Consultancy Recruitment: be Proactive not Reactive

The average lead time it takes to hire a management consultant for a specific role is six months. Often more.

Even in the current market, there are shortages of good consultants across many sectors and skill areas. Many companies are seeking to increase their headcount and the problem of acquisition of top talent is becoming more acute.

It is true that there may now be more active job seekers in the market, but there are always reasons why they may not actually make that move when they get an offer in their hand and of course, they may have the luxury of multiple offers i.e. they won’t necessarily accept your offer.

It is not possible to guarantee to fill a consulting job easily when one arises and that has a material effect on a firm’s bottom line. The pain is felt across the board from SMEs to global firms.

Companies need to be forward-thinking and adopt a policy of always being on the lookout for potential employees: ideally hiring them when found but otherwise being able to keep the relationship bubbling until there is a role. Of critical importance is transparency however: don’t waste anyone’s time, be open and honest. Applicants hate fishing trips and roles going on hold.

So how should hiring companies modify their consultancy recruitment strategy?

Seek out and nurture passive candidates.

These are the candidates who are not actively looking for a consulting job. They may be more attracted to the right company and culture than a specific role. Don’t expect them to be available at short notice.

They may well have the culture fit, profile and skills your company needs but perhaps not right now.

  • Use social media to attract the passive consultant job seeker. Establish a digital presence to engage with potential candidates. Attract ‘followers’ who will become familiar with your brand.
  • Ensure you have a presence at relevant membership or industry events.
  • Use a specialist consultancy recruitment company. They have a network of potential management consultancy candidates whom they have helped find consultancy jobs in the past. A good executive recruitment company will keep in touch with these individuals and will be playing a part in their career progression. These candidates may not be actively looking at present, but may be receptive to a discussion about an interesting role, now or in the future.
  • Incorporate a “Join Our Team” section on your website to sell your company vision and culture. Make it easy for prospective candidates to submit a CV.

Employee referrals.

Ensure all company employees are encouraged to look out for and refer potential hires. Employee referrals are more likely to yield a candidate who is a good cultural fit with your organisation and have a positive attitude to your company.

  • Incentivise current employees to make referrals.
  • Hold informal events where potential recruits could discover more about your organisation and its culture without commitment.
  • Raise your profile by hosting or sponsoring alumni events for organisations who have traditionally provided some of your best workforce (university, professional associations etc.)

Network with possible candidates.

  • In an era of emails and digital communication, be prepared to invest time in person.
  • Ensure absolute confidentiality.
  • Be proactive and honest in your discussions.
  • Keep in touch until the time is right for that candidate to make a move.
  • Become the Employer people want to work for.

Keep a database.

  • Applicants for a specific consulting job may not have had the precise skills required but whose career path will make them an attractive experienced management consultant in 18 months’ time.
  • The ideal candidate who is not yet ready to leave his or her current employer.
  • Build a relationship and keep in touch.
  • Ensure this is GDPR compliant

Build a rapport with Management Consultancy recruitment agencies.

Ensure you develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with your recruiting partner. A good specialist management consultancy recruitment company will understand the culture of your organisation and will look out for potential candidates who are the right fit, regardless of whether you have a specific vacancy in mind. If you ask them to. This doesn’t mean a blizzard of speculative CVs for you to wade through: quite the reverse.

At Prism it is not unusual for us to occasionally introduce strong candidates to a client we have an ongoing relationship with: there are benefits to the company and candidate and can result in excellent hires for the employer.

Ongoing management consultancy recruitment may require a shift in strategy from reactive to proactive consultancy recruitment, but it is an essential change to ensure you employ the best talent.

For more information on building a sustainable long-term candidate pipeline email Chris Sale, Managing Director, Prism Executive Recruitment [email protected] or call him on 01344 636426

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