Knowledge & Insight

Recognizing the Value of Executive Search

Thu 27 June 2019

Identifying and recruiting the best talent is not only critical to the success of the hiring organisation, but also to the personal success of the hiring executives. Because poor recruitment decisions can quickly impact bottom line and be reflected all-too-clearly in the performance of the board. So executives responsible for senior hires should deploy the most effective and efficient means possible when searching for high-calibre candidates for business-critical roles.

The drawbacks of in-house recruitment

With the growing popularity of online jobs boards and advanced networking platforms, it may be tempting to consider using in-house resource to manage senior-level recruitment. But that would ignore the vast benefits of retaining a specialist executive headhunter to complete the assignment.

Utilizing in-house resource to recruit for junior roles may make sound commercial sense. But when an organisation is seeking senior talent for management and board-level roles, an internal recruiter simply won’t have the skills, experience or the connections to deliver results.

High performers are highly unlikely to be actively looking for new opportunities, so relying on advertised search simply won’t cut it. And even if an internal recruiter manages to ‘hook’ a top-quality candidate, selling a new opportunity to an individual who recognises their own value is vastly different to interviewing candidates who are keen to take their next career step.

Why use an executive search company?

Executive search is a highly skilled function that requires the services of a genuine specialist. Executive recruiters are experts at finding hard-to-reach talent – the people who are coveted by their existing employers for the value they bring to the business. The people who are sought after by their companies’ competitors. The people who have a demonstrable tack-record of delivering outstanding results in challenging markets. Not the kind of people who are likely to respond to an ad placed on an online jobs board.

So how do executive search firms reach these in demand individuals? Executive headhunters have deep industry knowledge and extensive professional networks, often within tightly defined niche sectors. They frequently have excellent relationships with the most sought-after people in the sector, and are respected for their integrity and confidentiality – which is absolutely critical when approaching senior-level talent.

What makes executive headhunting the most cost-effective option?

When an employer commissions an executive search firm to recruit for a senior level appointment, the fee is highly visible – it stands out on an invoice once the assignment has been fulfilled. When an employer chooses to use their own HR department to manage the recruitment, the cost is still there, but it’s less visible. Yet that internal cost can actually be far higher than the executive search fee – because a great deal of internal resource can be wasted attracting interest from unqualified people, interviewing unsuitable candidates, and spending time on other non-productive tasks.

And the flipside to the cost of using an executive search firm is the benefit - because executive search firms have access to talent pools that simply aren’t available to non-specialist recruiters. Which means they can engage with the leading talent in the industry. And that, of course, is the ultimate objective of executive search.

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