Five key reasons to leverage executive search firms

The choice to partner with an executive search firm is an important decision. In fact, there are many reasons why organizations choose not to use an outside firm. A few examples:

  • Your internal talent acquisition team has a track record of finding top talent in the market
  • Executive search can be expensive and budgetary restraints exist
  • You don’t need A-level talent for a position, you just need a solid “B” candidate in the role
  • Your firm always promotes from within for mid-level leaders and above
  • National unemployment is high and your market offers quick access to strong talent
  • Your firm has used a search partner previously and the results were not acceptable

These are all valid reasons and Charles Aris would be the first to tell potential clients that our services might not be the best option if the above examples are true. The fact is, we’re experiencing historically low unemployment rates and it’s difficult to get top talent. Simply posting an ad and collecting résumés will not yield great results in this economy. Because of that reality, there are several reasons why it makes sense for your organization to consider using an executive search partner:

  1. You have a critical talent need that your internal team has not been able to fill: With unemployment sitting at around 3.5 percent, it’s tough to find the best talent. These individuals are likely not reading job postings, responding to LinkedIn messages or answering emails. They are doing well in their current role, employers recognize their value, and they are treated accordingly. All of this results in longer recruiting cycles and more offer turndowns. If you have a critical talent need, having a conversation with your internal team is imperative. They might be working hard to fill this critical position, but they may also have dozens of searches they are responsible for. They may not have the bandwidth to pick up the phone and call hundreds of A-level candidates and sell them on the opportunity to come work for your company.
  2. Introducing outside talent to the organization: There are many benefits to filling positions internally. It helps keep top talent when they can see a clear career path, but the challenge is that for mid-level managers and above, promotion typically occurs when a senior team member leaves an organization. This causes many of the best employees to leave, so an organization’s talent pool can quickly be eroded. Additionally, weak managers avoid hiring great leaders, but the addition of A-level talent from the outside brings fresh perspectives and new ideas and elevates the entire leadership team.
  3. Confidential senior leader search: There are times when an organization needs to replace a senior leader confidentially. A reason could be to facilitate a seamless transition which limits impact internally or externally with clients. In other cases, the outgoing leader is fully aware and participates in the transition. Many organizations don’t want to let the market know that a change in leadership is underway and they prefer to find talent first and control the message. Conducting a confidential search internally is problematic and is best managed by executive search partners.
  4. Urgency: Many talent needs must be filled quickly. Maybe a client services leader has left unexpectedly and as a result, account relationships are at risk. Perhaps a site director exits and the center needs a turnaround expert immediately. What if the contact center is in a secondary or tertiary market and local talent doesn’t exist for the position? What if you land a large client and need several senior leaders in place quickly to onboard the program? Executive search partners specialize in urgency to deliver talented leaders quickly.
  5. You want the best, passive talent: In this competitive labor market, the battle for A-level talent is real. Why is this important? A-level leaders are not “running for the door”, so they must be sold on your career opportunity and organization. Research shows that the return on investing in A-level talent outweighs the costs associated with it and the world’s best leaders are attracted to organization with other A-players, who often take a considerable amount of time to land. If your talent acquisition team is busy filling other roles or isn’t prepared to be laser focused on identifying and proactively calling top talent, then an outside executive search firm becomes both a cost-effective and efficient solution to your hiring needs.

There are times when executive search partnerships make sense and times when they do not. The best organizations consider their needs on a case-by-case basis, measure their internal team’s current bandwidth and resources, then elect whether to obtain a search partner.

charles aris, Executive Search, USA

Five key reasons to leverage executive search firms

3 min

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