I am currently in the market for an executive recruiter. Do you have any tips for retaining the best one?

Many times companies assume that the cheerleading their internal recruiters exhibit with candidates means they're happy themselves.

Many times companies assume that the cheerleading their internal recruiters exhibit with candidates means they're happy themselves. That's not always the case.

As with retaining any employee, you must find out what motivates the recruiter so you can do your best to retain that person. It's not good enough to simply ask, "What motivates you?" You need to actively listen and watch for cues. Some are motivated by recognition, others by challenge and growth, still some others by money.

You also must recognize that recruiters often have difficult hours, since they talk to candidates after hours. Be sensitive to that and talk about what the proper balance is for them. Offer recruiters technology that helps them be more effective (such as a mobile phone or laptop).

Empowered recruiters are often happy ones. Make sure your hiring managers view them as true partners. Give them the authority to negotiate offers on your behalf. They're selling your firm.

Most important, savvy candidates can sense dishonesty, so make sure your recruiter truly believes in what he or she is selling.

Laura Smith is MD of US HR at Edelman.

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