Veteran executive recruiter Rick Deare doesn’t mind the term “headhunter.” In fact he even uses it on his Deare Recruiting Solutions website. But he contends that problem solver is a better way to describe what he does.
“We have always been tasked with identifying strong talent,” says Deare. “But we’re being asked to make more real contributions to hiring managers these days, and that means being a bigger, better and broader problem solver.”
Part of that process for Deare means focusing on the best possible candidate as opposed to the most accessible.
“When I introduce myself as a recruiter in public circumstances I find people generally receptive to having a conversation. Even if they’re not looking right now, many people seem genuinely interested about career leverage possibilities that might exist for them in the future. I’m fairly well known, so when we have opportunities, we can present them directly to top performers.”
Deare is a former sales executive himself, so that was a natural niche for him when he started his company back in 1998.
He says the sales space is strong right now because there is a strong push for revenue.
“Companies need to do more with less. So they are looking for sales people and sales managers that are able to start performing at a high level right away, developing strong client relationships and capturing revenue quickly.”
I asked him what he thinks of the performance of the recruiting industry as a whole.
“I just don’t have a strong sense of the entire industry nationwide,” said Deare, choosing his words deliberately. “I do know however there is such a vast difference in terms of the level of professionalism, the way people develop relationships, their understanding of the needs of hiring managers and executives and the business of their clients.”
In fact, those things he just cited could be the key competitive differentiators among recruiters.
I also wondered about tools of the trade, and whether he thinks effective use of technology can also be a differentiator.
“We use a recruiting management system, or RMS, that track all of our activities that occur within the search business. We’ve been doing that for three years. We use all of the other social media tools, and were early into that. But I think most people, if not everyone, in the business uses these tools. So the things that set you apart are connections and the ability to have strong business conversations based in fact.”
“The things that set you apart are connections and the ability to have strong business conversations based in fact.”
Deare added that those conversations are easier to have these days with more tools and channels. He said “the phone is still your best friend, but the old rolodex is now your database and the phone book has converted to things such as LinkedIn.”
As for the future of the business? He said the search criteria supplied by his clients are more specific, something he expects to continue. To that end, Deare also looks for demands to increase, all the way around.
“My clients want me to be a difference maker. They want me to help give them a competitive edge with their new hires. I think in the future this business will require higher and higher levels of professionalism and it’s going to be more difficult and more complex and more time consuming. Through the ups and down and cycles of this business, the straight line through it all is going to be providing quality, reliable work with speed and accuracy.”