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Kokott, Wood & Associates

Why the Recruiter must Fully Understand the Client and their Business

In today's job market, the executive search process entails appreciable time and research in order to effectively pair the right candidates with the right client positions. Professional recruiting firms are quick to accentuate the importance of understanding their clients' businesses in order for them to identify the best-suited candidates. The national executive search firm, Kokott, Wood & Associates, explains how their process is formulated to help their clients enlighten them about their businesses and respective needs. Klaus Kokott, managing partner of Kokott, Wood & Associates explained:

"An executive search firm must understand how to talk to its clients to acquire all the necessary information before presenting any candidates. Asking the right questions and putting the time in helps our clients to not only educate us about their organization, but it also helps us to evaluate and understand the information. This enables the selection of candidates who are of the right caliber and ultimately the one who is the best fit."

Filling in the Gaps for Missing Information

It is not uncommon for an executive recruiting firm to be approached by a client with very little information to go on. Hiring managers struggling to attract or retain talent often approach executive search firms for assistance, but they're not always prepared with the right information to begin the process. It is critical that the executive search firm actually solicits the client to provide information about their business as a whole and about the requirements of the position(s) they're looking to fill.

Common paradigms of informational voids involve inaccurate or inadequate job descriptions, a lack of understanding of the client's culture, and/or the client's expectations of an ideal candidate. An experienced, capable recruiter recognizes the importance of fully developing these components. This includes asking the client detailed questions about their needs and expectations behind a job posting as well as taking steps to become acquainted with their business before proposing any candidate recommendations.

Job Descriptions

All too often, a client asks the executive search consultant to identify candidates without providing a job description. In other instances, a generic job description is provided but lacks specific objectives and requirements. The recruiter must take the time to explore the needs and expectations of the role with the client in order to properly evaluate the candidates. Whenever necessary, the search consultant should collaborate with the client to fully develop a comprehensive job description. Although there are numerous factors required to correctly identify the right candidate, at Kokott, Wood & Associates, each position is discussed with clients in detail to ensure the following components of the position description are established:

Key objective(s) of the position
Specific roles and responsibilities
Years of desired industry experience or experience in particular job functions
Requirements or preferences for education, training, or certifications
Desired personal and professional characteristics or qualities
General reporting structure surrounding the position
Discussion of possible career paths and growth potential for the position
Compensation outline

Client's Company Culture

Clients frequently underestimate the value of defining their company culture in a way that can be presented to a candidate. Experienced candidates will want to know about a company's culture before pursuing the opportunity. According to Kokott, Wood & Associates, "Any candidate worth interviewing will ask this question of the internal or external recruiter enticing them to explore a particular position."

Clients should be prepared to define and share their company culture with their recruiter. Understanding the company culture also aids the executive search consultant in assessing candidates' traits and skill sets for an optimal fit with the company's environment, and not just the requirements of the open position. An effective executive search firm will take additional steps to get a feel for the client's company culture, particularly in cases where the culture is not yet clearly defined. Kokott added:

"We conduct a detailed phone interview to assess our clients' needs and discuss their culture as a first step. Next, we take any ancillary steps necessary to truly understand their organization's leadership, vision and focus. Oftentimes, we'll travel to our client's office and spend a day or longer onsite to obtain an up close and personal perspective of the operation."

Candidate Expectations

Clients may need further counsel in evaluating a candidate's intangible qualities, such as refining their communication style and expectations for personal development. At times, a hiring manager simply assumes that a candidate with the right experience, objectives, and likeability arrives on day one with an overall approach that will harmonize well with the existing team. Clients should discuss the personalities and management styles of the existing team with their recruiter. Together, both parties can identify the preferable traits and style of a candidate who will fit well.

For example, the client's manager might possess a military background and relies on structured information, concise and to the point communication, and a "If I can do it, so can you." management style. Identifying a candidate who possesses the right experience in addition to a military background and the ability to exercise brevity and create clear and concise instructions for others tremendously increases the likelihood of a successful hiring fit. In other words, matching a client and candidate with similar traits and expectations leads to a far better outcome when it comes to management expectations and the actual performance of the candidate.

Summary for Success

Organizations in pursuit of the "best-fit" candidates need to scrutinize each of the items discussed in the sections above. Working with a capable executive search firm like Kokott, Wood & Associates can be a great way to comprehensively measure the most qualified candidates against your organization as a whole, and not just against the responsibilities of an open position.

Always take the time to develop a comprehensive job description, define your company's culture, and identify the traits, expectations, and other intangibles you want to see in a top-performing candidate. For more help with this approach, consider speaking to an experienced executive search consultant. Contact Kokott, Wood & Associates for more information by clicking on the link below.

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Kokott, Wood & Associates provide a collection of proprietary articles sharing facts and suggestions modeled around industry trends, corporate cultures, changing markets, as well as tips for interviewing and improving resumes.

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Why Kokott, Wood & Associates

Kokott, Wood & Associates specializes in placements of executives, management, IT, and other professionals in the C- Store and Petroleum Industry. With over 75 years of actual industry experience, our executive search professionals have the knowledge and insight to identify the right candidate to excel within your organization.

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  • Testimonials

    “Now that everyone is settled in, I have a few minutes to say thank you for your assistance in helping me land this position. Prior to my job search, I had never worked with recruiters and didn’t think I would ever need to. As you know, I had my resume with several other companies, but I’m glad your posting worked out for me. For starters, your description of the company, the hiring manager (now my VP), the pay plan and the area were so correct. This really helped us in deciding to pursue this opportunity and was especially helpful when we moved here. It was as we expected (hoped) it to be.

    Thank you so much!

    Wholesale Fuel Manager, Midwest Fuel Wholesaler / Distributor

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  • Testimonials

    "Klaus carefully orchestrated an action plan geared to differentiating my unique talents from the rest of the crowd. He readily made himself available to offer guidance and conduct thorough mock interviews designed to bring out my personal strengths and value to the hiring company. His focused approach not only helped prepare me for the interview process, but gave me the confidence that I was the right person for the job. Klaus is a top notch recruiter committed to strategically preparing clients for positions he has deemed are a strong fit. He truly cares about the success of his clients and the contributions they will make to the organization."

    Category Manager, Southwest US Retail Company

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  • Testimonials

    "I wasn't sure of the value of your Retained Search process when you first proposed the concept to me. I can now tell you (and others), it is the only way we'll ever conduct another search. You told me it would save me time, eliminate frustration, and provide me with a selection of 3-5 very qualified Candidates. I was truly impressed with the detail of Candidate information and your qualifying process; it was as if I knew the Candidate before I ever interviewed them. The time you spent with us, learning about our business, our culture and what this key position would be responsible for was time well spent. The most difficult task for us was that of making the final selection... "

    Fred - President/CEO - Retailer - East Coast

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  • Testimonials

    Having been a part of the recruitment process on both sides of the table I can definitely say that my experience with Kokott, Wood & Associates was a privilege. From the initial stage of describing the role & the company to the final negotiation stage - Kokott, Wood & Associates made sure all parties were well aware of the situation at hand. There wasn't one point in the process where I wondered where things stood and what next step(s) needed to take place. Their ability to communicate their client's expectations, company culture, and need(s) for the role could not have been better. It was a pleasure working with Kokott, Wood, & Associates, and I would highly recommend working with their professional team. I look forward to the next time I deal with them as a client.

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