Why Use Executive Recruiting

Use the Experts, Get the Best

Good management is essential to the health and welfare of all companies. Excellent management is the key to success in today's highly competitive business environment. The services of outside professionals are utilized by prudent companies for high-level legal, accounting and other special needs. Executive recruiters should be viewed in the same light: skilled specialists who can identify the best executive to fill an important position on the management team. Although executive search can be performed by in-house human resource departments, employing the services of an executive search firm is ultimately more expedient, efficient and effective. Executive recruiters provide strict confidentiality, an extensive network of contacts, objectivity in candidate evaluation, and negotiation experience and expertise.

Executive recruiters observe strict confidentiality

Organizations with an opening in their executive ranks are vulnerable. Whether an existing position needs to be filled or a position is newly created by downsizing or market opportunity, the hiring process must be strictly confidential. Confidentiality can keep competitors from being tipped off to management shake-ups, new products, and market initiatives and can protect against employee, stockholder, and supplier apprehension. Search consultants value the highly sensitive information they become privy to during the search process. They are acutely aware and respectful of their client's vulnerability.

Executive recruiters can tap into a global network of contacts

Top notch executive talent is a scarce commodity today. The limited contacts of in-house human resource departments cannot compare with the wide net cast by a recruiter's network (a transnational search especially calls for the capabilities of transnational search firms). The best candidates are already employed. Many will deal only with a recruiter. They appreciate the worth of third party representation, confidentiality and professional mediation. Recruiting superior candidates is intricate and best performed by a discreet professional.

Executive recruiters bring objectivity and feedback to management 

Executive search is a time-consuming, sensitive process.  Recruiters can help clients evaluate their expectations, review relevant organization structure and reporting, and define a realistic profile and compensation package for the open position.  Search consultants provide objective feedback on the candidates and advice to the client.  As experts in research and reference checking, search firms can glean significant information from even reluctant reference-givers.

Executive recruiters are cost effective

The benefit of using an executive search firm can be weighed against the cost of preparing and executing an advertisement/recruitment campaign, screening and qualifying candidates, and operating without a needed employee for an extended length of time compared to the relative insurance of getting the right person for the job.  The use of executive recruiters is an investment in improving the quality of an organization's managerial might. But even beyond that, the risk of not using executive recruiters is too great.  

For smaller companies—in which one hiring mistake can have disastrous results—using executive recruiters is sometimes more important than for corporate giants. Hiring an incompetent employee who makes bad decisions can cost a company large sums of money—or its very existence. More than ever before, executive talent is at a premium and can make or break the fortunes of a business. Professional executive recruiters can deliver the best. 

Using Smaller Firms

Is it safe to work with smaller recruiting firms? Do they provide the same level of service as the multi-office, multinational giants? Are there any advantages to working with a solo recruiter?

The recruiting profession remains extremely fragmented. A handful of big retainer firms are well-known but have only about one-quarter of the market. A similar condition prevails in the contingency field.  These big firms do not dominate the market the way that the Big Six firms do in accounting, for example. Even some of the firms on the Executive Recruiter News 40 Largest list have fewer than 10 search consultants. Small is the norm.

Advantages of Small Firms

Small firms proliferate in executive recruiting because they can be very effective operations. Many search professionals acknowledge that the quality of an individual recruiter is more important to the client than the brand name of any firm. Evidence for this comes from the fact that when recruiters leave a firm, they often take most of their clients with them. Given this, firm size is of far less significance to clients than finding an individual recruiter with energy, perseverance, industry wisdom and sensitivity.

Quite a few of the small firms are run by recruiters who formerly worked at a large search firm. Having benefited from the training offered by a large firm, many of these recruiters have concluded that they can be more successful working for themselves. So it is quite common to find small search firms with highly entrepreneurial professionals. There may be fewer systems and back office support, but, on the plus side, you may get more committed assistance. After all, your business represents a much larger slice of the firm's total billings.

Client Blockages

One advantage that small firms may claim is that they have fewer client blockages than their large competitors. This can be critical for certain searches where the field of likely candidates is limited to your major competitors. While small firms on average have fewer clients, they may be industry specialists, in which case, their blockage problems may be just as great as those of large firms. As ever, it pays to ask.

Brand Names

Large firms like to point out that their well-known names give them an advantage in catching the attention of busy executives. While this may be true on the margin, it should not be a prime reason to choose one firm over another. Small firms often have strong name recognition in the targeted areas they serve.