By Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting Inc.
Successfully growing your merchant services business in today's world is a challenge. No matter your location or specialty, the need for dynamic leaders with the right mix of skills, experience and cultural compatibility is critical; leaders who can successfully guide your payments business in a rapidly changing economy.
More than ever, thriving businesses are turning to executive recruiting firms to find their next great leader. Here's why:
The best candidates for senior management and leadership positions are passive people who are currently employed by your key competitors and are successful in their current assignment.
The same can be said for senior sales executives, risk management professionals, technology experts and product managers that you need to grow your merchant services business.
A good recruiter is able to tap into a network of these professionals who are inactively on the job market to dramatically increase the candidate pool.
Additionally, since the best candidates are already employed, many of them will deal only with a recruiter; they appreciate the worth of third-party representation, confidentiality and professional mediation.
This audience of passive candidates will not have resumes posted on the Internet, or respond to classified advertising or contingency recruiters - they don't have to. They are successful in their current career and fully occupied in meeting the challenges and opportunities of your payment industry competitors.
The focus on senior management recruiting gives executive search firms the research departments and methodology to identify and recruit candidates who are currently employed by your key competitors.
As a result, executive search firms are able to contact this pool of management talent.
Top-notch executive talent is a scarce commodity. The limited contacts of in-house human resource departments can't compare with the wide net cast by a recruiter's network. Recruitment firms can bring in top talent from across the globe.
Executive recruiters bring valuable objectivity and feedback to management. The search is time consuming, conducted more efficiently by those with several years of experience.
This experience allows recruiters to effectively help clients evaluate their expectations, review relevant organization structure and reporting, and define a realistic profile and compensation package for the open position.
Search firms will provide objective feedback on the candidates and advice to the client. As experts in research and reference checking, executive recruiters can glean significant information from even reluctant reference-givers.
Think of it this way: If you run a merchant level salesperson (MLS) team for 10 years, you become an expert in leading and motivating MLSs.
The executive recruiter's field is interviewing, evaluating and placing top talent. Every business owner knows hiring great leaders will pay off, and competent recruiting firms are the best way to ensure that happens.
The payments industry is a closely networked group and recruiters observe strict confidentiality. Nearly all senior managers know that executive search firms handle senior level assignments and have demonstrated the ability to use discretion and maintain confidentiality.
Organizations with a key opening can be vulnerable. Confidentiality can keep competitors from being tipped off to management shake-ups, new product and market initiatives.
It can also protect against employee and supplier apprehension. Recruiters value the sensitive information they become aware of during the search process and respect their client's vulnerability.
The benefit of using a recruiter can be weighed against the cost of preparing and executing an advertisement campaign, screening and qualifying candidates, and operating without a needed employee for an extended length of time compared to the relative insurance of getting the right person for the job.
The use of recruiters is an investment. Beyond that, the risk of not using recruiters can be great. For smaller companies - where one hiring mistake can have disastrous results - using recruiters is sometimes more important than for larger companies.
People are a company's most important asset; they can make or break the fortunes of a business. Professional recruiters can deliver the right people for today's highly competitive business environment.
There are two main differences between contingency and retained search firms: how they look for candidates and how they get paid. Contingency firms are transaction-oriented - that is, they only get paid if you hire a candidate they presented to you.
When they find a top-notch candidate, they present the hot prospect to as many firms as possible. Contingency firms may require a smaller fee, but they work on many more jobs. This lessens the attention on your needs.
If your company is looking to quickly fill a lower level position, using a contingency firm could be a good move. Contingency firms have a great "deal flow" of candidates, which means they can meet short-term staffing needs.
Retained search firms, on the other hand, are consulting-oriented - they get the same fees no matter how long it takes to find the right candidate. These firms fill your company's vacancies by getting to know your needs and locating a candidate with those exact skills.
In essence, retained firms work for you. They are best-suited for strategically important positions or senior-level management positions where there are fewer qualified candidates, and the challenge is recruiting the talent from a competitor.
I've been asked a few times if, as the president of an executive recruiting firm, I use recruiters to fill any positions. The answer is yes.
And I don't just mean the recruiting firm that filled our office manager position on a temporary basis. Twice in my career I've commissioned an executive search firm to find me the best recruiter with a particular skill set.
I realize that my specialty is recruiting in the merchant services and payments industry, and I don't have an incredible network of executive recruiters to draw from.
There are a few search firms that specialize in placing recruiters, so I turned to their expertise and extensive contacts. I also used a recruiting firm to contact a potential candidate that I knew.
I valued the confidentiality the recruiter brings, and we ended up hiring that candidate.
These are just a few of the reasons successful companies now turn to search firms. The payments industry will continue to grow as consumers pay more electronically.
But, will your organization be positioned right to reap the rewards? You can make sure your growing firm grabs maximum market share by using executive recruiters to find your next great leader.
Curt Hensley is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of CSH Consulting (www.cshconsulting.com), a recruiting firm exclusively focused on the payments industry. He and his leadership team have over 50 years of combined experience in recruiting and merchant acquiring.
This niche focus and deeply-rooted expertise have made it possible for CSH to have placed more than 1,000 professionals over the past seven years. Contact Curt at 480-315-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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