Jay Rosenzweig has been in executive recruiting for over a decade. But ask him his business, and he hesitates to use that term. He says that he and his team, Rosenzweig & Company (www.rosenzweigco.com), act first and foremost as management consultants.
"The way we approach the business is to be an advisor to clients, with a specialty in recruiting," says Rosenzweig.
Finding the right fit for clients is the obvious part of the task, but there's much more to it. Rosenzweig and his team gain an intimate understanding of his clients' field and landscape, their challenges and goals. Often, his firm helps to redefine the role that needs to be filled, or even recommend how the organization could be structured differently. As a consultant, not just a recruiter, Rosenzweig knows that his job is broader than identifying candidates - ultimately, it's about helping the client meet their business objectives.
Hiring the best talent is critical any time, maybe especially so in tougher economic times. After all, the companies that will steer in the right direction through some choppy waters are the ones that have the right personnel in the right spots.
Ironically, says Rosenzweig, poor fits can be a byproduct of a soft economy. "There's a lot of talent on the street these days, and that leads to some companies simply picking people up as if talent is low-hanging fruit," he says. "The trouble is, maybe the company needs an apple but takes an orange. There's no substitute for extensive and solid research when filling leadership roles."
That leads to another key distinction between Rosenzweig & Company and some competitors. His isn't really a search firm, says Rosenzweig, it's a research firm.
"Too often, recruiting gets a bad rap in business," he explains "There's a stereotype that the search business is all about three martini lunches and calling up your pals to fill jobs, while collecting fat fees."
Yes, Rosenzweig & Company has an extensive list of contacts, but a successful search isn't a matter of who has the best rolodex, says Rosenzweig. It's about devising a thorough research strategy, then leaving no stone unturned.
Even if a call program quickly yields some outstanding candidates, Rosenzweig & Co. will make hundreds more queries. As Rosenzweig says, you never know if the best candidate will be the first one you contact or the last, so you have to keep digging deeper. He doesn't mind if his clients end up struggling with the choice - it's his "greatest pleasure" - because it means that every candidate on the short list is of the highest quality.
As Rosenzweig & Company conducts its research - featuring exhaustive screening, interviewing, benchmarking and profiling - they're also mindful of taking a fresh approach.
The firm has been a pioneer when it comes to championing diversity, whether gender or racial. The annual Rosenzweig Report on Women at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada has been a staple in the recruiting business.
Rosenzweig believes strongly in diversity, not only from a moral standpoint, but because it's the right thing to do for business reasons. It doesn't make sense to overlook any sizeable pool of talent, particularly when you consider the potential business impact.
"Study after study," says Rosenzweig, "has shown that the greater the diversity at the top levels, the greater the performance - by far." Whether you think of Rosenzweig as a management consultant, a researcher, or a recruiter, that's a message that should resonate during these, or any, economic times.