Recruiting the Headhunter

June 4, 2008 at 1:05 pm 1 comment

By Carol Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC

After 21 years of recruiting in the civil engineering community, I admit, I have my favorite clients.  When they call, my team’s ears perk up.  Fingers fly over computer files and the phone lines light up! What makes them a favorite? How can companies get a recruiter’s loyalty, their trust, their market intelligence?  Here are 7 steps to get you on the road to the right relationship:

1. Treat your selected recruiter as a teaming partner.

After you sign a contract, accept that recruiter as someone who can make your life easier.  Team with them on your searches.  Recruiters should be partners; we should not be put in an adversarial role. Integrity and trust are a two-way street.

2.  Describe your search assignments honestly.

In many instances, recruiters are Emergency Medical Techs (EMTs).  We are hired to perform triage. An opening has occurred and help is needed immediately. To make accurate assessments and plan a course of treatment, we need you to provide us with vital information. If this urgency changes or a candidate is identified during the process, inform your team as soon as possible. Time is a valuable asset. Don’t waste yours or anyone else’s.

3. Respond in a reasonable timeframe to calls, emails, presented resumes.

Relationships take time. Discuss your preferred method of communication and set guidelines for response times. Remember how it was when you were looking for a job? Timely feedback is critical and a reflection of you and your company.

4. Know how to sell your company, and do so in an interview.

The days of quality job seekers begging you to hire them have ended.  New job seekers are savvy.  Many talented, prospective employees have multiple interviews. You need to know your company strengths and sell them.  A good recruiter will have the job seeker excited of the potential of joining your company.  Help keep that excitement!

6. Make a judicious decision to hire or not hire.

Indecision about extending an offer to a candidate is tantamount to a “no” offer decision. Don’t expect a recruiter to tap dance for days on end.  Keep them informed of roadblocks to the hiring process and together you may come up with a solution to keep enthusiasm alive for those potential hires.

7. Extend a strong offer package.

Tell your recruiter what you will and will not be able to package in an offer. Let them do their job and work with them in closing the deal.  Give them the tools to fill the gap in your technical team.

Successful recruiting, while part skill and part timing, is about relationships. Productive relationships take time and commitment.  Recruiting the right headhunter can reduce your hiring stress and ensure a strong group of qualified candidates.


Entry filed under: Civil Engineering Issues, Headhunters, Recruiting. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Richard Hucke  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    As a fellow headhunter an ex VP HR out of the consulting engineering profession, I would agree with the above with one additional cavat: train your technical team in interviewing skills and remember that hiring is a two way street. All to ofter, the candidate is turned off by someone on the technical team who had not been clued in to the fact that we really want to hire this guy and he/she starts to complain about the company. I’ve lost many candidates because of this.


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