The search process typically covers the following steps and spans a time period of one week to five months depending upon the search complexity.
1. Defining the Search Process
Each hiring authority must understand the process outlined below, and realize that the success of the search requires a joint effort by all parties involved.
2. Initial Client Interview
The objective of this first meeting is for the Vitality team to gain an understanding of the client's organizational culture and the style of the decision-makers, as well as to develop specifics of the position to be filled. Information regarding responsibilities, goals, reporting relationships, personal qualities, experience level requirements and compensation must be discussed and agreed upon.
3. Confirming Search Criteria
With this information, a written position description is prepared by the Vitality team, detailing the essential aspects of the job, the personal characteristics of a successful candidate and the achievement levels of the desired candidate. The description is then sent to the client for review and approval, with all parties who interface with the position agreeing on its completeness. This summary then becomes a broad outline for Vitality Group with which to begin work and a common ground for evaluating and reviewing candidate qualifications.
4. Developing the Search Strategy
Developing a search strategy requires many hours of planning. The strategy becomes an operational business plan which enables the Vitality recruiting team to assess and prioritize: resources, identification methods, companies, people, experts, spheres of influence and information sources which will, ultimately, provide qualified referrals. Periodic brainstorming among the Vitality staff allows for additional ideas and input regarding the less obvious location of talent. Vitality Group’s objective is to determine the most thorough and efficient strategy that aims at a timely completion.
5. Preliminary Candidate Identification
To identify candidates, basic screening guidelines are used based on the client's concerns and the agreed specifications, which highlight a candidate's employment profile. General areas include: dollar earnings versus years of experience, past functional expertise and rapidity of promotion, education completed, and job changes and reasons. A typical search requires conversations with between 30 and 100 candidates before the finalists emerge.
Sourcing is the implementation of the search strategy, and is considered the key to the process. Moreover, a critical element of the search is to talk to people who are "accomplished achievers," executives met through past searches, industry experts or leaders and successful people in the construction industry known to excel at what they do.
7. Generating Referrals
Recommendations from "known achievers" usually identify the top candidates. Vitality Group will use communication skills to pinpoint the required profile. Knowing the source and their knowledge base enables the Vitality team to communicate the needs accordingly. Sources, when used effectively, allows the Vitality team to know the referred candidate's performance level, personality traits and expertise before contact is made.
8. Initial Candidate Evaluation
Potential candidates are telephone interviewed in-depth to assess their qualifications versus the established criteria. Emerging qualified candidates are then motivated to give further consideration to the position. If and when mutual interest is established, the candidate is then scheduled for personal interviews by the Vitality team.
9. Advocating the Company and the Position
This part of the process is one in which Vitality Group’s persuasive skills are paramount. Superior candidates who are high achievers are often successfully and happily employed and not actively seeking career changes. They are willing to listen, but will only consider opportunities which are logical progressions in their careers. Here at Vitality Group we are experts and know the “market and the client.” We communicate to the candidate how the advantages of the company and position can benefit him or her.
10. Personal In-depth Interviews
Recent and past behavior normally determines future performance; therefore, the face-to-face interviews focus largely on achievements and specific managerial areas of the job function. Recruitability, income expectations, family and general business acumen round out Vitality’s interview evaluation. Normally 5-15 candidates are interviewed, introducing only those individuals whose achievements are significant as they pertain to the position to be filled.
11. Candidate Presentation
The few prospects (usually 3-5) that emerge from this interview process as being particularly well suited for the position are then introduced to the client via a written profile. This outline presents not only factual information about the candidate's job history, responsibilities, accomplishments and background, but also contains Vitality Group’s subjective assessment of the candidate's qualifications for the position.
The client can expect the first candidates to be presented within 5-7 weeks after the initiation of the search. It is important that the first candidate be interviewed quickly to ascertain if the job specification verification and search are "on target."
Reference checks are made on the candidates by contacting former supervisors and similarly informed individuals automatically during the course of the search. The process varies depending on the number and type of former employers, and in all instances, special care is given to corroborate the facts relevant to the particular position's needs as well as to the individual's ability to get along with others. Finally, criminal, credit, driving, education or other required credential verifications are carried out on all final-offer candidates at the request of the client.
Testing is another source of information in the decision-making area. The important thing to remember is that testing is only another source of information, not the deciding factor. Testing information, like many other facts, can and should serve as a developmental tool for both the candidate and the employer.
14. Negotiating and Closing
After a candidate is determined by consensus to be the top choice, it's time to convince that individual to make a change to the client company. As a knowledgeable intermediary, Vitality’s role is to work out any differences that might have a significant bearing on the final acceptance or rejection of an offer. Many candidates will receive counter-offers that the Vitality team will recognize early on, and deal with in advance. Creative solutions to the salary, relocation package, title and personal considerations can make the difference in a successful conclusion to the process, and should not be overlooked.
15. The Successful Conclusion
Close contact with both the employee and the client must be maintained to smooth the transition into the new relationship. This contact during the first three months after acceptance of the position assures both parties of our continuing interest in the success of the arrangement.
The process, as described, normally takes 60-150 days, but can vary, depending on many different circumstances. A successful conclusion requires both the skills provided by Vitality Group and the communicative rapport developed between the parties of the search to be blended together.
The client retains a search firm to uncover the widest range of available and qualified talent when he seeks to hire top-level executives. Vitality Group is motivated by its desire to establish a long-term business relationship with the client. This can only be accomplished by producing timely, quality results. If both the client and Vitality Group work closely together, the search can be a rewarding experience for all parties concerned.