Why High-Touch Isn't Just for Executive Recruiting

The talent industry lost a giant last month in Gerard Roche.  Gerry was an executive and headhunter at Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s top executive search firms. Gerry taught us that a CEO doesn’t always have to possess deep experience in a given sector to be successful. Leadership qualities transcended all else in his view. He proved this most notably by bringing in then-Pepsi CEO John Scully to head Apple Computer in 1983.

To be successful, executive searches require a significant level of cooperation between in-house leadership and executive recruiters.  Both groups, in fact, go to great lengths to provide the high-touch experience that’s needed at the executive level. At HireLabs, we apply those same principles to startup recruiting. Wondering how to bring that high-touch approach to your hiring process? Then read on.

Build a personal brand that attracts candidates. People want to work for high-profile leaders of successful companies, knowing that the company’s brand embodies the qualities of the person at the top. This is equally true for startup companies as--without a long track record--both their culture and future success hinge on their founders’ personas, attitudes, and sets of beliefs. With a personal brand, your firm can begin a high-touch approach before the recruiting process even begins.

Uncover prospective candidates’ motivations by asking what they seek not just now, but in the long term. Too often, recruiters and hiring managers fail to ask candidates what would make them consider a position. Is it purely a financial decision? Do they aspire to a leadership role? Is work-life harmony a pressing issue? Or are they feeling stalled in their current organization? Once you understand their motivation, you know two things: if they are a fit for what you’re building, and how to close them on the right opportunity.

Ensure ongoing communication. A quick check-in email with candidates and hiring managers helps keep everyone involved between the inevitable pauses that occur during the hiring process. If you communicate at least once a week, even just to say “you’re on my radar,” candidates will stay significantly more engaged. Make an effort to touch base after every point in the interview process. Do you sense hesitation in the candidate’s interest level in contrast to their prior excitement? Listen to your instincts and re-qualify their interest often.

Use assessments, but make certain they assess the most important skills for the given role. For example, if you’re doing a coding assessment, give as much freedom as possible for creativity and personal style within the limits of the assignment. Also, give constructive feedback or suggestions to candidates during the interview to see how they react to different perspectives. It can be beneficial to gauge their ability to accept feedback and pivot in their thinking.

Move fast. To land top talent you need to act swiftly. The best candidates have options, yet are often made to wait weeks if not months by larger firms. So leverage your flat organizational structure to build processes that enable you to make quick decisions, say within 24 hours of an onsite interview.  It’s very difficult to turn down an offer in hand.

Gerry Roche was an out-of-the-box thinker who could find the right executives for new roles. The kind of people who would go on and perform well beyond his clients’ expectations. He believed in a high-touch recruiting processes and so do we. Find out first-hand. Let HireLabs help your startup integrate these same high-touch techniques into your recruiting process and allow you to hire the key talent that takes your business to new heights. Contact HireLabs today!

Post by Stephanie McDonald