You should be chasing recruitment consultants

The search for good specialists and managers is difficult. More and more companies are looking for support from headhunters. What tasks do the personnel consultants take on and how do you find the best?

In the course of industrialization in the 1950s, the demand for experts and executives rose rapidly. Some resourceful businessmen specialized in the search and placement of these top workers. A new profession was born: the personnel consultant, also called headhunter in modern German.

Today there are more than 1800 agencies with around 5000 consultants in Germany. After a temporary slump during the economic crisis in 2009, the personnel consulting industry is back on a growth path. In 2012, according to the Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberater e. V. (BDU) has a total turnover of 1.55 billion euros. For 2013 an increase of around 3.5 percent is expected.

Systematic search and direct approach

The main field of activity of a personnel consultant has hardly changed since the creation of his profession. Headhunters still live primarily from the systematic search and direct approach of specialists and executives, the so-called Executive Search Consulting.

For this purpose, after a detailed briefing, you first develop a professional and personal requirement profile for the position to be filled. On the basis of this profile, they research and contact potential candidates. Few headhunters also publish job advertisements.

If the personnel consultants were able to convince the mostly still employed managers of a change, an analysis of the résumés and profiles and the implementation of job interviews are carried out. They then introduce the suitable candidates to the company and moderate the negotiation process through to hiring.

In addition to these classic headhunting tasks, personnel consultants are increasingly offering services such as personnel marketing, management audits, interim management and aptitude diagnostics.


Sensitivity and discretion are required

When using a personnel consultancy, companies create added value primarily from their targeted research of qualified candidates. Most recruitment consultants now have relevant training and are familiar with the market situation. The HR department has more time for internal tasks. When recruiting top talent, you need a sure instinct and discretion - both of which require a lot of specialist knowledge and experience.

Since the professional title of personnel consultant is not yet protected in Germany, companies have to consider a few things when choosing a suitable consultant. Verifiable references, industry-specific knowledge and professional qualifications should be a matter of course. A good HR consultant is also characterized by his commitment and understanding of problems.

“The 'extra mile' is crucial to find a suitable solution for the customer, even with tricky inquiries and requests,” says Gisela Titelbach, Office Manager of the Austrian personnel management company iventa. Assuming this, the average daily rate of 2,000 euros for a senior consultant can be profitable for companies.

Related Links:

iventa Personnel Consulting Austria

Federal Association of German Management Consultants V. (BDU)

List of the 100 most important headhunters from WiWo

Photo: Flickr / Matthew Kenwrick