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HUMAN RESOURCES

Headhunting

I overheard a conversation between an upset manager and a headhunter. The manager was angry because the headhunter told his colleagues that they could earn much more money with his client and that the client is a much better employer.
In this case I think the headhunter is a curse to himself, applicants, his client and the industry. Fortunately this is not a standard procedure and Slovakia has several very reliable recruiters taking their work very seriously.
But to select the good ones from the bad ones is not always that easy. Below are some useful tips.


Gerard Koolen

I overheard a conversation between an upset manager and a headhunter. The manager was angry because the headhunter told his colleagues that they could earn much more money with his client and that the client is a much better employer.

In this case I think the headhunter is a curse to himself, applicants, his client and the industry. Fortunately this is not a standard procedure and Slovakia has several very reliable recruiters taking their work very seriously.

But to select the good ones from the bad ones is not always that easy. Below are some useful tips.

Which fee structure suits you best? Many recruiters like to work with a fee based on the gross monthly salary of the hired applicant. The higher the salary the more the recruiter will invoice you. This might not be what you want so you can ask for a fixed fee. When using a fixed fee you know in advance your recruitment costs and have the guarantee that your recruiter has no motivation to push up the salary level. The third possibility is a tariff-based fee: you pay for work done per day or per hour. The advantage is that your recruiter can dedicate his time fully to your project and you pay for work done only.

Having a database is not enough! If you have the impression that your recruiter is merely basing its search procedure on the contents of their database then be warned - a database is not a guarantee for a successful search. Successful searches are based on media-monitoring, advertising and internet support, database search and direct search.

Using advertising: Necessary or not? Many recruiters will ask for an extra advertising budget to support their search procedure. Beware! The danger is that they will base their total search procedure on advertisements. This is often a strong indication that they see no other way of getting qualified candidates. You might as well advertise yourself and save the headhunter's fee.

No-cure, no-pay or working with a retainer? The advantage of the first alternative is that if your recruiter does not provide qualified applicants you do not pay anything. The disadvantage is that because you do not make a commitment to your recruiter you run the risk that they will not fully dedicate their time on your search and selection project.

Avoid working with more than one recruiter on a project - there are some very counter-productive aspects: the labour market in Slovakia is small and the chances are that both headhunters will come up with the same candidates. So who are you going to pay? The recruiter who is first? This forces recruiters to be quick and the quality of the selection procedure is under pressure as speed and quantity become more important than quality.

Guarantee conditions: usually a three-month guarantee on hired candidates is used. The longer the guarantee, the higher the fee. A longer term guarantee is a commitment from the recruiter. Also make sure you have a detailed profile and a good job description. This forms the base of the search process and when this base is missing the chances are that you will not get the applicants you are looking for.

Gerard Koolen is a partner at Lugera & Maklér. His column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to gerard.koolen@lugera.com.

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