How do you evaluate the call from a search firm or a recruitment consultant?
Most of the time we have seen people asking these questions in their first conversation, when approached by a search consultant.
- Name of the company?
- What’s the designation?
- What’s the compensation being offered?
Smarter ones typically also do a check on:
- What’s the business of the company?
- Is the position a business level role or a HO level role?
- Whom does the position report to?
- Is it a team role or a stand alone role?
As of now, we are talking about the prelim conversation only. This prelim conversation is typically a conversation which allows a recruiter to do a basic check on interest and background of the candidate and allows a candidate to get a basic feel of the company and the position that’s being discussed.
Based on the questions and the typical responses provided by the recruiter or the search consultant, the candidate decides to proceed by sending his / her resume and scheduling another call or meeting, etc. This conversation also is a window for the recruiter to get a feel on interest level and suitability of the candidate for the position.
While there is nothing wrong with the above questions, your approach as a candidate should ideally be more thoughtful and planned, if you are supposed to evaluate any opportunity seriously.
What should be your approach when a search consultant calls you to discuss your interest as well as your suitability for a certain position ?
If you receive a call when you are not comfortable having a conversation, request the consultant or the recruiter to call at a suitable time that suits you and allows you to have a detailed conversation.
If you are not looking out for a job change in a short to mid-term time frame, it makes sense to make it clear to the consultant at the very beginning of the conversation. You may also ask the consultant to drop you an email , so that you can get in touch with him or her if at all you need to look out for a job position in future.
If due to any reason, you are a passive job seeker – i.e you are not too keen to change, but may consider if there is any suitable or relevant opportunity for you, you may decide to explore further.
If you are an active job seeker, don’t rush into sending your profile or confirming your interest at the first line of conversation. Ideally, you should seek adequate level of clarity before expressing your interest for any job offering.
Some questions that you should clearly ask the recruiter, possibly at the very beginning. This is seriously advised in case of middle & senior level positions.
- Why have you profiled me as a prospective applicant for the position?
- Why do you think I fit in to this role?
These questions will allow you to get a perspective on the recruiters seriousness and understanding of your experience and fitment.
- Avoid the trap of focussing too much on designation. It differs company to company.
- Don’t get influenced by “compensation is negotiable” tag. There is always a boundary. Do your research to figure out the boundary, any direct questions may lead to a “hazy” answer.
- Avoid getting too much influenced by the team size, etc.of the role.
You need to understand some facts very clearly that at times recruiters, search consultants and even the hiring team at a company are not too sure of the compensation that’s proposed to be offered. Specially, when it is about a new set up, a new position. Looking at the business model, business size, their plans, you should be in a position to judge if they can afford you for the concerned position. In new businesses or new business divisions for existing companies, offers and designations can be flexible to some extent.
And for organised set up, established and mature companies, the compensation, designation, levels and bands are pretty standardised. It makes sense to do your background research to see if you can fit in and at what levels, etc. These companies normally won’t bend their benchmarks unless and until they find some super star talent.
Team size of the role is ideally dependent on the business model, nature of role, etc. and does not reflect on the power and authority of a role. For example, in a small setup – a VP Sales, may have a direct / indirect team of 400 people, while the VP – Marketing may have to do with about 4-5 people team. Typically, operational roles have large team sizes, and SME’s, Strategy functions have smaller team size.
Team Size, Compensation, Designation – should any way not be the prime criteria about evaluating your interest in a particular position.
What is the information that you should ideally look for before affirming your interest in a position ?
- How is the new role going to add value to your career aspirations going forward?
- Will you be able to leverage your learning’s and experience of the past, or will you be able to add on to your past learning and experience.
- Does the new position allow you any opportunity for growth – responsibility wise, financially, etc.
- Does the new opportunity allow an exposure to learn a new set of skills, or allows exposure to a new industry
- What kind of network will you be able to create in the new set up?
- What degree of independence, decision making, etc. would be allowed in the concerned position?
- What’s the culture of the organisation? Will you be able to enjoy your stint and tenure there?
The above questions can be used as a framework for planning your prelim interaction as well as for your subsequent interaction’s. They can also allow you to decide and finally confirm on the offer.