By Debra Feldman, JobWhiz, Executive Talent Agent
Having an executive talent agent is a competitive advantage providing expert confidential, personalized career guidance, exclusive entrée to prime inside connections as well as comprehensive professional services that support the daily needs of busy executives.
Executive talent agents and headhunters (also called executive search consultants or external recruiters) are often confused. They appear to produce the same outcome: introducing executives to potential new employers. However, there is an unmistakable distinction. The two professions are paid by, loyal to and represent separate parties that may have different priorities and opposite interests related to the same recruiting transaction.
Headhunters stay in business by satisfying their corporate client’s, i.e. an employer’s, mandate. They find appropriate prospects to fill an open position. They are not outplacement specialists. They don’t create new jobs or find spots for individuals.
Headhunters are paid by employers to identify and attract new talent that exactly matches the employer’s specific requirements. Their role is to source the perfect candidate and manage the applicant pool. Thus, headhunters frequently exert control over the recruiting process by limiting executives’ ability to communicate directly with company insiders, those with actual hiring authority.
On the other hand, executive talent agents are consultants to individual executives and have been compared to the agent model in the entertainment field and sports industry. As experts, executive talent agents provide a competitive advantage for the individuals whose careers they manage. Their knowledge, guidance, connections and business savvy propel their clients’ success. Individual executives, not employers, pay an executive talent agent for services that include being their personal coach, mentor, representative,
advocate, confidant, and scout. An executive talent agent can be a long term partner or retained on a short term basis to advise on a job search campaign.
Their remuneration ranges from a percentage of an executive client’s annual compensation to a project-based or hourly fee. Agents usually differentiate their practice by industry sector or functional discipline.
Executive talent agents are not a substitute for executive search consultants and vice versa. Search consultants put their employer-clients first. Executive talent agents evaluate situations from the personal perspective of individual executives. Here are more details about executive talent agents and the exclusive benefits they provide for their executive clients.
· Providing objective advice and counsel gleaned from a wide range of practical industry and personal experience- more than any one person might gather in a single lifetime.
· Devoting 100% of their time and resources to their client’s career management issues. Customer service is top priority. Sample assignments include developing strategy, evaluating alternatives, analyzing deal structure, researching and collecting information, preparing documents, initiating introductions, planning new mandates, conducting follow-up activities, etc.
· Maintaining their client’s privacy and conducting business or setting up meetings on a confidential basis. Protecting the client’s current status while pursuing more rewarding future challenges consistent with the client’s career goals.
· Incented financially and motivated by client’s success in finding a new job or getting promoted or closing a deal on favorable terms, not satisfying an employer’s needs.
· Independent agent: not restricted by employer-defined recruiting agreements that limit which other employers they are allowed to propose an executive as a prospective candidate.
· Each executive’s career comes first. No limitations on where an executive is introduced based on other search engagements undertaken by other headhunters in the firm.
· Access to the 80% of executive positions that are not advertised. Agents deliver leads in the hidden job market. Establishing new connections for their clients to place them on the radar screens of hiring authorities in advance of other potential candidates.
· Bypassing human and automated gatekeepers and opening closed doors to connect clients with hiring decision makers, key industry leaders and academic trendsetters. Promoting their client’s visibility, building their client’s credibility and strengthening their client’s competitive positioning for their next gig.
· Unparalleled cachet that differentiates an agent’s clients commanding attention, developing credibility and promoting meaningful dialogues with contacts leading to productive business relationships, new opportunities and creative ventures.
Retaining an executive talent agent is an investment. Those most likely to appreciate and value this relationship are executives that fit into the following categories.
· Doesn’t have a network or known contacts are not generating leads
· High stakes campaign: search must be confidential, discreet, sophisticated
· Re-entry candidate emerging from a sabbatical or early retirement
· Changing career or industry: needs new, targeted inside contacts
· Not prepared for today’s complex job market. ” I never had to look for a job before because I was always promoted or recruited.”
· Limited time and restricted availability for networking and researching
· Job search progress stalled and needs diagnostic to remove barriers
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