Ensuring recruitment teams support your search for top Service Leaders

Having had the pleasure of being both a Regional HR Leader and a Head-hunter/Recruiter I have experienced all perspectives of this very complex but critical activity.

Having considered the options to fill a new or existing Service Leader vacancy of build (develop), borrow (temporary hire) or buy (permanent hire), you have now agreed to buy, i.e. to search externally to help with the continued evolution of the Service business.

Your previous experience may have been wonderful, if that is the case, repeat; however, we find that most people’s experience of searching externally for Service Leaders has been less than successful and often frustrating.   The key reasons for this can be summarised into 4 key areas:

  • The company is evolving, and because of the lack of internal knowledge and experience, you are not clear on the Service Leader job profile!
  • You have not documented the Service Leader profile at all or not in sufficient detail for the outside agency to help pinpoint the required individual.
  • You have written a job profile, but it is limited to the current context or the role that the previous incumbent fulfilled versus be future orientated.
  • There are not sufficient Service Leader bespoke recruitment agencies, as a consequence, they bundle this very important growth area under areas such as Engineers.
  • If you find an agency with some knowledge of Service jobs, their lack of commercial acumen challenges them with the questions or areas to explore.

So here is a quick four-step guide to getting the most out of your agency:

  1. Step 1 – Specify
    • All positions are a consequence of their context. To capture this, prepare a summary of your Business, Service, Organisational and People context. This is the best way to avoid lost time and misaligned candidate sourcing.
    • Map your current maturity level in Service and set out your future ambition and outline how this position is critical to making it happen.
    • Develop a comprehensive job description capturing the skills and accountabilities required for the position, what motivational factors are key and how he or she will fit in your company environment. This will include having a comprehensive understanding of the location, salary, incentives and benefits.
    • Size-up the position through numbers and performance measures, illustrating both a short and a long-term perspective.
    • Prepare a detailed summary of the above to manage the interview process as well as being able to fairly and accurately compare and qualify the candidates in preparation for shortlisting 3-5 candidates.   You should share this with your recruitment agency, taking the time to ensure they fully understand the job.
  1. Step 2 – Source
    • Advise the recruitment agency that during the initial stages of the candidate sourcing they should share a few candidate profiles that they believe meet the criteria.   This calibration exercise will ensure that they continue appropriately, and you do not lose time in the process.
    • If during the sourcing process the agency does not provide appropriate candidates realign with them as this is critical to ensure they put their effort in the right place.
  1. Step 3 – Screen
    • Ensure the recruitment agency provide you with a comprehensive overview of the candidates and their suitability for the position.   If you just receive a CV and/or LinkedIn profile push back as they have not completed their contribution correctly. You really need to see a comment on each of the job requirements and the candidate’s suitability.
    • Internally plan and develop an up-to-date, preferably on-line interview schedule and ensure the use of well-functioning camera and sound technologies for both the initial interviews as well as the final interviews.   We use Zoom and Acuity scheduling.
    • Consider applying best-practice behaviour-based interviewing techniques to ensure you are capturing the most relevant data and asking appropriate value-added questions.
    • Consider the use of leadership/psychometric assessments as they can really provide indicative information about the attributes of the candidate.
    • Take an active part in the interview process and expect regular updates on progress and if necessary, adjust the specifications based on ongoing learnings.
    • Having completed all the required interviews internally, ensure all stakeholders views are heard and you calibrate each candidate to ensure alignment.
  1. Step 4 – Select
    • Final step is to select the candidate that will be offered the position. Having defined salary ranges up-front, based on company guidelines, market values, business growth expectations, benchmarks and your negotiation windows, the offer should be constructed asap to ensure you do not lose the candidate during this period. It is often the case that a verbal offer is made first to ensure the candidate is equally engaged to move forward.
    • Ensure your employment contracts are relevant, forward-looking, easy to use, legally correct and look professional.
    • Negotiation time varies, but one finalised communicate accordingly. If the candidate does not accept, clearly you may have a plan B candidate, or sadly you will have to repeat the process.

Good luck with your talent search and if you get stuck or feel you need support or even want to outsource the entire process, do not hesitate to make contact with us at: [email protected]

Richard Cowley

Founder and Partner – Service Leaders Matters.

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Service Leaders Matters partners with B2B businesses to assess and acquire top service leadership talent to drive breakthrough performance.