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By Steve Margalit

What FPC recruiters thinkThere’s no doubt recruiting has evolved immensely in recent times – and will continue to do so. New innovations in recruiting (i.e. social media and AI) can help us find high-quality candidates in this elusive “quality candidate” market, but only if we recruiters know how to adapt.  In Part IV of our new series entitled “Does Anyone Care What the Recruiter Thinks?” we had the chance to sit down with another industry expert who gave us his perspective on the state of the recruiting industry and some thoughts on how the specialists on his team have been able to thrive and remain relevant.  Bob Shanley has been a Senior Recruiter and the Chief Operating Officer of FPC of Houston for the past 23 years.  He has leveraged his industry knowledge to become a trusted advisor to both his candidates and clients.

Below are some excerpts from our interview:

What types of clients have you been most successful with?

 “Steve, my team at FPC of Houston believes that partnering with our clients is the key to making successful placements. We are in the recruiting business, but to be perfectly honest, we are really matchmakers.  A successful placement is very similar to arranging a life-long marriage.  We have a proven track record of success with companies that have open communication with us.  The more information we have about a hiring manager, the job details, compensation, benefits, company culture…. the closer the resumes we send are to the bullseye.  We have been the most successful with clients that give us the selling points to discuss the real opportunity their organization can provide for our candidates.  They also help us understand the challenges of filling certain roles.”

“In addition, Steve, the clients FPC of Houston works with tend to be very technology driven.  We partner with large publicly traded companies that have talent acquisition groups and also small companies that are backed by private equity.  The skill sets required can vary drastically.  We have the same goal for all of our clients, establishing a long-term candidate / client relationship (marriage).”

 What frustrates you most about working with certain companies?

“Well, Steve, every company has their unique set of issues, and not all candidates are perfect either.  It is important to address these issues early in the relationship.  Most areas of frustration can be overcome with a little planning and communication, putting procedures in place. If I had to choose one area that frustrates us the most it is “THE PORTAL”.  20 years ago if you would have asked me what a PORTAL was, I would have instructed you to watch some Star Trek rerun showing Captain Kirk traveling through a wormhole in his starship.  It’s a doorway to an alternative universe!  Unfortunately, that is how most recruiters / candidates / companies feel about THE PORTAL (wormhole to alternative universe) today as well.  Over the last 10 years, PORTALS have been developed for everything.  JOB PORTALS, CANDIDATE PORTALS, COMPLIANCE PORTALS, HR PORTALS, TRACKING PORTALS, SUPPLY CHAIN PORTALS, ACCOUNTING PORTALS…….  Each portal has unique procedures that are not always clearly defined.  Candidates submit resumes into the CANDIDATE PORTAL and they disappear into an alternate universe. Invoices are uploaded into A/P PORTALS and they end up in the same place.  Most of THE PORTALS are set up and managed by 3rd party companies.  There is a bit of a disconnect between THE PORTAL creator and the CLIENT.  Clearly set goals, performance objectives, and quality levels are not always defined.  Steve, at FPC of Houston, we have established a file on our server dedicated to “THE PORTAL”.  In the folder we have documented the appropriate procedures for working with all of the different company portals.  Each company has their own folder in “THE PORTAL” file with instructions on how to deal with their specific portals.  I am happy to report that FPC of Houston has overcome 99% of portal issues.”  That is great to hear, Bob!

What attributes do you look for when searching for candidates? 

“Every recruiter is always looking for the “Perfect Resume / Perfect Candidate”, Steve.  Someone that has a stable job history, good schools, well-trained, excellent communication skills, open to relocation, reasonable compensation requirements, and career driven…, however, we know the perfect resume / candidate rarely exists.  In fact, sometimes if the candidate is too perfect for a job, a non-compete agreement can prevent a competitor from hiring them for a role.  We tend to “Look outside the box” when screening candidates.  Certain attributes / skills transfer well to other industries.  The “WHY” and “WHAT” are two questions that should be answered with every candidate.

  1.  WHY are you looking to change jobs (what is wrong with your current role)?
  2.  WHAT are you trying to accomplish with a job change (goal of job search)?

I really can’t assist a candidate with their job search unless I know what the problem is with their current employer.  What is their motivation for starting the job search?  Additionally, switching jobs doesn’t make any sense unless you are accomplishing a goal.  Better room for advancement, AAA company, shorter commute, larger role, closer to family, and management responsibility.  If a candidate does not provide a “GOAL” for their job search I typically tell them to stay where they are currently working.” 

In your opinion, what is the future of executive recruiting?

“Steve, I’ve seen recruiting evolve a lot over the last 25 years.  When I started in the business we were still using fax machines and a messenger service for communication.  The core goal of our business has not really changed much over the last 50 years.  Simply put, find top talent for your clients and they will continue to utilize your executive recruiting company.  The better you are at “Matchmaking”, the more companies and candidates will want to work with you.  Candidates and clients are looking for an executive recruiter that takes the time to get to know them.  Our business is not only about making placements, it is more about helping companies / candidates accomplish their short and long-term goals.”

Thank you, Bob, for continuing the discussion in this final installment of our four part series on hiring through the eyes of an Executive Recruiter.  Your insights on the industry are appreciated.  Best of luck to you on continued success in 2019. For more information, or to find out how we can help, feel free to reach out at smargalit@fpcnational.com

Missed Part I, Part II or Part III?  Does Anyone Care What the Recruiter Thinks? Part I , features Jeff Herzog, President of FPC, discussing the importance of talent acquisition and placing a premium on hiring the right talent.  You can also gain more recruiting insight from Ben Gidwani, President of FPC of Orlando, regarding the time and effort devoted to thoroughly understanding the culture, personality, and unique needs of the client company in order to present qualified candidates who will fit smoothly and comfortably into the company in Does Anyone Care What the Recruiter Thinks? Part II.  And you can read how Gilly Hitchcock, Owner/President of FPC of Bangor collaborates with her clients in Does Anyone Care What the Recruiter Thinks? Part III.

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