Beyond filling roles: six ways to get extra value out of your recruitment partner.
“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.” Bill Gates
Collaboration is fundamental to improving business outcomes, and a strategic partnership with a recruiter is perhaps one of the most important an executive can develop. After all, the success of every company relies on the talent it attracts to build, sell and implement the products that will allow it to grow.
Hiring success is a catalyst for the subsequent success of companies and executive careers, and getting it wrong has commensurate consequences for executives. So unless your company has its own first-class talent acquisition team (one that’s out there every day proactively seeking the best industry talent for you), your business success is ultimately reliant on the recruitment partnerships your company develops. Build strong relationships with top recruiters and they will deliver top talent to you on a consistent basis. However, there’s certainly more value you can derive from your recruiter partnerships at no additional cost.
Let’s take it as a given that you’re expecting your recruitment partner to fill open roles with top talent. Beyond that, what added value and less obvious benefits can the best fintech industry recruiters provide for their clients? Here are six things they can do that you may not have considered:
1. Bring you top talent first on an opportunistic basis
Let your recruiter know what profile types you’re open to hearing about in the market, and he/she is more likely to think of you first when such A Players arise, even if you have no open hiring remit. For a fintech sales team, for example, it’s common to have upto 20% team turnover per annum, so best practice is for companies always to keep the door open to seeing sales people from the top 10% of the market (these are the A Players, as defined by Top Grading). Wouldn’t you rather at least hear about such candidates first, rather than miss out only to hear your recruiter say that they didn’t realise you would hire if a top performer arose?
2. Help shape your hiring plans to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness
Share with your recruiter how you anticipate your organisation developing over the next 12+ months, talk through the nature of the roles you anticipate hiring, and ask your recruiter for their input. Experienced fintech recruiters will have seen all manner of organisation charts, how they’re structured with roles as they grow, the nature of the skill-sets required, talent availability and salaries etc. All this is extremely valuable intelligence that can help you develop your business plan to ensure you’re well positioned to get the right talent, in the right place, at the right time.
3. Help develop your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
Having built up a deep understanding of your company and represented it in the market, your recruiter will have gained a lot of valuable intelligence from candidates on how your company is perceived as a potential employer. Ask your recruiter for this feedback after each hire and use it to further develop your EVP. And don’t limit this feedback to your company alone — recruiters have their fingers on the pulse with regard to the whole marketplace, and are well placed to share how candidates perceive your competitors as well.
4. Become brand ambassadors to promote your fintech products and services
Recruiters aren’t there to directly sell your products and services, of course. However, the very nature of their role — networking across the industry all day and interacting with their social media networks — means they can be useful in spreading the word about your products and services to potential buyers. For example, I set up and now manage the largest LinkedIn group focused on fintech innovation for the capital markets, asset and wealth management, where I’m regularly promoting innovative fintech companies. Clients of mine that fall into this category have benefited from social media promotion in this niche group, in addition to the expansive social network reach that comes directly from me and my team.
5. Set up talent retention strategies
It might sound counter-intuitive, but great recruiters would prefer to see their clients retain their best talent rather than lose their top performers and experience high employee turnover. You see, a company that has an employee turnover rate that’s higher than the industry average can easily find their employer reputation turns negative, which in turn can make it hard for a company to attract top talent. The best industry recruiters love to stake their reputation on placing the best candidates at the best companies. So when you’re reviewing retention strategies for your company, and even particular individuals, bring your recruiter in to ask their opinion in relation to specific roles and profiles, and what best practices they’re seeing in the market.
6. Not headhunt the best talent out of your company
Maintain ongoing relationships with recruiters and they become natural gamekeepers for you. If you let that partnership wither and don’t show commitment to your recruiters, why should they commit to not poaching your best staff — those top performers who are driving your success? Niche industry headhunters don’t aspire to having all companies in a sector as clients as their business model simply wouldn’t work. Therefore, they will categorise companies as clients and sources — and a strong fintech industry headhunter is certainly worth more as an ally than enemy.
Build the right relationships with the right industry recruiters and you’ll certainly be rewarded in many more ways than perhaps you had realised. Mutually beneficial business partnerships are a two-way street, where there’s respect and trust in each other. Not every recruiter is necessarily capable of providing, or willing to offer, the value-added benefits I’ve described unless you ask. But as you develop the right recruiter partnerships and you invest more as they gain your trust, you’ll be amazed with the value the right fintech recruitment partner can add to your company’s success, and ultimately your executive career.
About the author: Shawn Rutter is the founder of Excelsior Search, a market-leading, niche search company specialising in international executive search and recruitment solutions for financial technology (fintech), data and research providers to the global capital markets and investment industry. With experience delivering search assignments across the Americas, EMEA and APAC, he founded Excelsior Search in 1999, having previously worked as an Army Officer and for the international search firm MRI. Shawn invites you to connect on LinkedIn.