March 31, 2017 – Veteran search consultant Ali Smith has joined referral recruiting service Hunt Club, where she will oversee Midwest operations, regional go-to-market initiatives, account management, and the customer service / delivery function for the firm. “We’re all really excited to have Ali join the team,” said Nick Cromydas, Hunt Club CEO. “I know she’ll add immediate value to our environment, constantly pushing the envelope. As we grow, we’ll look to Ali to help us build best practices, run the team, and create processes that generate results.”
Prior to joining Hunt Club, Ms. Smith served as a principal at TillmanCarlson, where she partnered with middle market companies and private equity investors across various industries, providing human capital solutions that included recruiting and assessment services.
She began her search career at Russell Reynolds Associates in the firm’s global banking and asset wealth management practice, where she helped structure clients’ corporate and commercial banking teams in the Midwest. Additionally, Ms. Smith worked with private equity backed, pre-IPO and Fortune 200 companies in recruiting chief audit executives, corporate CFOs, divisional CFOs, CHROs, and internal auditors.
An Influencer Network
Hunt Club is a referral recruiting service that leverages technology and a front-end automation process to help land passive candidates. The firm leverages a network of connected influencers, which include executives, entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and connectors, to refer for roles. It has completed over 200 searches across functions, industries, and experience levels in the past 12 months. Notable clients include Dollar Shave Club, Bellhops, Proctor & Gamble, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Trunk Club, among others.
Ms. Smith recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss how working in executive search prepared her for this new role and how Hunt Club works with companies to satisfy their talent needs.
Ali, tell us about Hunt Club.
Our secret sauce is focused on our influencer network and proprietary technology that accelerates the candidate sourcing process. By utilizing a differentiated crowdsourcing model, we execute the target research and sourcing phases of a search differently than any other recruiting firm. Many recruiters can attest to the difficulties of jarring passive talent into listening to outside opportunities. Our theory is, the individual who packages and presents that message – trusted, personal source versus recruiting cold calling, LinkedIn messages, etc. – yields a much better hit rate.
Explain the firm’s influencer network.
Our influencer network is comprised of a collection of executives, startup founders, and other highly-connected individuals that have agreed to share their curated networks with us. Influencers connect to our platform via LinkedIn, and Hunt Club analyzes an influencer’s network for potential candidates for a given job opening. If a possible match is found, Hunt Club reaches out to the influencer for a warm introduction. An influencer receives $100 if a candidate lands an interview and $2,000 if the candidate they have referred is successfully placed. Our technology allows us to operate more efficiently by identifying qualified candidates in half the time it takes traditional firms; our current average days to completion is 32. This allows us to dedicate more resources to our clients and serve as a true strategic advisor. Candidates get exposure to great opportunities, influencers are rewarded for their referrals, and organizations hire incredible talent. The model works. Everyone wins.
Why are referrals and passive candidates sometimes the best ones to fill roles?
There are so many studies measuring and comparing the performance, engagement, and retention rates of passive candidates versus active candidates. We realize there isn’t clear data supporting passive candidates are the best. However, data does support the notion that hiring managers are dissatisfied with the traditional recruiting process and it’s a buyers’ market. Passive candidates aren’t taking recruiters’ calls. Hunt Club is bringing both sets of candidates to the table. That’s the real power of our influencer network. Passive candidates are receptive to our outreach since it’s coming from folks they know, people actually listen, versus traditional methodology of cold calling from recruiters. We currently have around 4,000 influencers and close to 1.5 million potential referrals across industries, functions, levels, and regions.
“There are two sides to search: the art and the science. It’s a human capital business and if we lose sight of the art, the whole thing falls apart. Most people new to recruiting learn the science seamlessly, but the art is learned through experience.”
What attracted you to the firm?
After almost seven years in the traditional retained search world, I was frustrated. The entire front end of a search is so manual and archaic, there is no transparency between candidates and clients, and I was disenchanted with the transactional nature of the industry. I truly feel changing careers or jobs shouldn’t be so hard! Everyone was executing the same playbook and I knew through innovation and automation the science of recruiting could be fixed. Then I met Nick Cromydas, Hunt Club founder and CEO, in 2016 after he launched Hunt Club. I knew he was onto something huge with leveraging an influencer network and automating the front end search process. Nick had also started to build an amazing team of product developers and operators. The Hunt Club mission, culture, and service offering checked every box for me.
How does your search background help you in this new role?
There are two sides to search: the art and the science. It’s a human capital business and if we lose sight of the art, the whole thing falls apart. Most people new to recruiting learn the science seamlessly, but the art is learned through experience, which I’ve brought to the team. As general manager, I’m overseeing services, operations, and search execution.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media