In my family, I’m usually the only one who knows anything about my brother’s latest whereabouts. He’s a very busy lawyer in the early phase of building his own law firm, which has occupied his life 24/7 the last couple of years. Before becoming a lawyer, his work had already become his lifestyle years ago when he was giving his all to another law-firm. For some years now, there has not been room for anything else in his priorities.
Answering phone calls from the family did not make it to the priority list. So, as a default, all calls to him are left unanswered, sometimes because he’s stuck in court and can’t answer, sometimes because he’s in a client meeting and can’t answer, and sometimes because he simply has to ignore the call, since he’s too busy finishing a legal document that has to be flawless by the next morning.
But, once in a while, he’s enjoying a relaxed moment and remembers the many missed calls and unanswered messages from his older brother. Then he might send a short reply about the next available moment to speak, exchange a longer email or he might even call back for an hour or two of quality time to share updates about the latest developments. This is very valuable for our relationship to be up to date, no matter how long the dialogue.
Much like in Executive Search, the key to successfully maintaining a good relationship is that on one side of the line, there is a very dedicated caller, who understands that the candidates (the lawyer brother in the example above) on the other side of the line can be too busy to answer most of the time. Reaching the right person at the right time sometimes simply requires to keep on calling with dedication and optimism, at different times, until that golden moment arrives.
In an Executive Search process, the researcher role is key. Candidate identification and first contacts are truly the foundation for a good process. The first dialogues are fundamental to understand what interests and aspirations candidates have, to see if a specific opportunity might be the right next step in the career.
Some candidates answer directly on our calls and follow-up calls and are happy to tell us about their latest developments. Although they might not at all be interested in any change of employment at the moment, they value our contact and look forward to the next call. Many candidates however, much like my brother, just don’t answer. It might be that they can’t fit in the time or energy to answer seemingly non-urgent phone calls from unknown numbers. For whatever reason, many candidates are hard to reach.
But, once in a while, someone is enjoying a relaxed moment and remembers the missed calls or unanswered messages from a particular recruitment consultant. Then he or she might even call back for a minute or two of quality time. Sometimes there is room for several minutes of telephone conversation, and sometimes even as much as half an hour or more. A short indication of when to call back more conveniently is valuable for the contact to continue smoothly. A short update about the latest developments in the current position and interest, if any, is a good indication of what kind of opportunities might be interesting later on for the next career step. A slightly longer conversation could give more concrete information about what kind of opportunities could be the right ones.
Last but not least, most of our contacts appreciate and value having an informed headhunter assisting with the next opportunity, whenever the time might be right, and especially when you don’t have time to think about it. We are happy to be in a relationship with you and believe that you’ll be happy to be in a relationship with us too. Just pick up the phone every once in a while. Save our phone number the first or next time we call. Remember, we might help you to the next step in your career.