Selection Criteria for Headhunters & Executive Search Agencies In Post-Covid Times

In former times, the Headhunting & Executive Search market in Germany was pretty transparent, highly structured and in many aspects political. Many different service-offerings were clearly defined – and were pursuing similar processes in differing industry sectors and search levels. 

Nowadays, and especially in post-covid times, little seems to be working in Executive search & Headhunting as before. Completely new and creative market players are flooding the established headhunting market by:

  • offering instant KI/AI-based market-research – with results in hours
  • running digitized campaigns by flooding social-recruiting processes & networks until results
  • gaining „perfectly fitting” candidates for vacancies within 2 week time
  • appearing as employer-branded recruiter for selected industry sectors & vacancy types
  • winning new clients by being the public face of recruiting campaigns for client XYZ
  • running the entire headhunting-process for a friction of the established business price!

Voilá – a little provocative summary of the last 5-10 years, but trying to melt things down to essentials.

At the same time, we do see lots of key developments within the German working population:

  • 43 million people are working in Germany > representing the biggest talent market in Europe
  • German companies are reducing dependency on Chinese & Russian sources > creating ever „new“ talent needs for next years in Germany/Europe
  • Green-tech target standards, new business strategies & disruptive industry sectors create additional thirst for leaders, specialists & workers – often in dried-out talent-sectors
  • Many 60+ agers are sent to pension – often replaced by young population (<35 years) with totally different values & smart expectations
  • Post-covid delivers new-work ideas & concepts around home-office, work-life balance and expectation management @ employers, often far-away from reflective skills assessment & realistic self-learning capabilities.

Well – quite an amazing employer-market with tons of challenges AND new opportunities – but as well a noticeable amount of people leaving Germany to Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Scandinavia or Non-EU countries abroad.

Having summarized these workforce trends in Germany, we do see a huge need to propose the following selection criteria, how to choose a professional & reliable head-hunter for attracting AND winning (!) key talents for your business:

1. Ambassador Style & Alchemy with Client

    • links up to biz-leaders on C-level and creates immediate trust with Leadership/HR-team
    • derive talent needs based on future biz-scenarios, vision & dynamic skill-needs
    • scout talents on exec- or specialist level as professional ambassador for few selected clients 
    • embodies an empathetic style to attract, screen & win people for challenging vacancies

2. Straight Professional & Biz-Insider

      • talks & acts straight, process- and result oriented 
      • knowledgeable professional about client-insights & biz-strategy & ER-branding
      • inert know-how of the projected vacancy and it´s key KPI´s and needs
      • expert knowledge on vacancy insights from a target candidate perspective
      • „no“ to little Sales-talk (too many Sales bribes; unrealistic expectations in this industry…)

3. Passionate Talent-Scout & Empathetic Winner

    • proven track-record & Passion for Talent-Scouting on various org-levels 
    • defined process- and result oriented
    • can-do approach and go-beyond mentality 
    • knowledgeable partner on how to attract talent & in which selected industry markets/span> 

4. HR-Mastery & Talent Experience

    • proven understanding of key & digital HR-processes in a company
    • fluidity in project management of assignments: Biz-lead, HRM, candidates, own processes
    • professional assessment skills & development needs of candidates
    • trusted and resourceful on critical labor information – until final project win!
    • reflective & pro-active during integration-period of placed candidate
    • develop into a trusted external headhunting partner for HRM and Leadership-Team

5. Price for an individualized Service

    • assignment typically includes a multi-month process, service-track and guarantee
    • pricing should reflect the direct impact of the vacancy, not the cost for filling-a-job
    • offerings need to be reflected with same/similar service offerings

Of course it is obvious that you often do NOT need a headhunting agency or an Executive Search partner as outsourced partner. Sometimes for a one-time-need – an interim-company, temp-agency, temp-to-hire agency, or purely digital-/media-sourcing recruiter will do. But if you / your business needs to fill critical talent needs in rare talent-niches, we would highly recommend to select and cultivate a professional relationship to a professional & trusted long-term head-hunter for your industry. Thus – any selective recruitment assignment for specialist/middle-management or C-/Exec-/leadership-level and talent winning processes will gain the positive & lasting effect on people productivity (headhunting) and strategy/leadership efficiency (Executive Search) for your company.

Overall – we do see an obvious leadership-trend „back to essentials“, deliberate and highly selective people hiring and a „thirst“ of professional & longer-term Recruitment partners!

As CANTOR and Founding Partner of the international CFR Consulting Group – we are passionate about Executive Search & Headhunting for more than 25 years in Germany and abroad. We could support your business with future-oriented HR-process mastery and winning activities of high-performing leaders and skilled labour. Test us!

Article written by Marc Steuer, CFR Global Executive Search Germany
Photo source: Freepik

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