands and culture of a workplace they’ve likely never visited; they must be a guide in unfamiliar terrain, according to the ECA report. “Similarly, a candidate must be prepared to imagine themselves in a role about which they know little and then be ready to discuss their background as if it suited these unknowns,” the study said. “A third-party recruiter is most effective when their questions are oriented as much toward fostering accurate self-assessment and awareness as they are toward skills and experience. Look to work with recruiters who have done their homework about roles and workplaces, but who also for those who will help candidates understand if the role is right for them instead of pitching it simply to clear their desk.”

2. Creating Authentic Conversation

Some of the most insightful data about a candidate won’t be on a resume. The ECA report notes that gathering this data is a savvy recruiter’s governing task, and the culture they bring to a call helps determine their capacity to accomplish it. “One way to accomplish this is through open, authentic conversations that provide candidates with the time to be themselves,” the report said. “This happens best through sincere dialogue that isn’t completely determined by an interview template. The more easily candidates can reveal the full scope of their talents, skills, and emotional intelligence, the more aptly a recruiter can recognize and communicate their fitness for a particular role.” ECA explains that through authentic conversation, recruiters can experience the unique and compelling elements of a candidate’s background that won’t be on a resume.

3. Acting as a Thought Partner

Recruiters will often say that the most compelling candidates are often not those who have the strongest pedigree, skill-set, or prestigious position, but those who have the right combination of ingredients for a specific job. “Recognizing and communicating the appropriate combination is the best thing a third-party recruiter can do. Skills, education, and the prestige of a current firm may count much less without a narrative that combines different elements into a uniquely crafted whole,” said the ECA report. “There may be numerous candidates with the same exact background, but a strong candidate is the one who has the idiosyncratic details of their background shaped into a compelling story. To best achieve the right combination, candidates can build relationships with recruiters as thought partners who can help shape and direct their profile toward the right role.”

Tech-Enabled Recruiters

Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, ECA Partners is a tech-enabled executive search firm with more than 300 clients, the majority being private equity or investor-owned companies. It is the portfolio company of private family office Nobel Investments. Nobel Investments, which is also based in Santa Monica, invests in B2B services companies with a focus on recruiting and talent. Since its founding in 2020, Nobel has made four major investments: ECA Partners, TalentCompass, Bulletin, and SellingBee.

Mr. Topoleski is a project manager at ECA Partners, where he manages the full lifecycle of talent acquisition across multiple functions, industries, and roles from director to CEO. In addition, he helps oversee the Ph.D. internship program as a mentor and leads many content marketing initiatives focused on recruiting, career coaching, and business strategy. Mr. Topoleski manages searches across industries and functions, but he is especially adept at roles in retail and revenue management, sales strategy and leadership, M&A, and strategic finance.

Related: 7 Best Practices For Building Client Relationships

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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