Is the Cost of Executive Search Worth It?
I was recently at lunch with a CEO, and he stated how frustrated he was with their ability to find a C-level executive matching their organizational goals and culture. He felt they were wasting time and money with no actual results.
I asked him what the biggest stumbling block was, and he thought it was that his team was struggling to find qualified talent. Not because they weren't capable, but because they didn't have the time to give the search the attention it needed to succeed.
At Helios HR, we frequently work with clients in this situation—they want to hire the best talent for their senior-level roles and don't have the appropriate resources or time to focus on it in-house. For many reasons, partnering with a recruiting firm for an executive search can be the answer in hiring your most critical positions.
Top 5 Benefits of an Executive Search
1. Focus and Process
Executive search firms incorporate a meticulous, laser-focused process that some in-house recruiters do not have the capacity or resources to conduct. All steps in the executive search process are mapped with an intentional approach when filling executive-level roles. By working with an executive search firm, you can eliminate many risks in your recruiting and hiring process.
Instead of working on many projects, executive recruiters focus on one or two—giving your search the critical attention needed to succeed. Part of the executive search process begins with building a targeted strategy while conducting extensive research, exploring talent pipelines and networks, and providing in-depth reference checking and background checks.
2. Pipeline and Networks
An executive search firm utilizes an extensive network of active candidates and a pipeline of potential or passive job seekers. This leads to hiring the best possible candidate - not the candidate who is simply available. Often, in-house recruiting efforts only rely on the candidates who apply (which typically are those who are unemployed or actively looking for a job).
They cannot customize the search process to identify specific skill sets and cultural fit because it is extraordinarily time-consuming. Executive recruiters have the expertise and focused time to leverage various channels to identify high-quality candidates with the right skills and culture that fit your organization.
3. Experts in Recruiting
Top executive search firms are staffed with experts in recruiting. They provide recruiting process guidelines, candidate pipelines, and networks, and most importantly, they have expertise in working with and recruiting senior-level leaders.
Executive recruiters leverage their extensive people skills to determine a candidate's qualifications from a skills, experience, and culture perspective. An executive search gives you the benefit of the recruiter's expertise at each phase of the recruiting process as they problem-solve to identify the perfect candidate.
4. Communications & Negotiations
Executive recruiters are experts at handling unusual situations and offer negotiations (this is paramount, especially when dealing with senior-level executives). They create and nurture a relationship of trust between the organization, candidates, and themselves.
They often gauge and predict potential problems and navigate them to resolve issues. This knowledge and focus often accelerates the process and ensures your chances of finding the best fit for your team. It also alleviates time from your team by letting us handle the back-and-forth communications and scheduling.
5. Time and Cost
Finding highly qualified executive-level candidates can be time-consuming and costly. When in-house recruiters or HR professionals conduct these searches, they must balance time for the search and their primary work. This often yields limited search results and an extended project completion timeframe. The longer a position goes unfilled, the more money it costs your organization.
When partnering with an executive search firm, finding candidates for your role is their sole focus. An executive search allows you to avoid the hidden costs of considering only a small sampling of qualified candidates. An executive search firm can complete the search quicker and save you money. It typically costs your firm 20-30% of the hire's first-year total compensation. Additionally, a guarantee is offered to executive placements, creating a safety net for your organization.
The cost of selecting the wrong person can run into the hundreds of thousands, not to mention the potential negative impact on employee morale and productivity. According to a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) study, it could cost up to five times a bad hire's annual salary.
With precise attention to detail, diligent research and focus, extensive pipelines and networks, and expertise in all recruiting areas, an executive search firm will deliver a thorough and efficient recruiting process. This produces top candidates quicker, bringing more significant impact and value to your organization. It will also give you the peace of mind that the best possible candidates are being identified, vetted, presented, and ultimately hired.