Welcome to our new series – “Five Minute Friday” – where we shine the spotlight on some of our very own by asking them five questions. We know that our business would be nowhere without our all-star team, so we think it’s important for you to get to know our leaders and understand how they continue to perform with effective results.
First up, meet Chris Hillman, President of SearchPath of Chicago, Inc. Chris brings more than 23 years of executive search proficiency to SearchPath of Chicago, Inc. and excels in search, business development, operations, training and management. With over 528 successful completed searches and career billings over $8 million, any client can attest to his professional capabilities.
How has executive search consulting evolved over your career?
The Headhunting business has surprisingly not changed over my 23 years in the business. The basics of building relationships, business development techniques and passive talent recruitment are almost the same over the years. The main evolution I have encountered is simply access to more information. With technology like LinkedIn, ZoomInfo and True People Search, we can simply find information out about people more rapidly. However, these tools have actually created poor habits in the executive search business. Recruiters many times make assumptions about candidates based on what they see online vs actually having a real conversation. A real conversation, qualifying and selling a passive candidate is what we get paid to do. In general, the best talent does not always have the best online profile.
Thinking back over your career so far, what success story stands out?
Several years back I had cold called the owner of a packaging manufacturing company who had never used a recruiter. His business had been in the red for several years and he was reluctant to consider paying a recruiter fee. After developing a relationship and bringing him one of the best sales professionals in the industry, he decided to take the leap. His business grew by 40% and was profitable in under 8 months. From that day forward, he was able to see that our fee was insignificant compared to the value received. Our candidate paid for themselves and our fee in short order; 15 years later, the candidate is still making significant profits for the company.
How do you keep your team motivated?
Our team is very seasoned and knows how to operate in a great economy as well as a tough economy. The executive search business is one that requires self-motivation as we operate heavily on commissions. We work in a bull pen type operation, so we share both good and bad experiences. In addition, we have consistent training with our other 45 sister offices, and this helps create comradery. We have contests throughout the years and share a few high fives, smiles and laughing as well.
What do you see for the job market and search industry for the remainder of the year?
I am extremely optimistic about the job market for the balance of 2020 and 2021. Since June, we have seen activity pick up every single month. I’ve been recruiting for 23 years and 2020 was actually my best personal year. Many companies need to consider top grading employees to achieve better financial results. As in any economic climate, outstanding talent is hard to identify, attract and deliver. This is where recruiters shine.
Fun fact about you?
I am only 13 years old. Having a leap year birthday reminds me to stay young, stay fresh, keep learning, draw outside the lines and keep business/life balance.