All posts in: Executive Recruitment
Phone Screening Image - Business person holding up a phone and about to answer a call from another executive

Ever been contacted by a recruiter to schedule a 15-minute phone call? It’s a good sign to be selected for a phone screening. With the hundreds of applicants that they receive daily, recruiters will utilize their limited time and prioritize candidates who have the best chance to be considered for a particular job.

The phone screening is the first opportunity for the candidate to express who they are and why they are the best fit for the position. The recruiter will be highlighting the candidate to the employer based on the call, so it’s important for them to show the recruiter exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.  And if the candidate is unable to successfully explain to the recruiter why they would be a good fit for the role, then they may not submit their resume to their client, the hiring company. Remember, executive search firms are paid by their clients to attract talent and fill key roles.

We asked President and Executive Recruiter Ben Farber his perspective on how to have a successful phone screening experience.

How do you normally approach your phone calls with candidates?

The main purpose for the call is to learn the candidate’s character and personality more so than experience. I usually have a sense of a candidate’s experience based on their resume, but I want to know what makes the person tick. How do they lead a team? Do they understand the importance of having fun and get along with their team in a social setting (in a professional manner of course)? If someone fits the job description, but not the company culture, it will be challenging for employees to work with that person day in and day out. This in turn leads to turnover. We strive for tenure, always.

While some recruiters may go by the book when it comes to phone screening, my calls are typically spontaneous and free flowing. Once a candidate opens up and answers a question, I answer follow-up questions based on their answer. Doing so helps to get to know who the candidate is while keeping them on their toes.

In your opinion, how have candidates knocked the phone screening out of the park?

A candidate who is able to make a strong impact in showcasing their personality and skillsets within the 15-minute phone call is ideal. I look for someone who is personable, passionate, and self-aware during the call. The ideal candidate will also be able to answer a question fully without overtalking. I am impressed by a candidate who can be serious when talking about numbers and how they can add value to the company without being arrogant. And the really sharp executives also know how to throw in a touch of tasteful humor. These candidates get us excited to present them to our clients, which makes for an even smoother recruitment and interview process.

What are some reasons you do not consider candidates after a phone screening?

As mentioned before, it’s all about energy and interest. I would be less inclined to present a candidate to a client who has a lack of enthusiasm for the opportunity and has not done any homework before our call about the company or position. While some candidates give me short, incomplete answers to my questions, others can stray away from the conversation all together and talk about topics I didn’t ask. A candidate who is not giving their full attention during the call can also be concerning. On some occasions, I have even heard candidates taking care of chores such as dishwashing or cooking mid phone interview! We all lead busy lives, I get it. However, undivided attention shows respect and focus. If a candidate can’t sit still for 15 minutes during a call with a recruiter, how are they going to function on the job?

Any last piece of advice for candidates who are starting the initial stages of the hiring process?

Treat everyone as if they were the CEO and follow the basics for a phone screening. Speaking respectfully to anyone affiliated with the company is an opportunity to differentiate oneself throughout the process. Be on time, research the company, and try to carve out 15 minutes of peace for the call. If there is a need to reschedule or there is no longer an interest in the opportunity, let the recruiter know in advance. It’s better to follow up and stay transparent with the recruiter in order to build a good rapport for any future opportunities.

The way a candidate acts during the phone screening sets the tone for the rest of the hiring process. While the initial phone screening with the recruiter may seem like a casual conversation, treating the conversation professionally and authentically will lead to a successful experience. We never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Recruitment Myth - Fact-Myth Teeter

When it comes to recruitment, people tend to have common misconceptions about the process for both candidates and clients alike. As a candidate or client, it’s important to understand the recruitment process in order to ensure that the practice is being utilized effectively.

We asked our executive recruiters to share and debunk recruitment myths they have come across while working in their field.

Recruitment Myth #1: All search firms are the same.

There are different kinds of recruitment firms that focus on specific industries, position levels, and types of work. It is important for candidates and clients alike to research if the search firm is a right fit for their experience and needs, respectively.

Simply put, if a candidate that specializes in the Casino industry tries to submit their resume to a firm that focuses in Healthcare, the chances of the recruiter reaching out to the candidate for career opportunities are slimmer. The same idea applies for a client who is searching for a specific type of candidate that may not be predominant in the search firm’s existing database.

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Recruitment Tips: Hire Smart

This piece is an adaptation of a previous article written by Roberta Borer in 1995, who was a former SVP here at Bristol Associates, Inc. Roberta was in the executive search business for over 30 years and specialized in the healthcare industry.

The competition to attract, recruit, and retain employees is keen. As an employer, how do you make your job offer the one top candidates accept?

Before starting the hiring process, use the need to hire a new employee as an opportunity to examine the organization and the reason why past employees left. Take an objective look at the program and use this vacancy as an opportunity to correct or amend what can be done to benefit the organization.

Is this a “fill-able” job? If the company is experiencing high turnover, consider the following: Is the compensation offered appropriate for the position? Is the position the right need for the company? Is the company in a geographic location that makes it challenging to attract top-notch candidates?

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[image] businessman jumping over hurdles / recruitment challenge

A recruiter has the opportunity to interact with diverse candidates and clients, which can lead to unique experiences for each search. While it is the recruiter’s responsibility to alleviate the absence of talent for companies needing to hire, what happens when the recruiter encounters obstacles that can hinder the recruitment process?

Our executive recruiters share recruitment challenges often faced during the search process, and helpful strategies to overcome them.

Recruitment Challenge #1: Lack of Available, Qualified Candidates

With a low unemployment rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates. Nearly half of U.S. hiring managers report that they do not see enough qualified candidates when they have an open position. Simply employing the same tried and true recruiting methods will be insufficient in the current candidate market.

In hiring environments such as this, recruiters should be creative and proactive in their sourcing methods to find the right candidate. Networking, industry-specific job boards, and social media platforms are all ways to find candidates. Many organizations still do not utilize these channels effectively.

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[Image] Employer and candidate negotiating with recruiter in between them

By Kelly Nelson

It is common for the client and candidate to seek the recruiter’s guidance when it comes to the negotiation stage of the recruitment process. The recruiter needs to develop a true trust relationship with both the client and the candidate.

While the recruiter must understand the objectives and limitations of his or her client company, they must also understand the various motivations of the candidate. This results in the recruiter’s ability to pull both parties together in any negotiation. The experienced recruiter should have the ability to form creative solutions that draw on these understandings and provide meaningful benefit to each party.

Negotiating For Clients

The recruiter must be able to suggest creative solutions to clients that provide unique methods of reaching closure with candidates. Oftentimes, the client company is unable and unwilling to adjust the base salary when asked by the candidate. There are many ways to solve this apparent impasse. We have assisted clients in creating partial guarantee bonuses, sign on bonuses, additional perquisites, more aggressive bonus plans, and enhanced relocation packages that result in narrowing the gap between the two parties’ negotiation positions.

Read More: Ask a Recruiter: What Company Perks Do Candidates Really Want?

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business woman with question marks over head thinking about executive recruitment questions

Looking to find the right candidate for the company? Hiring an executive recruiter can be beneficial to employers – not only does it alleviate the workload of the search process, but it also brings an industry expert’s perspective in filling the position based on the needs and desires of the company. Before fully committing to the idea of utilizing an executive search firm’s services, it’s understandable for clients to have questions, especially if it’s their first time working with a recruiter.

We asked our recruiters to answer client’s commonly asked questions regarding the executive recruitment process.

Q: Bristol Associates, Inc. is based in Los Angeles, CA. Do you manage searches in areas other than the West Coast?

Kelly Nelson, Sr. Vice President

A: We have been recruiting on a National basis for the past 30 years. There was a time when recruiters were geographically focused. The advances in communications, the internet, social media, and job boards have enabled recruiters to reposition on a national (and international) basis. We regularly conduct search assignments in the Midwest, East Coast, Southeast, and Southwestern United States. With that said, the question is appropriate as there are recruiters who have not adjusted their focus. Our national reach allows us to source candidates for key positions in all market areas.

(Click here to fill out Bristol Associates’ Employer Inquiry Form today!)

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Employers: Optimize the Recruitment Process

Thinking of hiring a recruiter to help find the right candidate? At Bristol Associates, our clients can expect confidentiality, responsiveness, professionalism, individualized service, and always going the extra mile. There are numerous ways for employers to work with the recruiter to improve the recruitment process for maximum results. Bristol’s Senior Vice President Peter Stern shares important advice and ways to utilize the recruiter throughout the recruitment process.

Stage 1: Finding the Right Recruiter

Thoroughly screen prospective recruiters. Not every recruiter brings the same level of recruitment expertise and industry knowledge – both of which are key to the success of the search. At Bristol, we specialize in recruitment in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital and healthcare, hotels and resorts, travel and tourism, and restaurant industries. To determine if the recruiter is the right fit for the search, ask the recruiter the following questions:

• Which industries do you specialize in? Within those industries, which functional areas do you focus on?
• Can you provide examples of recently completed searches related to our open position?
• Describe your search process and methodology.

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Myth vs. Facts Executive Recruiters

Not all search firms are created equally. From how executive recruiters operate to what industries they serve or job titles they target, jobseekers need to understand the differences. Armed with that knowledge, candidates and recruiters can work together to achieve the most successful outcome.

Bristol Associates asked three of their recruiters for input on what they felt were the most common misconceptions about those working in their field.

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Successful partnership between clients and executive recruiters

This year marks Bristol Associates’ 50th year in business. As experts in Executive Search, our experience has taught us a few things about the recruitment business. One that stands out is that a successful search is best achieved when there is a cooperative partnership between the client and the recruiter.

When each party does their part, the result is that the client hires a candidate who is personally and professionally qualified to lead and support their company.

As evidence of these successful partnerships, Bristol is proud to report that over 71% of our recruiting assignments come from our existing clients.

The following are guidelines that we follow, and we encourage our clients to follow, to help assure that each search is a success.

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