When should an organization strongly consider engaging a retained executive search firm?

 There are many different approaches that companies adopt to recruit candidates. With a large and well-established team, companies work with the in-house Human Resources function for their recruiting needs. Some of the most common approaches include posting on job portals, social media platforms, or seeking employee referrals. In a fast-paced and competitive business environment, it is not always possible to fill roles using these traditional approaches, especially when the role is for C-level or executives. This is one of many reasons why companies turn to executive search firms for help.

An executive search firm is a recruitment company that has expertise in sourcing high quality candidates for executive roles. Because they are ‘retained’, executive search firms work exclusively with the client or company, taking the time to assess existing talent, and understand the company culture and the role. These firms typically work on a limited number of search assignments at a time to ensure they meet the timelines without compromising on the quality of the search process.

Executive search firms leverage their professional networks, while reaching out to the full spectrum of active and passive candidates available in the market.They function under the limitations of time-to-hire and quality of talent.On occasion, the in-house talent acquisition team could fulfill the requirements,but in cases when there is an urgent need to close a strategic position, companies rely on the expertise of the retained executive search firm.

Companies use the expertise of retained executive search firms who are adept at identifying and recruiting mid- to senior-level executives or advanced specialist positions, which require a unique set of skills. Such candidates are difficult to find and hard to persuade for a final offer. Before beginning the recruiting process, company hiring managers should ask themselves several questions:

  • Can we find someone who will take into account the nuances of our organization’s culture and other critical issues?
  • Do we have the time and resources to assess profiles and shortlist candidates from a large pool of qualified candidates?
  • Do we possess the power of persuasion to strike a deal with the executive?
  • Is our network wide enough to find the perfect candidate?
  • Have we made the right assessment for the role?
  • Did we factor in diversity?
  • Are we expert enough to assess if the candidate can be retained for a long time?

If companies find it hard to answer some of these questions, it is recommended that they contact a retained executive search firm. By outsourcing the task to an executive search firm, the company is assured of workplace secrecy,while benefiting from control and transparency that comes from having the job taken care of by someone impartial.

Lastly, hiring an executive search firm to assess the workforce is a reliable way to get a fuller picture of the in-house talent and also lets the company objectively consider external hiring options.

Author: Todd Williams