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Recruiters Are Sharks - Episode 3 - The Great White
The Great White, the consulting recruiter, executive search, headhunter
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Issue No. 47 (29th September 2023)
What to expect?
Thought of the Week - Recruiters Are Sharks - Episode 3 - The Great White. The consulting recruiter, executive search, headhunter
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Recruiters Are Sharks - Episode 3 - The Great White
Welcome Back, Walkawayer’s
Over the past few issues, we’ve been exploring the human capital ocean and the sharks that live within it.
In the ever-competitive world of recruitment, negotiation skills are essential, and yet, in my experience and not-so-humble opinion, very few recruiters are trained, and I mean properly trained, in this most important skill.
As this series has argued, in fact, if you were to describe a recruiter many would liken them to untrustworthy wheeler-dealers or to sharks.
Everyone has their own story of when they were bitten by a recruiter, as a candidate or client;
“I submitted my CV (resume for our US readers)”, or “I interviewed” and “they never called me nor gave me any kind of feedback”. and “Then I get an automated email telling me I’m a good fit for the same role and asking if I’d like to be submitted!”
“They put my CV forward without asking me first and then blocked me from applying through my preferred agent.”
“They don’t stop calling me. They are always selling and have no idea what I do nor what I need.”
“They just submit too many CV’s and with such low quality. They just throw as much mud against the wall to see what sticks. They do no due diligence.”
The negotiation style of these recruiters, these Sharks, are often described as being selfish, arrogant and overly competitive. Behaviours that enable them to survive their environment, and to navigate the turbulent waters of the deals they find themselves in.
But we are wrong. There are many different types of sharks swimming in these turbulent human capital waters and they are not all alike, so let's not attach them to the same hook.
Saying all this and with over 30 years in the industry as a recruiter, business owner, and consultant negotiator, I believe the best negotiators are more akin to Dolphins. But, that's for later…
To simplify, and yes, for the sake of this series I’m being very simplistic and generalistic, so suck it up! If you have a comment, then please feel free to engage in discussion.
So for the purpose of this series, I will say the diverse ocean of recruiters is inhabited by four archetypes:
the Great White, the consulting recruiter, executive search, headhunter;
the Whale Shark (for next week);
Each of these Sharks represents different negotiating styles and challenges within their own recruitment seascape.
The Great White, The Headhunter
A recruiting specialist. A true hunter; patient research mixed with lethal finishing gives this recruiter power. Targeting high-level employees, hard to find or executive in nature, on behalf of a client.
In the world of the Great White, negotiations are not merely transactions; they are intricate dances in the pursuit of excellence.
Negotiating fees upfront is just one of the many aspects that make the Great White Shark of the recruitment world stand out from the rest. Their approach to recruitment is truly a blend of art and science.
As we dive deeper into the world of executive search and headhunting, we discover that these recruiters are not just ruthless hunters; they are also strategic thinkers and long-term relationship builders.
Negotiating fees upfront, unlike their shark-like counterparts, they value their expertise and time, understanding that the precision of their services deserves just compensation and respect.
This insistence not only reflects their confidence but also ensures a mutual understanding of the worth of their efforts. They are already in a more Western Negotiation (Win/Win) due to the nature of trading value rather than just price. The value to the client is a research-led portfolio of excellent candidates, prescreened and confidentiality plucked from the market.
Great Whites hone in on successful individuals in thriving organisations. Negotiating with this type of candidate requires diplomacy and tact. It's not merely about filling positions; it's about strategically placing the right talent in the right roles, ensuring a symbiotic relationship between the candidate and the company. This demands a keen eye for potential, an understanding of corporate cultures, and an ability to foresee the trajectory of both individuals and businesses.
Their key challenge lies in striking a delicate balance between the demands of long-term clients and the aspirations of equally long-term candidates. Unlike the hasty, scattergun approach of some sharks, the Headhunter invests time in understanding the nuances of both sides. This patient research, coupled with an innate ability to read between the lines of CVs and corporate profiles, sets the Great White apart from the other sharks.
Collaborative: Great Whites, despite their fierce reputation, operate in a highly collaborative manner. They collaborate with clients to understand their intricate needs, diving deep into the organisational culture, vision, and specific requirements. In the turbulent waters of executive recruitment, the Great White is not merely a predator; it's a curator of talent, a sculptor of successful partnerships, and a guardian of organisational legacies. Every negotiation, every placement, is a brushstroke on the canvas of corporate evolution.
Collaborative negotiation isn't just about deal-making; it's about creating trust and a partnership where both parties thrive. By involving clients closely, the Great White ensures a seamless fit between the candidate and the company;
Analytical: The Great White's negotiation style is deeply analytical. They meticulously analyse not only the candidates' skills and qualifications but also the subtle nuances that make a perfect fit. They delve into candidates' past experiences, understanding their successes and failures, painting a comprehensive picture that goes beyond what's on paper. This analytical approach ensures that the match goes beyond the surface, leading to long-term success for both the client and the candidate. Moreover, headhunters face unique challenges in their negotiations. They must navigate the complex terrain of executive compensation, often dealing with substantial packages and intricate bonus structures. Their role involves managing the expectations of both clients and candidates, ensuring that the match is not just on paper but also in terms of company culture and long-term vision;
Principled: Despite their aggressive nature in the business world, Great Whites adhere to a strong set of principles. They have to, their credibility, professionalism and their very survival, their longevity, demands it of them. Get a bad name and it's difficult to find your fins again. Headhunters, in their pursuit of excellence, often find themselves walking a tightrope between confidentiality and transparency. The delicate nature of their work requires them to maintain the utmost discretion while also being candid with clients and candidates alike. Navigating this fine line demands exceptional communication skills and an ethical compass that points unwaveringly north. Negotiations, for them, are not just about winning the deal at any cost; they are about building lasting relationships based on trust. Clients and candidates have come to rely on the Great White's principled negotiation approach.
The art of subtlety is a hallmark of the Great White's negotiation strategy. They navigate the delicate balance between client expectations and candidate aspirations with finesse. Tactful and highly confidential.
As we delve deeper into the world of recruiters, it becomes evident that each type of shark serves a unique purpose.
The Raggy Tooth, the Bull Shark, and the Great White — each has its place and its challenges.
But remember, they are not all cut from the same cloth. While the stereotype might paint them with a broad brush, understanding their distinctive traits is essential to appreciating the intricate ecosystem of recruitment.
Join us next week for the final episode of 'Recruiters Are Sharks' as we explore the enigmatic Whale Shark, the silent giant of the recruitment world. Just as the ocean is vast and teeming with diverse life, so too is the realm of recruiters. Stay tuned as we unravel the mysteries of the fourth and final archetype, shedding light on the nuances that make recruitment a fascinating, ever-evolving landscape."
Until then, stay tuned and keep negotiating! We’d love to read your comments or thoughts.
Discuss or request more about this or other topics that interest you. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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