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Why You Should Return the Recruiter's Phone Call...

February 3, 2009
by Tim Tolan
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OK -
you know the drill… An inbound phone calls comes in and it sounds something like this: “Hi this is John Smith with (fill in the blank search firm) and I wanted to reach out to you today to network with you on a search opportunity my firm is working on”.

You have a several choices on how to respond:

A – You could ignore the call entirely.

B – You could call the search consultant and ask them to NEVER call you again!

C – You could call the search consultant and listen to what they have to say and begin to build a professional relationship assuming they know what they are doing and understand the healthcare IT space. That assumes you like their communication style and their professional style “feels right”. You either connect with them or NOT!

Clearly most good search firms will reach out to CIO’s that already have a job. That is what they get paid to do. Find “passive candidates” and explain what search assignment(s) they are working on - in the event that CIO knows someone that might be a good fit. It’s all about the networking. OK – it’s the “quid pro quo” - you help me and I. in turn will help you (at some future date).

You may think you know – but the reality is that you never know what the future holds. It is a good strategy to have a network of professional search firms that you can call on if you need talent for your own organization – or for YOU! It just makes good business sense.

So… the next time the phone rings and a recruiter leaves you a message – how will you respond?

Will it be A-B or C?

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Comments

speaking of job boards :) www.healthcare-informatics.com/careers

Point well taken Anthony! Any solid healthcare IT executive could simply ask the recruiter a few basic questions to determine if they are knowledgeable about the healthcare IT space. If, however the recruiter gives the CIO the impression that they are a job board (resume throwing) non-professional - my (professional) advice is to RUN and RUN FAST!!!

Tim,
I'm surprised and perhaps disappointed that you're seeing A and B behavior.

I learn as much or more about the industry from dialogues with retained search consultants than I do from knowledgeable peers. The great ones always build relationships through disclosure.

Amongst things I've learned recently:

-There are a lot of searches "on hold" search consultants are honest that they're frustrated with their client, while fully appreciating the honest dilemma.

-There are a lot of candidates being interviewed and eliminated and I'm learning why.

-There are several large organizations with understandable but deep flaws in their position description documents, revealing their level of sophistication.

I appreciate the time you've been taking to share the challenges of search. This is very important work.

It probably helps to be aware of the reputable search firms in the healthcare IT space. All firms were not created equal and it's far different to offend someone from Monster.com than to offend someone intimately involved in the space you'll be calling home for the rest of your life.

Anthony - ditto back to you on the HI job board!
Joe - we see this behavior all of the time and its short sided thinking on the part of the person we are calling. What's interesting is if/when they lose their job - the very person they have been ignoring is the first one they contact! Go figure!
Yes the search assignments are less frequent in this market — but companies continue to hire. This is an economic time when deep meaningful client relationships matter. The search firms that think of search in more of a transactional way and less in a strategic way are probably feeling the downside the most. It will get better! Promise!!!

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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