Talent Acquisition – Insights from an Executive Search Consultant

By September 7, 2017 Posted in Talent Management

The talent acquisition process has undergone noticeable changes over the past several years including sourcing tools, candidate profiles companies seek, company profiles  candidates seek, what companies offer and what candidates expect.

ExcelTrek spoke with Lisa Rek, Founder and President of REKruiting Advisors, a Miami-based executive search firm with more than 20 years of combined experience in the business of talent acquisition, to gather her insights on this topic.

ExcelTrek: What motivated you to enter the executive search industry?

Lisa Rek: I entered the field during my tenure with Spencer Stuart at a time when they were building their financial services team for Latin America.  I realized then my passion for this career.  It is full of excitement because every day you are in a competitive race to attract top talent. The impact is twofold: first, you can literally change the life of an individual by placing them in their dream job, and second, you can effectively change the direction and the success of a company with a single great hire in a key job.

: What do search consultants need to do in order to remain relevant? 

Rek: First, while digital tools will never fully replace the human instinct necessary for identifying the right candidates, the ability to stay on top of technological trends impacting the recruiting industry could be a recruiter’s biggest advantage going forward. Second, it’s important to continuously diversify sourcing tools used to find talent.  Third, focus on proactively identifying and addressing a client’s long-term talent needs instead of short-term contracts.  Finally, be visible to top talent.

: What has been the impact of the millennial generation in the talent acquisition process?

Rek: Millennials have changed the workplace. They have challenged companies to think and act more creatively and flexibly about the way they attract and manage talent.   

Millennials are tech-savvy, are adept at marketing their skills and are more entrepreneurially oriented.  They want more freedom to make choices, they are purpose-driven (work has to have meaning) and they want a faster transition towards career progression. They are eager for support and guidance but not micromanagement. 

For leaders, this means creating an empowering environment. Also, career mobility needs to be rethought beyond the traditional “career path”. It also requires a greater emphasis on coaching and constant feedback as opposed to the standard annual “performance management process”. 

:  What advice would you give an employer seeking a competitive edge in attracting top talent?

Rek:  Talent acquisition has become a seller’s market. For employers, it should be all about maximizing the candidate experience through each element of the talent management cycle including better use of recruitment marketing technologies, maximizing simplicity, purposefully adding “WOW” moments to each step of the process, maintaining a competitive comp & ben platform, involving other employees in the hiring process, and promoting a “Great Employer” work environment.    

: What do top candidates expect from employers?

Rek: Today’s job seekers know their worth and are aware of the competitive landscape. They expect a fast and seamless application process, timely and honest communication, regular updates, a clear understanding of the position and how it connects with the organization. 

They want to understand what it’s like to work for the organization.  Here, it is helpful for a company to articulate its culture, core values, vision, mission, community involvement, training & development methodology and career progression opportunities.

: What shifts have you observed over the years in the way employers and search consultants work with each other?

Rek: Search consultants and companies operate today with a greater degree of partnership.  They communicate with each other more fully and transparently through each step of the recruitment process.   The employer/search consultant relationship is more integrated (linked to business outcomes), instead of more transactional (linked exclusively to filling open spots). 

:  What are the key components for an effective partnership between employers and search consultants? 

Rek: Search consultants need to understand what the client’s expectations are and how to effectively meet those expectations.  Every effort must be directed at establishing a “trusted advisor” relationship.  These relationships are built on an individual level and generally include two elements: the cognitive (how ‘good’ is the consultant? what are their credentials? what is their reputation in the market?) and the emotional (do I feel a connection and have a rapport with this person?)

: What should job seekers expect from a reputable search company? 

Rek: Candidates expect search consultants to have a good track record, solid reputation in the market and insightful knowledge about the companies and job openings they present. 

Additionally, they expect search consultants to always have their best interests in mind and that they will make every reasonable effort to help them land a choice job.  Finally, they expect a clear and transparent line of communication and technical assistance as needed (e.g., resume/cover letter preparation, interview, etc.).

Fred Machado is the founder and CEO of ExcelTrek.

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