Recruiters : What do they do?
Our profession is not clearly defined; some may call us head-hunters, others recruiters or even sourcing experts.
The purpose boils down to the same thing: acting as an intermediary that aims to meet our clients’ demands by offering them the best talent, and vice versa.
There are many misconceptions surrounding this profession: our friends imagine us making millions, our clients think our CV database is full of profiles, candidates hope that we will be able to respond to all their wishes by snapping our fingers, and we dare to hope that every search will be simpler than the last one.
Ultimately, this is not the case. Putting the right person in the right place, at the right time is certainly not an easy job.
- Understanding clients' needs and building trust
Before starting a collaboration, we need to present and promote our services to companies that have probably not waited for our arrival to recruit employees. We will therefore have to demonstrate and provide added value while creating a real bond of trust, the crucial foundation on which we can build a lasting and effective partnership. This relationship can be built not by putting forward a sales pitch, but by actively listening to our interlocutors, in order to understand their expectations as well as possible. Each company and each decision-maker is unique, and we must therefore repeat this phase of questioning and listening for any new mission entrusted to us.
Defining needs is not limited to the profile to be recruited; it is essential to take an interest in the overall framework in which the employee will have to work. A good knowledge of the team and the future colleagues, as well as of the HR policy and the corporate culture are therefore necessary. As an External Recruiter, understanding a working environment is not always an easy task, such understanding being dependent on the information that the employer gives us and, sometimes, on the employer’s vision contrasting with the employees' impressions. Over time, our knowledge of the market has enabled us to compare the employer's statements with the feedback from current and past employees, with the aim of improving our understanding of each environment and thus maximising the chances of successful recruitment, both in the short and long term. For all these reasons, the longer the relationship with our client lasts, the better our service will be.
Furthermore, creating a quality relationship with our clients also requires transparency and we sometimes have to explain that certain expectations do not correspond to the reality of the market at a given moment. A salary that is not competitive enough, a lack of the required profile, or a manager’s poor reputation are all pitfalls on the road to recruitment. Whilst it may seem obvious that we mention these issues to our clients, we find that they are hard truths to accept and can be wrongly perceived as an excuse for unsuccessful recruitment. Here again, a long-term relationship with our clients, especially when we have successfully completed many missions, gives much more credit to our remarks and can thus help in resolving certain situations.
- How do we find candidates?
Nowadays, the search for candidates is carried out through various channels and, of course, the social networks, with LinkedIn at the forefront, have become essential tools. These tools enable us to reach passive candidates.
In recent years, various technologies have been developed to facilitate and accelerate the search for profiles on these networks. However, to this day we remain convinced that human intervention can broaden the scope. Where software might eliminate a profile that does not correspond to the specified keywords, a Recruiter will not hesitate, when in doubt, to contact a professional when certain parts of their profile have caught the Recruiter’s attention.
From one company to another, the same job title can hide two very different sets of duties. Let's take the example of a "Tax Compliance Specialist": in one institution, this job may involve preparing tax returns, in another, it may involve applying tax compliance regulations (FATCA, CRS, etc.).
In order to reach these passive candidates, we also use co-option; the Luxembourg market is very small and the network we have built up allows us to get in touch with professionals, including those not present on social networks, who are recommended to us and are generally a very good match with our clients' expectations.
Our database, is made up of professionals who have, at a given time, been in search of a new opportunity and with whom we maintain a relationship. This tool enables us to reach semi-active candidates.
Publishing offers is particularly useful when there is an urgent need to recruit and enables us to capture candidates who are actively searching
- The fundamental principles of our profession
The foundation of our profession can probably be summed up in two inseparable words: listening and understanding.
The natural continuation of this first step is to succeed in creating a bond, maintaining it and making it bear fruit. This bond is based on a relationship of mutual trust, built up after having demonstrated our added value and our knowledge of the market in which we operate.
While creating a relationship is not always easy, maintaining it is even more complicated. This work is invisible to our clients, and it is often underestimated. It is both time-consuming and indispensable in our business, including for our clients, since this networking allows us to continually improve our knowledge of the market and to improve our responsiveness and efficiency when a recruitment is entrusted to us. We regularly place professionals with whom we have had initial contact for several years with our clients!
We also act as facilitators. A word that is more nuanced than intermediary, but also cleaves closer to what we actually do. Let's not forget that we, as head-hunters, are fortunate to have a close bond with a certain number of employers. Conversely, not being perceived as a potential future employer enables us to easily approach professionals in the market and then maintain a privileged relationship with them. Our role must enable both parties to understand each other. Let's take the case of a candidate who demands clear prospects for development as soon as he is hired. Spontaneously, an employer may see this as too ambitious, a "diva" attitude. However, this can sometimes be explained by strong disappointments in the candidate's career path, with promised promotions that have ultimately not materialised. Our role is therefore to contextualise each party’s expectations and concerns, with a view to reaching a successful outcome to the discussions.
Proximity and a privileged relationship with our clients are two other key components in our business. They can sometimes enable us to anticipate needs and be a source of proposals. This approach is particularly applicable to lawyers. Consider the case of a lawyer experienced in investment funds: this is a practice experiencing constant growth and, as a result, there is a lack of candidates on the market. Thus, we can work with the candidate to draw up a list of law firms that match their expectations - and vice versa - and to which we will proactively propose the candidate’s application. Our clients appreciate this approach; they know that we will only submit profiles that meet their usual standards.
In addition to this, we also provide advice both to our clients and to the candidates. As far as the client is concerned, our global view of the market enables us to provide sound advice on the main market trends (reputation of the company, competitiveness of the wages offered, etc.) so that the company can, if appropriate, work on certain points of improvement and capitalise on its strengths.
As far as candidates are concerned, we can support them in many ways: facilitating their establishment in Luxembourg in the event of relocation, helping them in their reflection on the ideal professional opportunity, sharing information on the market, giving them the "blueprint" for carrying out the most efficient search – whether active or passive - possible, and many other considerations.
Although we are proud of the work we have achieved to date and the level of satisfaction of our clients, we have to accept that recruitment is not a science and that failure and frustration are part of our daily life.
Failure which can occur prior to recruitment and which then lies in our inability to identify the profile desired by our client. Frustration for certain candidates who present a high-quality profile and who must sometimes, despite this, wait months or even years to find the position that suits them. Disappointment can also occur after an employee has been recruited, when one or both parties feel that the reality is not in line with their expectations and the matters discussed during the selection process.
Certainly, these different scenarios are sources of frustration for us Recruiters.
However, these situations cannot affect the heart and energy we put into each of our actions. This profession is above all made up of wonderful encounters in the face of which disappointments are as nothing. Few professions make it possible, literally and modestly, to change people's lives; this aspect is most certainly the fuel to our fire!