Demystifying the Role of the Headhunter
Published on: 5 November 2013
Launched in October 2013, 4c Executive Search is now working with many of Northern Ireland’s leading organisations to find the best available talent to fill their business-critical roles. Owner and Principal Search Consultant Gary Irvine explains how the executive search process works.
“Executive search is a very indepth, methodical process, used mainly to target and attract senior-level talent. Candidates are usually already employed in a senior post at the time and are considered to be what we call a ‘passive job seeker’ in the unadvertised job market – they are happy in their current role, but may be interested in being made aware of other opportunities that could further their career.”
“At 4c Executive we follow a very exact process. We meet with our client on a number of occasions to identify the role, understand their culture and work in partnership with them to draw up a detailed assignment brief – a 15-20 page document outlining the company and the role for which they seek to recruit. It matters not whether the role is based locally or abroad.
We then instruct our team of international researchers to identify an initial list of target companies and the relevant individuals in each company who potentially meet the criteria for the role. This initial target list is then approved by our client, allowing them to rule out any ‘off limits’ companies – be it a company they do business with, or one which they don’t feel presents a good fit. At 4c we want to build lasting relationships with our clients and have a strict rule that we will not approach potential candidates in another organisation that we are currently working with or have worked with in the past year, and we make this clear to our client from the outset.
With the target list approved, and having conducted background checks, our researchers start making approaches to the potential candidates, usually at their place of work, to explain that they are working on behalf of an opportunity that may be of interest. They will provide a brief synopsis of the role, without disclosing the name of our client. Our researchers go to great lengths to ensure that the confidentiality of both the client and the target individual is protected. If the candidate expresses an interest in finding out more, the researcher will seek an alternative contact telephone number and arrange a suitable date and time for a second call.
On this second call, the researcher will provide the candidate with a more detailed synopsis of the role – still without disclosing the name of our client – and will ask the candidate for more information about their background, their current role and salary. The researcher will then seek informed consent from the candidate for their information to be shared with 4c Executive. At this stage it is worth noting that no-one is head hunted that doesn’t want to be head hunted.
A 4c search consultant will then make a call to the candidate at an agreed time to exchange more information. A face-to-face meeting at a neutral location will follow, at which stage we will disclose the name of our client in confidence and will go into more detail using the assignment brief.
At this meeting 4c will assess the suitability of the candidate for the role and, pending their suitability and consent from the candidate, will finally pass their details on to our client, after which an interview will likely follow.
In a nutshell 4c Executive Search is all about leaving no stone unturned to find the best available talent for your business critical roles in the most discreet and professional manner possible.”