Recruiters Seeking Executives

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An article recently posted to Fistful of Talent titled, “Recruiters Don’t Own Executive Recruiting” evaluates the role of the Human Resources Recruiter when a company is in need of a higher-level position and why HR recruiters might not be the be-all and end-all for filling these positions.

The article starts off by creating a hypothetical situation in HR, “Ah, the internal executive search assignment—for some corporate recruiters, it’s the pinnacle of the talent acquisition world. Goodbye, days of customer service rep phone screens and hello, exploratory dinners and intriguing ‘meetings over drinks.’ I think a bunch of talent acquisition pros dream of the day when they get the call to fill a senior VP or C level impact role that will literally change the organization. How often can HR say that? So, when the CEO asks you to help recruit a direct report, I get that you feel like you have arrived. You have been grinding for years, filling countless entry and mid level jobs, knowing that one day you would own an executive search when the company had a need. You were sure that HR was going to deliver.”

But the solution the author offers can pretty much be summed up in one concise and ingenious graph, “Here’s my take though: HR does not own executive recruitment. Recruiters don’t recruit executives; executives recruit executives. You are the expert, but not the leader. Weird, huh?” What does that mean? The article proceeds to clarify, “When I have seen this done right, it’s typically because the CEO leads the charge and the successful recruiter plays a combo Kingmaker/Market Expert role. The talent pro is the trusted adviser, coordinating resources and teeing up the CEO with competitive talent intelligence and introductions in the niche market. Don’t get me wrong. The in-house recruiter needs to be the expert when it comes to defining requirements, identifying sourcing strategies, developing a sophisticated team approach and moving through identification, attraction, selection and closing. Talent Acquisition articulates and builds that strategy, but the CEO is the person who will close a senior exec. Sorry, it’s just not HR.”

As someone who has not only worked on the employment side of HR, but also has been a job seeker in the past (we all start somewhere), I can’t recall a time where I was seriously considered for a position, or seriously considered someone for a position, and only interviewed once with a recruiter. There has almost always been a second, or even third interview with a director, Vice President, or any individual who would later serve as my supervisor if I secured the position. That being said, this Fistful of Talent blog is absolutely justified in believing that recruiters don’t always own recruiting.

As an HR recruiter or professional, what do you think? Do you believe that the HR department “owns” recruiting? Have you filled a higher-level position without a final consent from a hiring manager or an executive that might work directly with the new hire?


About Kate Gamble

Known to have her hands in a ton of things at one time - Kate is a confessed news junkie and proud Dean’s List grad. Whether she’s working the PR or HR side of her brain, her computer’s mouse or her Dremel (she makes handcrafted jewelry too!), Kate delivers the energy, commitment, and detail-orientation that are a perfect mix for Alstin.