From the Desk of Jen Schneider – How to Collaborate with a Professional Search Firm for an Effective Hire

By Jennifer Schneider – Senior Search Consultant, Sales, Marketing & Administrative

Finding and retaining Top Tier talent for your team can be a challenge for any company. It might be time to consider partnering with a professional search firm if adding to your team is affecting your business operations.

The conversation that surrounds partnering with a recruiting firm is often paired with, “how can we maximize time spent with recruiters for an effective hire?” As a Senior Search Consultant at Chesapeake Search Partners (CSP), I support our clients who are looking for Sales, Marketing, and Administrative talent. Prior to conducting a search with a client, it is important for us to take time to prepare the hiring team by identifying your pain points throughout the hiring process. The result – an effective hire and a retainable one at that.

Being Open to Partnering with a Search Firm

The first step is recognizing that the search is a challenge. Being open about your goals and why you’re reaching out to a firm will effectively kick off your new partnership. Make a list of what has happened during your search thus far, if you’re seeing any quality candidates, and any roadblocks that have come up.

Kick-offs are Key

When looking for the right search partner, pay attention to the kick-off process. Your search consultant should be spending ample time with you to get as much information as possible. This goes well beyond reviewing the job description and includes discussing elements like your company’s culture, organizational structure, current employee roles, and more. Setting both teams up for success is key.

Sense of Urgency

Given the current state of the recruiting market, a sense of urgency is essential on all sides of the equation. Responsiveness to each other’s emails and phone inquiries will lead to an effective hiring process for all.

Sharing Feedback

Share your notes on any resumes received and interviews conducted. What experience/qualifications do you value? Are the candidates’ salary requirements within a comfortable range for you? As a search firm, are we meeting your expectations (if not, why not)? Detailed feedback is critical to the continued success of an effective search process.

Regroup and Reset 

A couple of weeks into the search process, if there is little to no headway, schedule a reset. Discuss what needs to be done or shifted to successfully execute the search. This can involve changing the search criteria, the process, changing the compensation, and more.

Personally, I find these resets are a way to get creative. Oftentimes my client and I come out of these meetings feeling recharged and armed with new ideas to execute the search successfully.

Maintain the Relationship

It’s important to keep in touch with your search partner well after you find a great candidate. We want to hear if the hire was a good fit and how your business is doing.

Our team at CSP is successful when we are an extension of your company. We get to know you and invest in getting to know candidates in our respective verticals. We make meaningful connections for you that lead to quality hires and ultimately, the growth of your business.

A collaborative relationship will lead to the most effective, and efficient hires. If you’re interested in learning more or want to start a search for your company, contact me at jschneider@chesapeakesearchpartners.com.

From the Desk of Matt Levin – What to Look for in a Professional Search Firm?

By Matt Levin – Assistant Practice Director, Engineering & Operations Practice

Following his recent promotion to Assistant Practice Director within our Sales, Marketing, Engineering, and Operations practice, we asked Matt Levin to sit down and get granular about what clients should be looking for in a search firm. Coming from a subject matter expert like himself, he provided us with a considerable amount of insightful information. Congratulations Matt!

As a company looking to expand your talent pool and build your team, what should you look for in a professional search firm?

Our team at CSP takes pride in our relationships with clients and candidates alike. We often share the same values and we uphold the belief in doing things the right way. It is our goal to find candidates and clients who are aligned by qualifications and corporate culture. We are an extension of our clients and candidates, therefore, we must represent both in the best possible way. 

CSP is a professional search firm with a unique trait – we provide recruiting capabilities in four primary verticals and partner with our clients to fully understand their hiring and staffing needs.  For example, I focus on Engineering and Operations – supporting mainly manufacturing, distribution, logistics and engineering firms.

Simply put, a company should be seeking a consultative, and relationship-driven search firm that genuinely believes in a collaborative partnership. Leveraging more than a decade of experience in professional recruiting, here are four key areas I recommend companies in any industry look for when selecting a professional search firm. 

A Consultative Approach

A professional recruiter must be able to build a relationship with several decision-makers within a client’s organization – from the hiring managers to leadership to staff. This way, they truly understand the business, the culture, the organization chart, the role, and the expectation for future hires. Additionally, they will invest the time to partner with the client to discuss the search – pitfalls, market perception, market conditions and status of the search.  

Throughout the process, a professional recruiter should act as a consultant to the client with regard to all aspects of the search in an effort to find the best candidate for their position. It is worth mentioning that, at CSP our team is referred to as “Search Consultants.”  We believe that this is a better reflection of how we approach the business.

The ideal situation is when a client works exclusively with one search firm. In an exclusive arrangement, the client only works with one firm to identify talent.  This provides value to the search firm because they have established a business partnership and from the client’s perspective, it makes it easier to manage the search, especially when the client isn’t managing calls, emails, and resumes from multiple firms. 

Knowledge of the market

Each industry and market has its own characteristics, which is why it’s important for a recruiter to have expertise in that space. Recently, we worked with a client to source talent for a role that required specific experience. In this region, that type of experience in that industry is not as prevalent as it is in other areas.  After doing our due diligence, we collaborated with our client to discuss the current market. We agreed that we needed to modify our search efforts and seek talent outside of the region.

Transparency 

A professional recruitment partner must consistently provide feedback on what the market is offering and how the search is going. Time cannot be wasted on hoping to find a candidate in a pool that does not exist. Additionally, transparency about the company and position is essential – both the benefits and the challenges that come with it. This level of candor will help narrow down the right candidate who will then ultimately be positioned for success. 

A partner, not a vendor

Seek out a partner, not a vendor relationship. If your recruiter spends 15 minutes on a kick-off call and sets out to work, that is not a great sign of a true partnership. Having a partner is about being able to listen and learn about what a company needs and wants, investing the time, and then determining how to help guide and steer the search with a collaborative approach. 

 

Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our approach and how we can be a resource and partner to your firm.

A Simple Recipe to Building Trust

By Jason Nemoy

In 2012…  I. Flat. Out. LIED. (Yes, “lied” in caps, and bold.)

It was a moment, a life lesson, I will certainly never forget. I told my (twin) brother I took care of something very important to him, for which I didn’t.

The knot in my stomach, the heartburn, and the headache ruined me for 2 two days. A phone call cleared all of this up in seconds, but it took several years to restore a strong foundation of trust with my brother.

Building trust requires time, patience, effort, and commitment. It’s a continuous workout. For me, it’s a daily workout, often reflecting and collaborating with my work peers, family and friends. Bottom-line, building trust is an ongoing journey, and we all know how quickly we can lose trust and get off track.

Let’s keep it simple. I look at three essential ingredients to building trust, personally and professionally.

1.     Sincerity – Any hint of insincerity or being disingenuous can kill trust…fast! Coming across as “salesy”, showing a lack of empathy, or not paying full attention to your audience could and can be quite detrimental (the “kiss of death”).

Consider ending a conversation with “What can I do for you? How can I assist and support you?” (And then make sure you do it.)

2.     Competency – Know your stuff, and if you don’t have the answer to something, ask for help. It’s ok to not have all the answers to your issue or problem. Just commit to being solution-oriented and finding the answers. People are confident in you, and leaning on you as a subject matter expert.

Consider communicating “I don’t have the answer but will find out and circle back with you asap.”

3.     Reliability – Be present and show up both mentally and physically. Be prepared for whatever it is you’re walking into. Do your homework. If individuals are counting on you, then a “do-what-it-takes attitude will serve you well.

Consider offering the opportunity to be contacted at any time… after-hours, weekends, etc. Most people may not take you up on the offer, but those that do will confirm your willingness to be there for them.

I learned a good lesson 10 years ago that has really stuck.

Yes, be truthful.

And… find ways to show how you can be trusted.

Keep the process of building trust simple by focusing on simple ingredients (maybe even the 3 listed), and work on building trust every day.

4 Common Hiring Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Hiring volumes are back to pre-pandemic levels, leaving a high level of competition for great candidates across a variety of industries. Believe it or not, one of the deciding factors in landing a great hire is your hiring process. What may appear to be small missteps can result in companies losing out on top talent to the competition.

Take a look at the following common mistakes and our tips to help avoid them and land that next hire.

Dragging your feet

Taking too long to engage in or continue the interview process can result in candidates moving forward with other opportunities. Always assume they are fielding multiple opportunities at once.

Keep the dialogue going. Schedule interviews promptly–don’t wait a week or two in between steps if you are interested in the candidate.

Outlining the interview process in advance is helpful. This allows candidates to know what to expect and how much time will be needed to round out the process.

Lowballing the offer

Offering a candidate below what they need to see in compensation shows that you don’t value their experience. It’s like asking them to walk away.  If compensation is going to be a key factor in the offer, have an open dialogue about it in advance and see if other benefits can be added that are attractive to the candidate.

One-way Evaluation

Today’s market is candidate-driven. Candidates are evaluating you and your company just as much as you are evaluating them. Prolonged interview processes and slow communication will reflect poorly on your organization.

Murky Expectations

Set clear expectations about what the interview schedule will look like for candidates. Outline a simple interview process and stay consistent (whether the steps are a phone, video, or in-person interview). If it is in person let candidates know what your COVID protocol is so they are prepared.

Also, be ready to speak to expectations around the role being remote, hybrid, and/or in-office as well as part-time or full-time.

By following these steps, you will immediately strengthen your hiring process and ultimately support your team in landing the ideal candidate. If you’re looking for assistance as you upgrade your process, CSP can support every step of the way–from outlining the interview process to sending qualified candidates, managing both candidate and client responses, interview scheduling, maintaining relationships with candidates as they navigate other opportunities and offers, all the way to the delivery of offers, negotiation processes, and onboarding.

Contact us today for help with your hiring needs – info@chesapeakesearchpartners.com

This Maryland Day CSP Makes History with Bagels

Today is Maryland Day, an official observance to honor Maryland history. To celebrate, the Founding Partners of the CSP team enjoyed a Maryland-themed bagel brunch thanks to a special delivery from our neighborhood bagel shop, THB Bagelry & Deli.

While it seems so simple–bagels and coffee in our office–it’s really the first time we have done this in several months. So in a way, we made history this Maryland day with our first “mini” in-office team breakfast.

While enjoying New York-style bagels, we got to discussing the great “return to the office” debate many companies are facing right now. Our team connects with experienced job candidates and successful small to mid-size companies every day, so it was interesting to talk about the perspectives candidates and companies have been sharing with our team members.

Here are just a few of the insights and predictions that came up during our brunch–from the future of in-office requirements, to reopening timelines. The one factor that resonated throughout was the need for flexibility.

The current landscape: remote work vs in-office  

We are seeing a pretty even split between in-office versus remote work requirements today, with many workplaces having adopted a hybrid model as well.

In regard to company expectations of remote work moving forward, we’re seeing some take a firm stance, requiring on-site work full-time and limited flexibility, which has ultimately limited their candidate pool. Clients who are requiring 100% on-site work but allow greater flexibility versus having a blanket policy for the whole organization are seeing more interest from a broader candidate pool for open positions.

From the candidate perspective, the majority want the opportunity to find an operating rhythm that works best for them and have the support of the organization they work for to do so. Even if they are not satisfied with their current role, many are staying put as a result of uncertainty about what a new company may require them to do when things open up. Even if a new role allows them to begin remote, they are not sure about future shifts to in-office requirements.

Reopening timeline

We are seeing the timeline of reopening offices be based predominantly on size and perception. Small to mid-size privately held organizations appear to be on a faster timeline, with some of those organizations having already reopened for normal business hours. It appears that the majority of these organizations will have put some type of reopening procedures in place by the beginning of Q3 at the latest. For larger and most likely public companies, they seem to have a much longer reopening plan in place, extending till beginning of Q4 if not January of 2022. While the health and wellbeing of employees remains priority, companies are using this time to evaluate their office space for the foreseeable future. Do they need less space or more space? Do you have a traditional office layout or more open space?

Flexibility is key

Some candidates are adamant about remaining remote and will not consider an opportunity if it requires in-office work. Meanwhile, we hear others miss the collaboration and interaction and are eager to get back into the office.

More often than not though, most candidates want some level of flexibility to work from home a few days a week or adjust their schedule to meet personal obligations such as virtual learning for their kids or care for an elderly family member, or simply they have found themselves to be more productive when they are working from home with less office distractions. If a candidate has flexibility in their current role and a new opportunity doesn’t offer it, they’re more likely to opt to stay in their current role to maintain that flexibility.

Companies that prioritize flexibility will see the greatest opportunity in terms of candidates who want to work there, and employees who want to stay. As we saw in the market in the past decade with healthcare benefits and costs being evaluated by candidates considering a move, we are now seeing remote work flexibility being another aspect of evaluation for a potential career move.

 We’ll continue to keep up the dialogue around workplace expectations and employee values when it comes to how and where they work.  And for those wondering, our own office is in a flexible state right now, which is why you don’t see all of our team members enjoying bagels today. When it’s all said and done, CSP will continue to offer a hybrid work schedule with some in-office team meetings expected.