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Blue Islands August 2014

Previously I have commented on the benefit for businesses using a specialist recruiter. However what are the benefits if you are candidate? If you work in a specialist field surely you know relevant organisations? Why not make the direct approach?

I have just recently assisted in negotiations for an individual who had been made an offer by a Swiss fiduciary group. As a good will gesture I assisted the individual. I did not introduce the candidate and did not have direct involvement in the offer negotiation. This highlights the benefit of using a professional recruiter.

The person concerned had applied direct to the organisation and was successful in gaining an initial video conference. This then progressed to a face to face meeting in Switzerland, which resulted with an offer. All well so far - why need a third party recruiter?
It was at the offer stage that things started to become unstuck. The salary offered was low, the benefits not as expected and, the offer of relocation assistance was not sufficient to make up for a low offer.

The first problem here is, in general, we do not like talking about money, never mind negotiating with our potential employer. No matter how experienced and how senior we are, we tend to cringe at the thought of trying to get a deal on the salary. It is much easier for a third party to do this.

Before the interview the recruiter can pre-empt the salary needs of the candidate and the potential offer. If there is a wide discrepancy this can be discussed and negotiated on in principle, prior to the interview. In most cases salary/offer will not be mentioned in that meeting but between client and recruiter. It’s objective and removes any emotion.

It’s not all about salary negotiation – the function of the professional recruiter is to introduce the candidate to a business relevant for their skill set and career aspirations. The KYC principle applies just as much to our industry as it does to finance albeit on a different level. If you do not know a client company well enough then at no time can you recruit for it. Knowing and understanding the client is only achieved through regular communication. In turn, the recruiter must get to know the candidate. This is not done through the “volume recruitment” process of box ticking certain skills. It comes through discussion with the candidate, learning and understanding their skill sets, motivations, achievements and their aspirations.

Returning to my initial example, this individual had an opportunity in a part of Switzerland not widely known about. It is an area that is very local from a Swiss perspective and not home to many expats. I know this because I work with a number of businesses based in that Canton.

The candidate did not know the culture of the Swiss office. The office reflects the Canton and is not altogether international. This is most definitely a factor in the recruiters thinking when deciding whether to introduce a candidate. Had I acted on behalf of this candidate I would not have made this introduction based on the cultural environment of the office as well as location.

I have been fortunate to recruit for Swiss fiduciary companies since 2002, and, from time to time I receive enquiries from people in many jurisdictions seeking to move to Switzerland. As recruiters, it’s critically important to furnish such people with as much information on all elements and aspects of living and working in a jurisdiction before you discuss their CV.

The principles are very similar for candidates seeking a new opportunity within their home jurisdiction. The recruiter should be able to provide as much detail as possible about the organisation gained through the recruiters’ business relationship. This information allows a candidate to decide if they wish to be introduced. The benefit for the candidate is they maintain their anonymity whilst gaining as full appreciation as possible of the firm through the recruiter. The candidate can then decide whether or not be introduced based on the assessment of the environment and culture detailed. Anonymity is maintained until that point.

Should there need to be negotiations later on in the recruitment process, it’s always easier to instruct someone else to do it on your behalf – the recruiter replaces the subjective with the objective. This ensures that negotiations with regards to key issues are done quickly, efficiently and without any undue stress for all.

Through my guidance the candidate managed, to negotiate a better offer by using techniques that replaced many subjective elements. However he has learnt from this and in the future will be contacting me.

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