Executive Recruiters Deliver Value in a Tight Job Market

Executive shaking hands with new recruit

Executive Recruiters Deliver Value in a Tight Job Market

The job market in America has never been more competitive or exciting. Following a business slump that seemed like it would never end, companies in a wide range of sectors are actively seeking top talent.

Technology and Life Sciences are two areas seeing the biggest surge in demand. Competition for young talent—some just out of school—is high. Some companies, out of sheer desperation, are willing to take a second look at candidates they would not have considered just a few years ago, underscoring the need to partner with staffing agencies who specialize in these niches.

Available jobs today almost outnumber the unemployed – a metric the likes of which has not been seen since the millennium and a drastic swing away from the 2009 post-recession statistic of almost seven people per job vacancy. The ensuing issue, once a candidate has been placed, is how to keep them interested and productive enough that they stay the course.

In a market where companies are scrambling to compete, to innovate, and to establish themselves as a force in their market, working with a professional recruiter just makes sense. With an ability to see beyond a company’s immediate needs, the likelihood of placing a candidate that can go the distance is far greater, delivering value that goes above and beyond.

Today’s tight job market favors the candidate

As the requirement to meet financial as productivity targets continues to be a concern, placing the right person in the right position is more important than ever. Job growth is predicted to slow because companies are having a difficult time hiring the talent they need.

According to PNC Financials’ chief economist, Gus Faucher, this will likely result in businesses being forces to raise salaries in an effort to convince key personnel to stay put. Employees, on the other hand, are leveraging their power and finding that switching jobs is working in their favor.

Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows that individuals who switched jobs saw an average of 3.9 percent increase in salaries, showing that there is an incentive to keep options open. While this represents a small cross-section of industry in the financial sector, companies in any industry should take note: if employees are restless, they are likely to pursue other opportunities.

Now, more than ever, hiring for fit should be paramount. When placed in the right position, all parties benefit. Employees are happy, challenged, and fulfilled, attrition is much reduced, and business can scale, innovate, and thrive, knowing that their teams are well-placed within the company culture.

How an executive recruiter improves your chances of landing the right talent

While nothing in life is guaranteed, some business decisions will help you buck the odds on the side of success when it comes to recruiting. Executive talent and leadership is not always self-evident. In most cases, it doesn’t simply leap out when an opportunity presents itself.

More often, it is a matter of knowing where to look, and that is where having a staffing professional on your side is going to make a difference. Even if you think you have identified the ideal candidate, building a successful campaign takes a certain amount of finesse and insight, not only into your long-range goals, but as to what they really want – and often, it has little to do with money.

For top talent, you see, money is not the be-all-end-all. Of course, it’s a factor, but finding a good fit for their skills and their passions is just as important. If an employee, whether they are an executive or a researcher, feels at home where they are, they are not likely to leave.

Appealing to their sense of purpose is key, and this requires a nuanced approach. Inevitably, if your candidate is this strong, there will be other recruiters and other companies who will be attempting to turn their heads elsewhere.

In conclusion, landing the right talent is crucial to your success. Studies show that high-performers are at least eight times—400 percent—more productive than their average counterpart. This is a significant argument in favor of hiring well.

If you would like to learn more about how Pact and Partners can help you with your leadership staffing needs, reach out today.

 

How Social Engagement Can Help Your Recruiting Process

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How Social Engagement Can Help Your Recruiting Process

The current talent shortage is making for a very creative recruiting environment in the life sciences arena. As vacancies far outnumber the candidates, the landscape is competitive. Candidates hold all the cards, it would seem, and if you are looking to onboard at the executive level you need to discover ways in which you can stand out from other organizations.

40% of Quality Hires Now Come from Social Media Interactions

As part of your toolkit, social media can be an effective tool to help you engage potential candidates as well as clients.

LinkedIn, in particular, has become a gauge of sorts, as it’s often the first point of contact between you and a prospective company. In fact, in LinkedIn Talent Solutions’ Global Recruiting Trends Report for 2017, 40% of quality hires are coming from social media, a metric that is somewhat evenly balanced between referrals and third-party websites. As of 2016, a full 84% of companies were actively recruiting through social media.

That being the case, your company’s LinkedIn profile—as well as those of your recruiters—needs to be notable, noticeable, and different enough that it will garner the attention of the people and companies you want to work with.

Social Engagement as Strategy

It’s not enough to simply have a profile. Your profile needs to be well thought-out and complete, but the buck doesn’t stop there. A static profile with little activity will appear to be standing still. A profile that is actively engaging its followers will draw attention, proving the old adage that the squeaky wheel (still) gets the grease.

Social engagement hinges on being able to provoke thought and start discussions. It provides you with an opportunity to lead with authority, providing proof of your influence and strengthening your position within your niche.

To that end, here are a few tips on how to boost your social engagement on LinkedIn:

Invest Time and Effort into Your Profiles

Your brand, as an entity, consists of a lot of moving parts in the form of recruiting consultants. Each consultant is a brand unto him or herself. While your company’s profile needs to reflect the mission and values of your organization, it should provide the authority upon which your consultants can base their own personal brands. Both company and consultant profiles need to be engaging and active, providing useful, actionable information that represents value to potential clients and candidates alike.

Ensure that all of your profiles are complete and up-to-date. If your candidates have trouble tooting their own horn, outsource their bios to a professional copywriter. Company and consultant profiles should always be in the first person, as social media is a personal platform and you want to be as human and as reachable as possible.

Engagement is a Two-Way Street

By the very definition of the word, engagement requires the input of more than one party. It’s not enough to re-post and cross-post (though that should be a part of your strategy and will help you to connect with others in your niche), you should be creating fresh, original content that represents your unique point of view. If you can post articles and insights that pique the interest of people in your wider circle, your word will travel further, and your circle will grow.

Join a group or two within your niche or think about starting a group of your own. Stepping outside of your inner circle will broaden your reach and will help you connect with voices of authority. Studies show that the most successful recruiting agencies are the ones that are actively interacting and engaging with their audiences.

Another tool you can use to your advantage is the “active” status that LinkedIn provides. It shows you when a user is online and displays when you are signed in and available as well. The more personable and reachable you are, the easier it will be to connect with you.

Post Only Mindful, Relevant Content

LinkedIn isn’t for skateboarding dog videos or pictures of your backyard barbeques. Though these certainly have a place in the social media realm, it’s not about business. The content you post should have some merit and insight into your thought processes, your methodologies, and ultimately, your values – both as an individual and as an organization. If you can manage it, create the content yourself. Blogging is a great way to let your audience know just where you stand on current topics of discussion. Individual insights should reflect the culture and ideals of the organization as well, providing some transparency into your processes and the challenges that you face.

Letting people in your industry know that you are experiencing the same pain points as they are, you may be able to position yourself as a solutions provider who always has their finger on the pulse of what makes the staffing industry tick.

Recruitment is a People-First Initiative

Is it possible to affect transformation through social media engagement? Absolutely. Devise a content and social media strategy that includes a completed LinkedIn profile, active engagement, and insightful content and you’ll be ahead of the curve in no time. As recruitment is a people-first industry, you need to make time to prove you are a real human being. Speak up, voice your opinions, share insights, and do it regularly.

If you have any questions or comments, call to speak to one of our recruiters today.

Recruiters vs. AI – Who Will Win?

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Recruiters vs. AI – Who Will Win?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot button in the recruiting industry in recent years. But how does this affect the future of recruiting? Granted, it’s a major disruptor. Most recruiters would probably agree that it provides invaluable support in shortlisting and qualifying candidates. But can it ever really replace what we do?

In assessing the usefulness of AI vs. its inherent flaws, we came up with a few reasons why AI will not be likely to replace human recruiters, now or in the foreseeable future. Here are our thoughts on this controversial topic as it affects the recruiting industry:

No Matter How Smart It Is, A Machine Will Never Be Able to Build A Relationship with A Candidate

Recruiters are effective at building relationships over time: relationships with candidates, with clients, with the industry at large. A machine cannot express excitement and it cannot “want” a candidate to get the position they are up for. It does not have an opinion, nor can it form one, so will never be able to express an opinion about a particular candidate to a client. It takes time to build a personal relationship and AI just hasn’t the capacity to do so, at least not enough to be able to make a difference in the process. Gone would be the gut feelings, the instinct, the knowing that the client/candidate relationship would be a good fit. Conversely, think of the times a candidate looked great on paper, but you knew they would not be a good cultural fit? AI cannot gauge culture, personality, or ethics unless it is represented by a metric of some sort.

AI Can’t Sell

AI does what it does based on algorithms, picking up on things like relevant skills, experience, and education leveraged from a candidate’s CV. It takes a human, however, to be able to sell an opportunity or to sell a candidate to a client. AI is not persuasive; it is black or white, yes or no. Many recruiters cite the experience of having a candidate say “no” to a potential job but ended up taking a chance because they trusted the recruiter, only to find that their initial impressions were misplaced. Bottom line: AI doesn’t think outside the box. AI doesn’t see potential. AI does not and will not sell.

AI Is Not Influential to The Process

A machine can only go on what it is programmed to do, which is to identify candidates based on a set of criteria. What it cannot and will not do is to work closely with a client to better understand their expectations and business needs. This process alone may broaden the scope of the search and help to narrow down the right candidate. AI is simply there to tick boxes and to not color outside the lines.

AI Doesn’t Love Its Job

Even though AI functions well within the parameters of what it was designed to do, what makes a recruiter successful is the passion they have for the process and for the job they do. It is the genuine caring that recruiters have for their jobs that makes them successful and AI can never replace that.

The Recruitment Industry Is About People

While AI does what it does based on data alone, recruitment is dependent on the human touch. As a result, human recruiters can never be replaced entirely. AI can match up a client’s specific needs with individuals who meet certain conditions, but it will never be able to map out a candidate’s career trajectory based purely on data. Because of this, a recruiter will always have a hand in the process.

What do you think about the role AI might play in your future?

Has AI been helpful in identifying appropriate candidates?

Have you given any thought as to how technology will affect your future?

Are you concerned about being made redundant by AI?

For more insights on how AI and machine learning technology might be good or bad for your career, bookmark this page and follow us on social media.

How to Assess Soft Skills in the C-Suite

CEO and executives talking during a meeting

How to Assess Soft Skills in the C-Suite

In life sciences, the value of soft skills goes far beyond simply being able to get your point across. Knowing how to assess soft skills in the recruitment phase is essential to a successful process.

In the c-suite, the ability to listen, empathize, and communicate with individuals from any department is key to any leader’s success as it encourages the kind of loyalty, respect, and transparency that are the hallmarks of any high-functioning team.

But, even if your candidate is speaking the words, how do you really know that they can walk the walk? Knowing how to assess soft skills during the recruitment phase is crucial, but you can’t absolutely rely on their CV for confirmation. First, you will need to do a bit of discovery. Then, you will have to put some of their claims to the test to find out where they really stand.

Four executive soft skills and how to assess them

Some soft skills are easy to ascertain, and some are more elusive. Let’s look at a few of the top soft skills we seek in today’s life sciences leaders and how we assess them:

Soft skill #1: Communication

Communication is a multi-faceted skill as it involves give-and-take on two different levels: verbal and written. A candidate’s cover letter should be a good initial indication of how well they communicate on paper. If it is error-free, clearly written, and there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, this is at least a good initial assessment.

Verbal communication can be assessed through direct conversations as you find out more about who they are and how they see themselves. Well-spoken statements that make their point concisely are positive, especially if your questions are framed to elicit an out-of-the-box response.

Do they listen to your question first, or do they interrupt before you’ve finished? Did they take the time to understand the question completely? And finally, did they actually answer the question you asked?

The ability to present ideas to large groups of people is often very much a part of an executive position. For these candidates, you might ask them to give you an ad hoc presentation on a topic of their choosing during one of your meetings. This will tell you several things: how they respond to the unexpected, how well they can communicate their thoughts, and how quickly they can adapt their demeanor to meet the challenge.

Soft skill #2: Collaboration

Collaboration and teamwork are essential in life sciences. No matter what department your candidate is being considered for, teamwork is the foundation of success from the c-suite to the OR.

Ask the candidate to describe a collaborative situation and its results. Ask them to talk through a scenario in which better collaboration would have improved the result. Were they able to turn things around? And if so, how did they accomplish it? Ask for specifics, and find out how they personally felt about the situation and what could have been done differently to achieve an improved outcome.

Soft skill #3: Integrity

Integrity, honesty, transparency — these are all highly desirable leadership traits, and especially important when dealing with investors, shareholders, or the public. In recent years, we have seen many cases of executives losing their way, giving in to a sense of entitlement or engaging in unethical practices that serve few but themselves.

To lead from a place of integrity requires ongoing self-evaluation and, often, the courage to seek counsel from outside of their own organization to be sure they fully grasp all the implications. This is especially important in times of economic challenge when information that comes from the CFO might only be a part of the puzzle.

Integrity is difficult to assess simply by asking questions. It may be more valuable to have a clear picture of the candidate’s background and to ask them about specific scenarios to understand how well they perform under pressure. What they do and what they say when their back is against the wall says a great deal about their character. As a leader’s ability to influence others is what will ultimately take them to the top, those who they lead must have absolute confidence in them. Integrity is essential in order to realize this goal.

Soft skill #4: the capacity to learn

Many highly skilled individuals, executives and clinicians alike, may allow their status, power, influence, or money to dictate their behavior. Once they have arrived in the c-suite, many don’t feel like there is anything left to learn.

Many incredibly smart people invest too much time and effort into simply being smart. Many would prefer to spend their time proving their validity to others instead of challenging themselves to grow and evolve. When a person sees themselves this way, they may believe that there is nothing left to learn despite what they say to the contrary. After all, it would seem pretty arrogant to come across this way, and most of them are at least smart enough to know this.

In assessing the capacity to learn, look beyond the words and make particular note of the activities the candidate is actively involved in for the purpose of furthering his or her learning goals.

While these are just a few of the soft skills that your candidates should be evaluated for, the key takeaway is that actions always speak louder than words. An executive recruiter can play a significant role in helping to assess these qualities in tomorrow’s leaders. Call or request a quote today.