Do Sharks Eat People?
Keep in mind that not all sharks are man-eaters and not all executive recruiters are poachers. The key is finding the “right” executive recruiter. Perhaps you want the Great White of recruiters but keep in mind; they may one day be poaching top talent out from under you.
Just as with sharks, there most certainly are rogue executive recruiters – the ones who readily “bite the hand that feeds them.”
How Can You Tell a Poacher from a Professional?
Ask them about their process. Keep in mind they will not provide you with their “secret sauce,” however, they should explain a general overview of their recruiting strategy.
The “right” executive recruiter will confidently speak to their expansive network of professional contacts of which they have built mutual trust with. The “wrong” executive recruiter will arrogantly refuse to elaborate and state something like, “that is what you are paying me for.”
The “right” executive recruiter invests huge amounts of time, energy, and resources into building their network of first, second, and third connections. The “wrong” Executive Recruiter will simply dial for dollars and call complete strangers off of company directories that they purchased.
Statistically, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark. Likewise, you are more likely to find the best talent using an executive recruiter than from hiring on your own.
Find an executive recruiter who works within a reputable firm (not out of their basement). Confirm they specialize in your field (not a generalist). Ensure they are the type of recruiter that understands your situation and can align you with the right talent (not a poacher).
Chances are that within the “right” executive recruiter’s already established network of contacts, you will discover that elusive and hidden talent you desire.
P.S. Never swim with Great White sharks and never hire a poacher for your recruiting.