The Essentials

Our Fee Structure vs Traditional Firms’ Fees

Written By Stephen Cornwell

The traditional headhunting fee structure is ⅓ up front, ⅓ for initial candidates, and the final ⅓ when a candidate is placed.  With this system, companies can earn ⅔ of the total possible profit without even placing a candidate.  The company’s motivation to continue searching to find the perfect candidate is greatly reduced.  If the initial selection of candidates is not what you had in mind, the company can claim they have exhausted the market, leaving you with the position unfilled despite a significant financial investment.

In contrast, Accelerate only charges a fee when a candidate is successfully placed.  Not only does this ensure that the client is not taking any risk, but it also fully aligns the interest of our firm with our client’s interest.  We are just as passionate about filling each opening as the company is.  This alignment of interest fosters the close relationship we develop with each client.  

After interviewing initial candidates, our clients often identify new criteria that they need the successful applicant to meet. We are then able to refine and better focus our search.  We continue this process of feedback, communication, and refinement until we finally find the perfect fit for the position.

Additionally, we guarantee to replace any candidate who leaves within 12 months, creating a truly zero risk situation for our client.  If this sounds appealing, please contact us.

The Counter Offer Conundrum

Written by Orla Treacy

The day has arrived for you to resign from your current role. You schedule a meeting with your boss to tell them that you have decided to jump ship and join another company. You quickly realise that your boss doesn’t want to lose you and asks what you need to stay or tells you that they’re going to make a generous counter offer. What do you do?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when the counter offer conversation arrives:

Why did you accept and sign an offer with another organisation?

Aside from seeing what’s out there, there must have been a push factor for you not only to go through the interview process but to successfully come out the other side and sign an offer. Was it the sense of new adventure? Was it the opportunity to change your career path? Was it for financial reasons? These are all very important factors to consider when deciding on a counter offer. Why look back now?

Why weren’t these extra items now on offer being offered to you before?

Many candidates’ current organisations will request details of the offer they have just accepted to match it or beat it. This is a knee-jerk reaction and a quick solution to avoid having a hole in their team. The main consideration here is to ask yourself why you didn’t have this extra cash before. If it was on the table, and the organisation is now saying that you are worth the raise, why did they wait until now to offer?

Will you be considered trustworthy if you stay?

Accepting a counter offer means that your boss and colleagues know that you completed a process, signed another offer and were ready to leave and therefore could assume that you are disloyal to the company. Thus, you could potentially be first out the door if there is an internal reorganisation or passed over for future promotions. Are the new conditions they are now offering worth that risk?

Time to stay or say goodbye?

Counter offers deserve fair consideration and can be used to address issues you were having in your role such as life/work balance or career progression. Unfortunately, in our experience, most people who accept them find themselves looking for a new job shortly afterwards, when the situation that caused them to explore the market, remains unresolved.

We encourage our candidates to speak with their Accelerate consultant as the counter offer conundrum is something we have a lot of experience with and we know it is not an easy one to resolve.

Sniper vs Machine Gun: Accelerate vs Contingency Firms

Written by Orla Treacy

We regularly get asked how we compare to the larger, more traditional head-hunting firms. The answer to this question is an explanation of our use of technology, use of more modern approaches, not charging fees unless we fill the vacancy, delivering candidates to our clients within one week of launching the search, among others.

Recently, I have been asked by a few clients how we compare to large contingency recruitment firms. As Accelerate is relatively new to the market, I thought it would be a good idea to explain the differences in our operating models on our blog.

I tend to avoid using the word contingency when describing our service. Contingency or non-retained firms traditionally focus on recruiting candidates at Manager level or below. They typically advertise vacancies or have large databases of candidates to harvest from when needed. Many firms of this nature can also speculatively gather candidates for their future searches or speculatively send candidates to clients and potentially place candidates in this manner.

While we don’t charge up-front retainer fees and work on a contingency basis, we offer a senior level headhunting service. Our approach is almost counter intuitive as a business model and we get regularly challenged on this by customers but when explained tends to make more commercial sense.

For example, if a client engages us on a General Manager position, we headhunt candidates from a relatively select few because our client will have specific targets for us, companies they are attracted to because of competitor analysis, they also may know specific people in the market they would like us to approach. They may want to see people from other sectors but mostly our client will want current General Managers or Commercial, Sales or Business Unit Directors from similar sized major multinational household recognised firms. When working with globally recognised or Fortune 500 organisations, they tend to exclusively recruit from similar organisations as the transition for candidates makes much more sense and is smoother than somebody coming from elsewhere. Therefore, during our briefing calls with clients we try to shrink the potential candidate pool as much as possible and then specifically target those candidates and try to attract them to the vacancy at hand.

The main difference from a client point of view between Accelerate and other contingency firms is the attention given and quality of service provided. Due to the low-volume specialised projects that are undertaken, we have the capacity to personally manage recruitment processes end-to-end. We engage on less searches, at higher levels, with higher commercial return, with fewer potential candidates that have higher visibility and with lower turnover. The person that speaks with the hiring manager and human resources is the same person that is briefing and interviewing candidates and the same person that is presenting candidates to clients, and managing the process. This personalised attention means a smoother service and cuts out a huge amount of wasted time due to lack of meeting expectations.

Naturally, based on the pyramid formation of organisations, there are less executive positions, lower turnover of people, less candidates available and fewer business possibilities. However, by not diluting our quality and focusing on providing a high-level search service, we gain repeat business, form strong partnerships with our clients and candidates and compete against a traditional headhunting industry sector that is quickly moving away from the retained model.

It has been described to me as a specialised sniper approach rather than a machine gun approach, why I shy away from the analogy it is a reasonable comparison. Instead of sending multiple candidates for multiple searches and hoping something makes a match, we carefully select both projects that we work on and candidates that we send to maximise results.

Free Advice: Train Your PA to Handle Headhunter Calls Correctly

Written by Orla Treacy

We receive mixed feedback from potential candidates about the method used to approach them in the market. Leaving voice messages with PAs is occasionally a source of debate in our office.

Imagine your assistant receives a call from a headhunting firm on your behalf, would you like the firm to disclose that they are contacting you about an opportunity to your PA or just to leave a message with their phone number? Which option would you react to? A random message from a company you have never heard of before or a message about another organisation wanting to start a conversation with you about joining them? I would always sway towards the latter as you have nothing to lose.

Depending upon how happy you are in your current situation, I would imagine the majority of people would be open to hearing more about the opportunity and receiving the message. Assuming that there is strict confidentiality between you and your PA, I don’t see the risk. The potential downside on this is that the PA talks in the office and word gets out that you are looking around for a new role or in touch with a headhunting firm. You can always look at the flip side of this and see that being contacted by a headhunter can make you look successful, desirable and an asset to your current company that other companies want.

Let’s imagine the headhunting firm discloses the fact that they are trying to reach you about an opportunity and they would like to schedule a call with you, how would you feel if your PA said, “sorry, he/she is not interested, goodbye.”? This unfortunately happens a lot. There is little a headhunting firm can do with this response as most PAs also have the role of filtering email and can delete any contact in writing from the firm too. 

I cannot recommend highly enough the idea of training your PA to handle these situations correctly. You could lose out on the opportunity to take part in exciting processes as a result of a blocker-PA. If you are new-career-curious, take the calls, have the conversations and don’t close doors before knowing what is behind them. Our team will also thank you a lot!


Job Search: Headhunter vs. Directly Applying

By Erin Kelly

The value of working with a recruitment agency.

A head hunter calls you with your dream job, but then later while researching online you discover that the company has also posted that job on their website for direct applicants – What do you do? Do you wait on the headhunter or do you apply directly? 

This is a question that a number of candidates face, and there are a number of advantages to being represented by a headhunter:

One of the biggest advantages of working with a headhunter is that we have spoken directly with the hiring manager and we know exactly what they are looking for. Initially we use this information to determine if you are a suitable candidate, but after that we can use this information to coach you through the process! Just think about it, we have the inside information on the hiring manager, what he/she likes, and what he/she doesn’t like – this is a HUGE advantage in comparison to a candidate who just found the job online.

In addition to coaching, our company, Accelerate, individually prepares each candidate for their initial interview along with providing additional feedback and coaching along the way. We prepare you for all types of questions you might be asked in the interview and we can also get your mind running on what the job expectations are and how you can meet these goals. We recognize that all of our candidates have successfully gone through interview processes before, but we can offer valuable tips on the position, on what interviewer will be looking for, and if it has been a while since your last interview, we can give you some honest practice before you interview with talent acquisition, human resources, or even the hiring manager!

 A headhunter can also chase for interview feedback and next steps, which can be a very delicate subject if you are in direct contact with the company. We can call them as many times as we want because that’s our job, and you don’t end up looking desperate or needy. We can also coordinate and schedule all of your interviews, which can be very helpful when dealing with interviewers based in different time zones all around the world.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a headhunter can help in negotiating your salary. Salary negotiations are very delicate, and having a disagreement at this stage can leave a bad taste for both the candidate and the client. Luckily, when you work with Accelerate, you know you are in safe hands and that we will in fact negotiate the best salary for you, while staying within the outlined parameters of the company (i.e. we won’t demand an exorbitant sum and leave you wishing you had the job). We work on a “no win, no fee basis” and what this means for you is that we want you to get the job as much as you do, because if you don’t accept an offer, we just did a lot of work for no financial return. You can count on us to have the hard conversation and negotiate the best salary possible, which leaves you shaking hands with the company on good terms and ready to begin a strong and successful partnership.

There you have it, the benefits of working with a headhunter can be extremely advantageous when you enter a recruitment process and really can make all the difference in not only receiving a job offer, but also in accepting the job offer.