Happy New Year from The Connective Good!

I asked you last month to share your experiences with hiring retained recruiters.

Many of you responded — thank you. Here’s what you’ve been sharing:

1. You are most likely to decide to do a retained search when your network is limited and you want to tap a broader market.

Despite the fact that everyone has LinkedIn and can – in theory – access a broad market, those big niche networks that recruiters have matter.In other words, having the tools is not the same as having the time, expertise, or eye for talent. You’ll choose recruiters who put in the time, creativity, and relationship-building to reach hundreds of candidates in a particular niche area, and then narrow the pool down.

2. For the most part, you select a recruiter based on previous relationships, personal referrals, and the recruiter’s industry focus. Later, when evaluating the success of a search, what’s most important is a great process, strong communication, and your active participation.  

The learning: Process matters as much as relationships.

If you are evaluating a recruiter that you haven’t worked with before, ask that person to describe to you the process they use, how that maximizes the chance of success, and how you should participate. (Check out this piece I wrote on How To Vet A Potential Recruiting Partner For Your Needs: Turning Up Great Candidates Without Turning Them Away.)

Consider collaborating with your recruiters to produce a service-level agreement of sorts, with clear expectations for both sides.

3. You naturally want a retained search to move fast and finish yesterday. But you also want  to meet multiple viable candidates.

So speed matters. No surprises there.

4. Some of you want to see just a few killer candidates. You want to get a ‘drop’ of a slate of great candidates. Others are looking to meet a wider representation of candidates. Instead of a ‘drop’, you want more of a steady ‘drip.’ Both the drop and drip methods can be successful.

In this classic Goldilocks situation, you  want to see enough candidates so that:

  • you don’t have that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on someone
  • you feel like you have a choice
  • you feel educated on the market

But you don’t want to see so many that the process takes tons of time or plunges you into analysis paralysis.

In other words, the right number of candidates matters. But that number is different for each of you.

Thanks again for your input.  It is very valuable to me as I search for unicorn analytical talent in marketing tech, digital marketing, market research, and selling to CMOs.