Why use an executive search firm to find your next hire

The consequences of making a poor hiring decision in your executive team can be disastrous. Shareholder confidence, organisational effectiveness, morale and business results are all at risk.

Competition for the best candidates is fierce. Candidates know it and their current and future employers know it too. Oftentimes, the best candidates are discreet about their career plans. Often the conversation that leads to a new opportunity evolves over time. Regularly the best candidates may be located next door or in the next State, or country.

How do you find those leaders and avoid the potential costs to your business of a poor hire?

Organisations typically approach hiring in one of three ways:

In-house recruiting:  In-house recruiting is where a company has recruiters on their payroll dedicated to hiring for that company. In-house recruiters generally focus on mid and low-level placements. They use a range of standard search tools, and internal networks, to source candidates.

Contingent recruiters:  Contingent recruiters are only paid if the available position is filled. The recruiter is competing with in-house recruiters, other agencies and even job boards to fill a position. They tend to run quick database searches in order to get a candidate to their client before a competitor. Consequently, this method of sourcing candidates sometimes sees recruiters flooding their client with resumes. This is a more transactional style relationship for lower level positions. Usually the recruiter doesn’t have, or need, a meaningful understanding of their client’s business environment.

Executive search:  Executive search firms are specialised teams focused on finding the best quality candidates for the most senior, specialised client roles. Retaining a search firm means that firm works exclusively with the client to assess talent across and beyond the organisation. Executive search firms need to deeply understand the company culture and facets and nuances of each role. These firms use sophisticated screening tools and techniques to find the best candidates for each role. Executive search firms focus on helping avoid the business, financial and cultural costs of a bad hire. Success is often measured by the longevity of a placement.

With several options to source candidates, why use an executive search firm over in-house or contingency recruiting?

  1. Some positions need investment:  hiring the unique mix of skills and cultural fit demanded at the C level requires experience, acumen and insight. The wrong hire can make or break a company. Executive search firms specialise in the most senior and specialised of hires and can help manage the risk of hiring at this level.
  2. Diversity:  there is much research showing that diverse teams are smarter, stronger teams. The power of diversity featured at this year’s World Economic Forum. Working with people who’re different from you can challenge you to think differently. There is also much research suggesting that most managers tend to hire mirror images of themselves, both in terms of skills and personality types. Using an executive search firm helps catch the unconscious tendency to default to status quo hiring.
  3. Hiring a brand new, senior position:  as organisations transform, new positions are sometimes created outside the domain expertise of the incumbent leadership team. An executive search firm helps bridge gaps around specialised skills needed to assess candidates for a brand-new role in the organisation.
  4. Confidentiality:  under-performing leaders may need to be replaced while still in their role. An executive search firm brings discretion to the process of finding a replacement while acting as a trusted adviser to the hiring manager.
  5. Exhausted networks and referrals:  if your personal networks and referrals have tapped out on recommendations, an executive search firm will help connect you with qualified, high quality candidates. Executive search firms identify candidates from the whole market, not just those actively seeking new positions.
  6. You want to hire from a company you know:  because an executive search firm provides a veil of discretion, you’re able to connect with high calibre candidates known to you where it is important to preserve the organisational relationship.
  7. You need a unicorn:  sometimes the combination of skills and experience required for a role is as unique as, well, a unicorn. Executive search firms use their networks to expedite the process of finding those rare combinations.
  8. Time and resource constraints:  researching candidates and screening resumes for a critical hire can quickly become a full-time job. This is the job of executive search firms who can accelerate the process for hiring managers.

Shareholder confidence, organisational effectiveness, morale and business results are just some of the benefits of getting a senior hire ‘right’. To learn more about Morgan Young can help find your next C-level hire, contact us for a confidential exploratory conversation.