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How to succeed with executive recruiters.

HOW TO SUCCEED WITH EXECUTIVE RECRUITERS "I get ten to twenty resumes a week, and a lot of them come from people who already make over $100,000 a year," says Symantec president Gordon Eubanks. Nevertheless, Eubanks relies heavily on professional headhunters to fill senior-level jobs at Symantec. "Recruiting is a specialized skill that even the best managers often lack," he explains.

In the last year, Eubanks adds, recruiters have brought the company a new chief financial officer and a vice-president of sales--"star players who've really changed the company." Recently, Eubanks explained what he's learned about how to make sure most searches end up this successfully:

* Deal with specialists. "A lot of recruiters sell themselves on knowing everybody," says Eubanks. But the best results usually come from specialists with in-depth knowledge of a few industries or professions, who can track down talented candidates off the beaten path--"people we'd never think of by ourselves."

* Focus on corporate culture issues. The recruiter who found Symantec's sales vice-president "spent 15 hours talking to people in the company before starting the search, then put together a sales piece on the company," says Eubanks. This kind of homework is a good idea, he says, because it helps achieve "a higher probability of a good fit between the candidate and the company."

* Work with the best. "Life's too short for me to have to train inexperienced recruiters," says Eubanks. Symantec deals regularly with top-flight recruiting firms--and is willing to pay a premium for quality work. "You're going to pay 20% to 25% of the first year's compensation," he says. "And for the really good recruiters, they're going to get paid even if they find no one."

* Don't use headhunters for junior jobs. Eubanks argues that it's usually unproductive to hire a recruiter for jobs other than at the senior management level. Instead, Symantec relies on classified ads, then hires a consultant on an hourly basis to "go through hundreds of resumes, hold interviews, and run simple reference checks."
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Date:Dec 26, 1989
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