HUNTING THE HEADHUNTERS - PEOPLE MAKE OR BREAK COMPANIES
Unfortunately the awareness of what headhunting means for business is (still) not widely known. In most cases it is an attempt to inflict massive damage upon the competition to gain advantage for yourself.
Middlemen/women contact members of a group of potential employees which they have identified through careful research (target list) – usually under odd pretexts – to interest them in an open position.
This behaviour tears an employee out of his sometimes long term work environment. This means a massive loss of informal knowledge for the employer (if it was a good employee). Specialized knowledge is relatively easily to replace, social competence is however much more difficult to find and the internal know-how must be built anew over a period of months.
For the future employer this means that the desired candidate enters the salary negotiations with particularly high self confidence- because he/she belongs to the few »chosen ones«. This means in practice: the demands grow. And they do this every time a headhunter calls. Experts opine that this is a factor which led to the problem situation of German banks in Frankfurt: in a bizarre form of incest the individual institutes headhunted the same employees using ever increasing pay offers; a completely unreal pay structure was thus created.
I call this a type of economic piracy. Regardless of the fact that it is questionable practice to search for a job for someone who is already employed, it should go against the ethics of the consultants to operate in these grey and black job markets, especially in times of high unemployment.
Also the banal concept that someone who works for the competition will also work well for you, is quite incorrect. It is just as bad as the idea that the motto »bring your family«; makes for successful personnel politics. In both cases the quality of the decision is based on subjective preferences and common interests and does not take personal, professional and positionspecific demands into consideration.
Careful consideration of the human factor and a rigorous personnel selection procedure ensures a firm’s future wellbeing.
This means: a reasonable requirements profile as the basis of every successful selection; writing an objective advertising text aiming at the target group (and not to please the general director!); using the print media in the active job market and not just trusting to blind luck on the internet.
This procedure nets a large amount of applicants from the active job market. Among these, suitable candidates are practically always to be found. To identify these, one should (be able to) hold at least 20-30 structured interviews; competence analysis questionnaires should be given to all candidates on the shortlist and then also a friendly assessment centre of at least three and maximum four hours duration. After thirty years in business I can assure you: this is the only guaranteed way!