Networking our way to the best candidates

For the past 6 years, we have successfully been recruiting senior leadership positions across a blend of functional areas. As an executive search firm our approach lies heavily on mapping the market, dissecting the inner workings of organizations’ structures to identify and approach the relevant person. But is that really enough?

Apart from the methodology, one of our key success factors is having a solid and reliable network from where to source top talent in the areas we cover. This has proven to be essential on mandates we’ve filled this year, whether it was HR, finance or supply chain roles.

Hiring at the top level is a complex process as we look to blend functional expertise, core leadership skills and the right culture fit. We “search” for candidates who understand the industry dynamics or regional landscape; those that offer the right set of competencies to actually do the job; we look for achievements from previous positions that could support their success in future roles.

So where does one find these golden candidates? Social media will give employers access to a certain pool of profiles as you can always advertise the role, and using this channel you may find a few good candidates among the hundreds of CVs that you received. But the real added values lies in having an existing network in the area you are recruiting for, which will ensure access to a broader range of profiles with those specific set of skills you are searching for, candidates who may not be interested to apply for your job as they are not actively searching.

We all agree that networking plays a key role in executive career progression, networking internally within your organization and also externally with the search community.

Networking from a search perspective – both online and offline – is key to gaining access to top talent. And from here comes the importance of knowing the market and having the ability to activate that network that will allow you to gain access to the relevant talent you are looking for. Having invested in understanding the candidate pool (active and passive) around you is key. As recruitment guru Greg Savage says “candidates are NOT an online commodity”! Firms that take the time to build their network, to invest in candidates, are the firms that will differentiate themselves on the market. Building the network takes time and only by nourishing that network will you have the right to pull out from it. The golden rule of networking is that you only pull out what you have put in.

From our point of view it’s simple, building talent networks to support executive search mandates is the future of recruitment, especially for top management positions. And let’s be frank isn’t this actually why a client would partner with an executive search firm – to gain access to profiles they cannot easily reach themselves?!

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