Why do executive search consultants always knock internal recruiters out of the park?

Why do executive search consultants always knock internal recruiters out of the park? There’s one very simple answer: they have more time and resource. There is no way that an internal recruiter can do the work an exec consultant can on a role.

Internal recruitment

Internal recruitment can be tough! Most internal recruiters will be running around 25-50 requisitions at any one time. They also do a lot of work around direct sourcing initiatives, talent strategy and hiring metrics. If that wasn’t enough, they might also manage a team and must attend a number of internal meetings.

If you are running 25 searches and using a number of channels to source – even with the help of technology – you are going to be very busy. Also, these jobs will likely be across a number of different job categories and locations, making it more challenging. There isn’t the option to walk away and decide to work with someone else either – they have to fill them all!

Executive Search

As an executive search consultant, I don’t normally run more than 3 roles at once. Plus, we have an internal resourcer to help us in finding those hard to find candidates. I typically spend at least 3 weeks doing research, I’ll then speak to 100+ people for an assignment, meeting with at least 8 of them. There is no way an internal recruiter can justify spending this amount of time on just one assignment.

Many internal recruiters will be much better recruiters than I am, but the one thing that I bet they don’t have is time to focus on every requisition they work on. With what little time they do have, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to do the same amount of work on one vacancy, as it just wouldn’t make commercial sense for them to do that.

Partnership

That’s why the best internal recruiters know the value of having trusted executive search consultants work with them. This allows the internal recruiter to focus on the roles that they can fill quickly and successfully. This Increases candidate experience, reducing time to hire and reducing agency spend.

Our clients often come to us with challenging briefs. Whether they’re not fully defined, are new into the organisation, are confidential or require a discreet search. We can offer them a robust system that enables us to find the best in the market, whilst being approachable and easy to work with.

You can download our eBook – 7 steps to executive search here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Achieving business goals

Achieving business goals, whether they’re personal or professional, can be tough. We’ve all got our own personal mountain tops. The goals that we set ourselves that, from the outset, seem nearly impossible to conquer. So how do we overcome this and allow ourselves to reach those goals?

If you haven’t read  ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, then you absolutely should. The premise is: what is the ‘one thing’ that you need to do that will subsequently make everything else fall into place and become easier? “The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.”

In the book, Keller talks about breaking down your goals into long and short term, and how by doing this you can turn them into more manageable and less intimidating tasks.

Once you’ve broken them down, you can then consistently go back to that one thing and ask yourself if what you’re about to do is going to add to your progress and keep you on track with achieving business goals.


The process

This process works in two parts. The first is about finding the right direction, and the second part is about chasing the right action.

For the first part, think about the big picture and identify what your overall goal is: what is the one thing that you want to do or achieve. This can be anything from your career goals to a personal ambition that you have.

The second part of this process is more short-term and practical. You have to ask yourself questions that provide you with a small focus on what you can do right now to help you get to where you want. You can break it down into what you’re going to do today, this week and this month to achieve that one thing. By always going back to your one thing, you ensure that everything you are doing is helping you to progress forward with that goal and increases the chances of you achieving it. 


Stay on track

By repeatedly asking yourself these more focused and short-term questions, you will not only keep on target to your overall goal, but you will also find yourself taking actionable steps that all build on one another and provide you with the momentum to finally reach your mountaintop!

Once you break it down, it’s so much easier to achieve those goals.

  1. Define goals
    It’s important to clearly define your business goal, so you know exactly what it is you want to achieve and where you are aiming.
  2. Be specific
    Being specific is important – understand exactly what you are aiming for and why – what will this goal mean for you? It’s a lot easier to stay on track when you know the benefits.
  3. Keep going back to the one thing
    Make sure everything you do is going to helo you reach that goal.
  4. Stay committed and motivated
    Commit to your goals – write them down, share them with colleagues, friends and family so they can hold you to account. Give yourself a deadline to keep you motivated and pushing forward.

Don’t forget to celebrate and reward yourself for achieving those goals or reaching a milestone and share the progress with everyone around you to keep you motivated.


To have a chat about your goals contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

Carl Hinett is our Director & Executive Search Specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch

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How to increase commercial awareness

Over the last few years, you may have noticed more companies are advertising for commercial awareness when hiring prospective new employees.

I can tell you from personal experience, that lack of commercial awareness is one of the key reasons that good candidates are rejected at interview stage. “They were really great, but just lacked the commercial edge we were looking for.”


So what exactly is commercial awareness and knowledge, and is it something that you can learn?

First of all, yes, anyone can learn commercial awareness and knowledge. It does, however, take hard work and dedication to become good at it. It should be noted that commercial knowledge isn’t the same as general knowledge.

Commercial knowledge refers to a sound understanding of what a business does, how it makes its money, the market in which it operates and how you and your role can fit into it. Often this means considering things such as, how you can increase revenue or market share, customer service levels, improved productivity levels, a better and more efficient team environment, great levels of quality assurance, less waste – I think you get my drift here!


If you want to actively increase your commercial knowledge you can consider these top tips to help you get it right:

  • You must understand what a business does and have a good understanding of its competitor environment.
  • Do your research and look at their online presence e.g. Glassdoor, LinkedIn groups, Twitter, Feefo. These can give indicators of customer service levels and employee satisfaction rates.
  • Look out for important events. Are there any future projects a company is about to begin working on? What have they done in the past?
  • Be aware of how economics can affect that business.
  • Think about the challenges that a business could be facing and formulate ideas on how you can help solve them.
  • If you’re at an interview, a great way to demonstrate your commercial knowledge is to have a couple of ready-made questions prepared.

There is no quick fix for getting commercial awareness but by putting the effort in, potential employers will give you kudos for trying, even if you don’t get it 100% right! Good luck.


James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Start with why

I absolutely love Simon Sinek’s famous Ted talk, ‘Start with why’, which examines why some companies achieve things that completely exceed our expectations and defy our assumptions of what’s possible, whilst others simply don’t.

 

After re-watching this talk, I started to think about how it applies to the recruitment industry, which leads me to this; many people think that all recruitment agencies are the same and that there is no difference. They all just fill jobs, right?

 

What

Everyone knows what a recruitment agency is and what they do, or at least they think that they do.

All recruitment agencies (should) have this one essential thing in common, which is that they aim to place people into jobs.

Whilst this may sound contradictory, the majority of recruitment firms aren’t in the business to fill your jobs… they are in the business to make money.

 

How

Most recruitment firms don’t proactively search for candidates for your jobs, which may sound strange but hear me out…

A lot of firms are extremely passive, they run a number of roles and simply move their connections around multiple job roles (instead of proactively searching for new candidates whose skills meet the needs of the current client).

The fill ratio of most large recruitment firms is 20%, that’s 1 in 5 roles, and if they are any good then this may even be 1 in 4.

 

Why

A lot of this comes down to why firms do business, and their ‘why’ is normally quite internally focused. They have goals and targets they need to hit in order to please internal shareholders at the recruitment agency. Which I can tell you often doesn’t help the end client…

My advice is that you should understand what you want from your recruitment supply chain.

Are you after CVs or do you want them to fill the role?

If you want them to fill the role, are you incentivising them to do that successfully?

(I’ll give a quick tip here – sending jobs out to more agencies doesn’t get you better candidates… it gets you who they can get their hands on the quickest.)

 

Our Why

Our why is pretty simple. We believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in creative solutions and we believe in working together with people.

 

Our How

We do this by sourcing proactively for talent, by engaging people on a personal level and by adapting our model to suit our client’s needs.

 

Our What

We just so happen to want to fill your jobs…

 

We prefer to let our results talk for themselves, so rather than blow our own trumpets, you can check out some of our case studies here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Executive search – ‘worst-case’ interview scenario?

Everyone gets nervous before an important meeting or interview. It doesn’t matter how much you may have prepared, there are some common intrusive thoughts that always manage to worm their way into your head the night before and cause you to think about possible escape routes should the worst happen. Through our executive search experience, we can help.

But worry not, you don’t need a getaway car parked around the corner to survive an awkward interview. There are tried and tested things that you can do to overcome these embarrassing moments. And who knows, if you flip the situation successfully it could work in your favour and become an example of how you have managed uncomfortable situations.

The person that you are meeting isn’t focused on you

If you notice that the other person is frantically typing on their laptop and hasn’t said in advanced that they may be taking notes or replying to a work email, then your brain may go into overdrive and wonder whether they are mind-numbingly  bored in your presence.

Read the situation and your audience, and if you’re still not confident that you’ve got their attention then politely asking questions to advance the conversation could resolve any worries that you may have. If they need to rearrange to a more appropriate time, then this gives them chance to do so

Being too early can be just as awkward as being too late

When travelling to an interview you can sometimes misjudge the traffic and end up an hour early…. It’s better than being late and although tempting, it might not be the time to show them how keen you are!

The chances are that whoever you are meeting is busy and won’t be sat waiting around for you an hour before (or after) your scheduled appointment, so if you know that you’re going to be too early go and grab a latte and steady your nerves. 15 minutes is plenty early enough to get there.

You forgot your presentation or interview materials

This problem can be easily resolved by planning properly. Try not to rely too heavily on paper materials, which can be misplaced or lost. Instead, ensure that you have an offline copy of your work ready and waiting on your laptop that you will be able to bring up regardless of the wifi situation.

And if your laptop dies, make sure that you’ve sent an email to yourself with all of the key documents on, so you can at least access them on your phone as a last resort. After your meeting, ask the person that you’ve been with if they would like you to email over a copy of any document that you’ve just used so they will be able to access them when reviewing your meeting.

Everybody has at least one awkward interview story, and how you deal with any embarrassment can say a lot about you and how successfully you manage situations. Also, a little bit of humour can go a long way, and we can all be united in our common awkwardness.

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.
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10 ways HR must change today to be effective tomorrow

Changing HR

For this instalment of ‘Insiders Story’ Peter Cablis from HR consultancy firm Evolving HR, shared his thoughts with me on ways that HR can change to be more effective in the future.

Over the few years the seductive Ulrich Business Partnering and Shared Services model has become the dominant HR force in most business enterprises. Meanwhile, industry has gone through major shifts with up-sizing, down-sizing and right-sizing. Organisations now reside in a constant and rapid state of flux; when one change project ends another must begin. Change is the new normal.

‘Club class’ HR services

Throw into the mix the fact that executives who have become used to highly tailored products and services are demanding ‘club class’ treatment from HR too. On top of this, employees – who have been brought up in a society of instant gratification, limitless choice and cloud-based access to almost everything – now expect a far more gratifying HR service. They demand better engagement, relevant practices and elements of customisation. An apathetic, tired response is simply not an option.

HR must adapt or it will become irrelevant to its user base

Yet, HR in many organisations is buckling from the sheer volume of work, pace of change and the demands to respond ever quicker. Insular, lack of flexibility & innovation, and slow responding HR departments that apply ‘one size fits all’ are becoming increasingly outdated and irrelevant.

So where does this leave the future of HR. Can HR simply carry on doing what it’s doing, or is there a fundamental shift required in thinking and working practices? If HR doesn’t adapt it could become increasingly irrelevant to its user base.

Which way is up?

We’ve seen several different themes and models of HR delivery emerging across different sectors and organisations that are leading HR upwards out of the current disorientation:

  1. HR needs to remain strategic, but the strategy needs to be flexible, to quickly change to be in line with organisational and business unit specific changes.
  • HR still needs to deliver consistent high quality, cost-effective back office support, but with greater breadth of service.
  • HR needs to develop a reputation for providing invaluable, timely and highly actionable data driven insights to the business which enhance business decision-making.
  • Adding value by managing more of the outsourced suppliers to their organisations, to improve the quality and breadth of service, whilst reducing the cost of service.
  • A shift to cloud-based technology is important.
  • Delivery of a more customised service to different users across the organisation.
  • Cross functional, rapid-reaction taskforces made up from people from across the business, including HR. Suited to fast paced, constantly changing organisations.
  • Internal HR consulting model made up of experts adopting a consultative style to focus on specific business issues and provides professional advice. Best suited changing organisations with a lot of project work.
  • A decentralised HR model that provides services to autonomous businesses with very different needs. This would include decentralising BP’s and centre’s of excellence but also, in many cases, transactional work.
  • A smaller HR function, but one which still retains a shared service element, small corporate function with specialists and a small number of localised experts.

Thank you to Peter from Evolving HR for his thoughts on making HR more effective.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

Let’s talk about time management

We’ve all heard of it and, although it’s something that comes around like clockwork, whenever it’s time for a performance review, it’s still something that we ironically don’t always have the time to work on, me included.

It’s easy to be ‘busy’ at work, but are we busy in the right context? Or are we all just busy being fools? And how can we make our time at work more productive?

Alleviate pressure

We live in a world where we are always switched ‘on’. Our smartphones constantly alert us to any new messages and emails, our smartwatches vibrate all day long and alert us whenever we make so many steps, and we always seem to be on the computer where there is no shortage of information being directed our way.

There’s pressure from our peers, directors, business owners and employees asking us questions, and there’s no longer an off switch for anyone.

So, how can we implement some simple structure that will help alleviate some of this pressure?

Plan, plan, and then plan a bit more. It’s not the most revolutionary answer I’ll admit, but it works.

Most people don’t plan for the following day, but you’ll be surprised at how effective setting aside time to assess the rest of your week can be.

Get organised

Create your own spreadsheet or write a list of all of your tasks for the week, whichever method works for you, and take a break every hour to assess what you’ve achieved since you last checked over your list. You will either be amazed at how much you’ve done, or surprised at how much you’ve procrastinated!

Treat your time like you would your finances – keep a close eye on them!

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, and question how you should delegate your time. Doing this will help you identify your biggest waste of time, so you can change it!

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

Why are we all so scared of business change?

Why are we all so scared of business change?

We all know what it feels like to be anxious and unmotivated when it comes to our professional lives, yet even with these feelings, we’re still hesitant about implementing change.

Change can be intimidating, but it can also present much-needed opportunities for growth and development that you wouldn’t experience if you stayed in the same, comfortable and familiar role that you’re in at the moment.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with change, but how can you incorporate change into your everyday working life if the prospect feels overwhelming?

One popular model, the change curve, can be used to help understand the varying stages of personal change and ensure that the correct support can be provided as needed.

The change curve identifies six different stages that people experience when they go through change. These stages are:

–      Stage 1: Initial reaction

–      Stage 2: Self-criticism

–      Stage 3: Confusion and doubt

–      Stage 4: Acceptance and rationalisation

–      Stage 5: Solutions and problem solving

–      Stage 6: Normalising the change

As you work through the various stages of the change curve, you’ll start to notice the positive effects of personal and business change and be able to identify at what stage you’re stuck at. Once you know this, you can find the best support to help you successfully transition into the next stage.

Whilst business change may not always be successful, it’s important to take the value of a new experience seriously.

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.
You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story... Interim change management
Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story… Interim change management. This was my first ‘Insiders Story’ blog of 2018,  discussing two of my favourite things – change management and how great interims are!

 

For this blog, I met with Michelle Wenham, Head of HR, and Feona Veys, Senior Manager – Talent Sourcing. Both fabulous women work for The Gambling Commission and started their journey as contractors. They have been instrumental in leading and delivering truly innovative change, which has transformed the people and culture within the organisation.

The Gambling Commission is no ordinary organisation. Over the next five years, they have five priority areas: empowering and protecting consumers; raising standards across all gambling sectors; building partnerships and understanding; ensuring fair play on the National Lottery and improving regulation.

Both Michelle and Feona joined the Gambling Commission in an interim capacity to oversee change management.  They became so immersed in the business and culture, that they subsequently felt empowered by the organisation’s mission and took on permanent roles.

 

The Transformation

After joining the Gambling Commission in 2015, Michelle was shortly followed by a new CEO which naturally brought about some change.

There was a lot of discussion around the employee engagement survey – the 2015 results could have been better, so areas to be improved were identified which could have a real positive impact.

In 2012, the Commission had embarked upon a similar change programme, however, after previously struggling to demonstrate the burning platform for the change, they decided to use the employee engagement survey as the catalyst.

Michelle explained, ‘from a change perspective, the outcome we wanted to achieve was similar to the previous change programme. Sometimes it isn’t the right time to deliver the change.  It was like the stars aligned and with the right communication and the right people involved, we knew it could be a success.’

From this, they developed a new people strategy and discussed the kind of organisation they wanted to be – one that takes care of its employees and exceeds expectations in delivery.

 

How have you done it?

Previous change programmes had at times been a little ‘parent and child’ and hadn’t always successfully maintained engagement or momentum.

The new CEO really transformed the feel of change within the Commission, she took people with her on the journey. One of the key things that she did was made herself visible. She role-modelled, to the business and the senior leadership team, how visibility should look at a senior level.

They also implemented a change champion network across the business. This was a cross-functional network of employees, which meant that they were able to reach out to and engage with employees who otherwise may have got lost along the way.

Unlike many businesses, the Gambling Commission also have a Board of Commissioners alongside their leaders who have been a great support with the change management.

Michelle says, ‘the Commissioners are so engaged with us, they challenge us and have been really involved in how we use our investment and resources to get the best out of our people.’

 

Engagement is everything…

The culture within the Commission is really transforming into a truly engaging and inclusive one, which has already had a positive impact on performance and personal development.

HR has a seat at the table. Historically, L&D was always seen as an add-on but is now included as part of all functions resource planning. A day every month is allocated to every employees’ personal development.

‘L&D Week’ was also a big win. Employees had 50% of their working hours dedicated to their own personal development and they also held department roadshows.

The Gambling Commission is a programme led business, which at times can leave functions at risk of becoming very insular. Department roadshows allowed employees to understand other functions and their importance within the business.

Michelle and Feona both believe that small things make a big statement. Basic things like providing staff with fresh fruit and a wide variety of refreshments, alongside communal kitchens and break-out areas, has enabled them to further develop cross-functional relationships.

They also held their employee conference in their offices instead of off-site. Michelle said, ‘we wanted to show that you don’t go somewhere else to talk about change then come back and forget about it – the real change happens right here.’

 

It isn’t all about HR…

And the people strategy is a perfect example of this. The HR team constantly keep it under review to ensure they are delivering what has been promised. When they successfully meet those promises, they make sure that this is shared across the business, developing a feeling of trust and raised the profile of the function.

The team also launched 24 new policies across 2015 and 2016. They rebranded these as people policies to demonstrate that the organisation should be owning these policies, rather than HR. This resulted in them gaining constructive feedback from employees around their policies, enabling them to be more inclusive.

 

‘Ideas don’t have to be perfect in order to roll them out’

And I couldn’t agree more! What the Gambling Commission do really well is that they are totally honest about this and adopt the approach of ‘we are going to try this and see how it goes.’

They re-launched their spotlight recognition scheme, to recognise great behaviours on an on-going basis. Historically, this hadn’t gained much traction with employees, so they decided to make some changes in order to make it a more successful endeavour.

The Commission quadrupled the value of vouchers offered, changed the nomination process and included awards for teams as well as individuals. When re-launching they decided to review on an ongoing basis, to measure the success and take on feedback and suggestions from individuals and constantly improve the success of this scheme.

 

‘Interims have really helped to drive change’

At the Gambling Commission, they have used interims in 2 different ways. Firstly, they have brought in career interims to act as subject matter experts and be slightly more heavy hitting. Areas such as reward, communications, HRIS and PMO.

Secondly, they have brought in interims in a flexible way to fill permanent roles, before employing them, allowing the opportunity to engage with their overall offering.

Feona said ‘HR have really led the way in what good looks like when hiring an interim. We have demonstrated to the rest of the business how to effectively use interims and how flexible you can be with this approach.’

And Feona knows this first hand because, as Michelle admits, they wouldn’t have been able to secure Feona’s skillset on a permanent basis without the flexibility and proposition they have. When Feona joined as an interim, she was offered the opportunity to work 3 days per week around her previous clients, the caveat to this being that Michelle trusted her implicitly to do a great job.

In their PMO department, interims have helped them to think about ‘the art of the possible’. They have shared knowledge and brought ideas which the commission have been able to ‘borrow with pride’ and customise for their own needs.

 

‘I felt the change overnight’

Michelle and Feona both joined the Commission as interims and admit their mindsets have totally changed since taking on permanent contracts.

Feona said, ‘as an interim you definitely get less involved in the politics. You get paid to do a good job and you want to prove that you’re worth your day rate’.

Michelle also admits that she believes something is definitely different psychologically. As an interim, you simply feel different. When she signed the permanent contract, she felt the change overnight. On an interim contract, there is an end date and there are end goals, in a permanent role it isn’t so definitive.

That being said, interim isn’t for everyone, just as permanent employment isn’t, and both Michelle and Feona have gone back and forth depending on their own personal circumstances.

Michelle said, ‘I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to get the best person possible, if that means being flexible and creative then you do that. Having an interim minimises risk to the business – if it doesn’t work out, the contract ends.’

As we drew the discussion to a close, we discussed if there is such a thing as becoming ‘change-weary’.

Feona and Michelle both agree that a business can get ‘big change weary’. Big change is great, but you should always give timescales and allow time for change to settle, or employees can get change fatigue. Continuous improvement and development is part of life and change management is so important in any organisation.

 

So where has this left the Gambling Commission?

The change programme has been embedded with great success! The engagement scores have increased from 55 to 64, with leadership and change increasing by almost 30%.

They have shown that if you develop your people and culture in the right way, change becomes so natural that you don’t realise it’s happening.

They have also proved that by attracting, developing and engaging people in the right way, anything is possible.

 

A huge thank you to Michelle and Feona for their input with this blog.

If you would like to learn more about the gambling commission and what it is like to work for them, then visit their website here.

For all things interim management, change management and transformation, get in touch or if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, you can email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here