Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Breaking News From The About Time Department

Over the almost nineteen years as we at ExecuNet have talked with members and asked them about their feelings about interacting with the recruiting community, with very few exceptions, the responses range from "lousy" to "what relationship"?

Over the same period of time as we have talked with recruiters about their feelings about candidates and shared the candidate's feelings with them, with few exceptions, their responses range from "Yeah, I know and I don't blame them" to "If I had the time I would try to do something about it, but I just don't" to "tell 'em to grow up, my obligation is to the client."

So, if you are one of those who can relate to the foregoing, below you will see the guts of a press release that I saw today, and once you have read it, maybe it will bring a smile to your face as well.

CHICAGO, October 2, 2006 – Chicago-based executive search firm Slayton Search Partners has recently launched a formal quality assurance program. This program will ensure that client and candidate expectations are being met during every phase of the executive search process.
“Client satisfaction surveys are not new in our industry, however, we believe that the inclusion of candidate perspectives is,” said Bob Benson, Slayton’s Chairman. “What candidates think is a critical dimension in measuring the success of a search. And most importantly, the views of the candidates are central to helping build our clients’ image as an employer of choice. Our clients engage us to represent them in the best possible manner. How we accomplish that has a major impact on the attractiveness of a company to executives in their space.” That is why Slayton is taking the lead in the search industry to determine how candidates feel about their experience – setting the industry standard for providing candidates with an outstanding experience.

Slayton wants to ensure that each candidate is given an opportunity to provide his or her views concerning the way they were treated – both by Slayton and by the client. This will ensure that the candidates are treated with professionalism, courtesy, fairness and that they receive regular updates on their status during the course of the search. All responses to the quality assurance surveys will be carefully considered and the results will become an important element in the determination of Slayton’s consultant compensation related to quality. Slayton has also committed to regularly reporting its candidate survey findings, favorable or not, back to their clients.
I also should say that for those who are readers here, and you say to yourself, I think I have seen Benson's name here before, you would be right. A month or so ago, I posted a piece called Why Do You Work? If you read it, then you, like me, would not have been surprised to see Bob's leadership reflected in what Slayton has committed itself to do.

Kudos Bob et al. I hope it starts a trend.


Anonymous said...

This news is sure to come as something of a yawn to most people who've experienced a job search. The inner cynic rises up at the news...

Not being executive-level myself (I'm an engineering Project Manager), I have often wondered if my experiences were common across the board: depending on the market (right now engineering is HOT), recruiters are either begging to hear from me, or ignoring me.

I don't see search firms embracing "great customer service" for job seekers, at least not over the long run. What's the payback?

Kent Blumberg said...

The payback is that many job seekers, once in their next roles, will become potential clients of the search firms. The firms that treat their candidates like future clients will win the race, in my view.

Dave Opton said...

Robert, I agree with Kent, although I can certainly understand why your "inner cynic" would surface.

Both my belief and experience has been that when it comes to many things in life, and certainly making a job change is one, that the name of the game is to be "remembered and referred." And people can and are remembered for both the right reasons and the wrong reasons, and given the way a lot of candidates feel about their experiences with the search world, there are a lot of people I know who are walking around with very short lists in their pockets.

reinkefj said...

Well, it would be an interesting "climate change".

Some might know that I keep a "special list" for those that don't play well with others. I always urge, "don't get mad; get even!" as a response. Maybe it's my mutli-decade experience of being "in", "out", uncermoniously tossed on my ear once, and treated "interestingly" over many "transitions", but I'll bet on the continuation of bad manners.

I think it is MOST amusing when a hunter, who slighted me two decades ago, has the chutzpa to yell when I won't "work with him". He was literally speechless when I described our last interaction for him. (I'm not only as hefty as an elephant, but I have a "trunk" of text files that are totally indexed by Google Desktop.) Perhaps, if more people refuse to be treated badly, we can collectively like a guild enforce a better standard of conduct.

As we come into the "gray-if-not working-it's-retitrement/vacation" (i.e., retirees who work for "fun", not money) of the workforce, I think getting and keeping talent will be harder and more competitive. I think that there may even a cyclical rotation back to the old days of manners out of necessity. Further, as talent becomes more valuable, the value equation may shift. Envision a hunter who knows that seeker, with a highly desired skill, who might be "disloged", would then "broker" that knowledge to "thirsty" organizations. It might for by money, pride, or opportunity. No one will care why; it'll just be about getting the talent on the team. Then you'll see the climate change.

There is another possible reaction to being treated badly, and that is when seekers stop seeking the "corporate job", and become one man consulting shops. Then, the hunters will starve. And, the corporations will be paying a lot more for skilled help. It really rebalances the playing field between those that do (need) and those that manage (get big bucks). Having been introduced to McKay's 66 in my "self-improvement" phase, I'm ready to "sell" how this process will match supply and demand. It will take completely new paradigms, infrastructure, hardware, and software.

If that happens there will be lots of surplus hunters, corporate HR types, and "executives". A ton of much happier and better compensated workers productively employed with a lot less downtime and inefficient "interviewing".

While I'd rather see more surplus lawyers and politicians, it will be interesting times.

Ferdinand John Reinke
Kendall Park, NJ 08824
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