For several years, recruitment difficulties have continued to increase in the industry. To attract the best profiles, SMEs are adopting a proactive recruitment approach and implementing new strategies. Headhunting is one of them: this practice formerly reserved for executive profiles is becoming more popular, for all positions and mainly those in tension. We interviewed Éva BLOSSE, director at HeadHunting Factory, a specialist in recruiting hidden profiles, with no minimum salary.
Engineering techniques: Can you introduce the company HeadHunting Factory?
Éva Blosse: HeadHunting Factory is a company of the APSIM group, which has developed since 2018 around a headhunting activity for senior executive positions, under the OP SEARCH brand. OP SEARCH is a specialist in “real” headhunting, a practice which consists of recreating the organizational charts of competing companies in order to find the right person. matching profile to our client’s specifications.
As a growing number of our clients wanted to entrust us with the recruitment of very “shortage” profiles, at salary levels well below €80k, we decided in 2016 to create a new subsidiary, under the HeadHunting Factory brand, who is a generalist and covers all positions, with no minimum salary.
With HeadHunting Factory we sell a method and not a professional expertise with an opening message: headhunting is not reserved for executive positions and large groups, but concerns all positions!
What is the “hidden” market?
The hidden market is all the invisible profiles, whether in CV libraries or on social networks. We know, for example, that multi-skilled workers almost never have a profile LinkedIn, even if this is less the case for new generations. Accessing the hidden market therefore consists of soliciting people who would never have applied and who are not visible anywhere.
Without giving away your secrets, can you talk a little about the “hunting” methods used?
We define target companies with our clients, most often competitors. We then seek to recreate the organizational chart of these companies, and once we have identified the identity of the people in the position and their mobile phone number, we contact them to tell them about the opportunity for the position we are hunting for.
What are the most in-demand positions currently?
We work a lot for the industry. In this sector, the position most in tension currently is that of maintenance technician, but line drivers and production team leaders are also in high demand. Generally speaking, the industry faces significant recruitment issues in the context of reindustrialization and robotization of industrial sites.
What are the criteria for attracting profiles?
Salary remains a criterion, but the importance a candidate gives to their level of remuneration depends on each profile. We know that a maintenance technician is not going to leave a company for a lower salary, so it is obviously advisable to offer a higher salary, but salary is not the only motivator. Since COVID, quality of life and in particular teleworking, accessibility or transport have become recurring topics, regardless of the position.
Are you seeing an increase in requests from SMEs?
We have seen a surge in requests since COVID, but we were already seeing an increase before the pandemic. Since 2020, medium-sized companies now represent almost half of our clients, the rest being groups and CAC 40 companies.
What advice would you give to industrial SMEs to become more attractive in a tense job market?
The balance of power between recruiter and recruit has completely changed and today, a company can no longer wait for a candidate to come to it. This forces her to seek out candidates, but also to be inventive and to make a difference.
As advice to companies, I would give priority to taking care of their employer brand. They must also provide transparency, particularly in announcements. When an advert produces no results, there are often reasons: the advantages are not highlighted, nor the material resources, nor the composition of the team, etc. In the advertisements, it is also necessary to detail the recruitment process: what steps? When ? With whom ?
Values, particularly human values, are becoming more and more important, particularly among young people. We also see that there are also more and more employees of large groups who want to leave to find companies on a human scale.
Finally, another point that is essential is the speed of the recruitment process. We must take care of the candidate experience as we take care of the customer experience. An SME cannot afford to wait several weeks to give a response to a candidate. You must also create a bond with the candidate, keep them informed of each step and favor telephone feedback instead of emails.
Today, a company that is recruiting must follow a seduction approach. This is more true than ever in the industry and it is even more true for SMEs.