Why Use Executive Search?

why use executive search

Executive Search Attracts the Top Performing Talent you Cannot Attract Yourself

To answer the question, ‘Why Use Executive Search? you have to start by considering what it is and what it does. Other articles we have written have answered this to some extent, but these have been more about the search process. 

The very simple answer is that Executive Search will help you to ‘Attract the Top Performing Talent you Cannot Attract Yourself’.  To do this you will need to have a different approach to attract the talent that is not readily available on the market.

Just how do you pick the apples off the top of the tree?

Top Performing Talent

These are the top 20% of a companies employees that lead to 80% of the business’s performance. No matter what you are measuring; revenues, KPIs, margins, cost savings, customer satisfaction. Top Performers will be the people leading to around 80% of all of this.

A couple of things immediately follow from this; these are the people the company will most want to hang on to and these are the people that you will most want to recruit to your business from you competitors.

Another point you should consider, these are the people with the least reason to want to move on from their very successful job. This means they will not be looking at the active market and will not be applying for your jobs. They also will not respond positively to LinkedIn or other messaging recruiters use. The chances are they won’t even answer their phones.

Why Use Executive Search?

To attract this talent; the top 20% of your competitors business, the top 20% of performers. That is the Talent that will have greatest impact on your business.

Whether its is Retained Search or Contingency Search, the objective of Executive Search is the same, to identify and engage with this talent and to influence them to consider your opportunity. Remember, they won’t be looking to move and at this point they have no reason to move. Executive Search will seek to identify the reason they will consider moving and to give them that reason.

When you hire is critical and when you MUST find the right person, you simply cannot leave this to chance!

Critical recruitment is often demanding people with skills and experience not common in the market. Executive Search is therefore not only for senior level recruitment, it’s for when you need something specific. You may need people skilled in a new technology area, or with experience running a certain type of project. Or maybe someone with a unique track record, for example you have a failing project or programme that needs turning around. Perhaps you are opening a new business area in a new territory and so need someone specialist at this.

The goal here is to FIND the right combination or skills, experience and personal characteristics and then to INFLUENCE this person to consider YOUR opportunity. In addition you want to be sure you have fully explored the market and know you have the right person. There is really no way of doing this using your usual recruitment process. You need a trained and experienced specialist search consultant to do this for you.

A word of caution; I have many times come across the objection from both line management and HR that they have their own internal head-hunter for these assignments. Good search consultants will make a lot of money working for external agencies (or for themselves), much more than they could ever make working internally for a single company.

I know of companies that have their own recruitment agency function and I know of some head-hunters who will provide a consultancy into three or four companies. In both cases it is unlikely that they would be able to provide a highly skilled search consultant sufficient opportunity to earn as much as they can if they work externally.

Using a search consultant:

In an earlier post talking about the benefits of using a Retained Search we spoke about fully understanding the opportunity.

executive search consultant

  • The Company
  • Line Manager
  • Team
  • Duties & Responsibilities
  • Qualifications
  • Required Experience
  • Disqualifiers
  • Personal Qualities
  • Internal & External Relationships

The skill of the search consultant is to find the top three or four people available today. They will match each candidate with your requirements and then influence them to consider your opportunity. Both the Active and Passive markets will be looked at ensuring no suitable candidate is missed.

The search Universe

Finding the right person is not just about going on to LinkedIn and seeing who works for your competition. The first job of the search consultant is to understand the search universe, not just who is your competition. They will find where suitably qualified and experienced people will have worked, either now or in the past.

What Job titles (or rather what type of role) they have been working in previously. What skills are transferable into your opportunity from other areas etc.. Clearly defining the search universe is the key to a successful search.

Identify and contacting Individuals

Once the search is defined the next step is to identify who has been working in the identified roles and companies. Again, this is not just seeing who is on LinkedIn, or Xing or Viadio etc.. The trick here is finding the people NOT listed on these sites (as well as those who are).

From this list of names the phone work starts. The objective is to engage with as many of these names as possible. It is also about networking with these people to uncover other names and to sell YOUR opportunity to each person. This description hardly does justice to work involved. A full search can involve engaging with (initially) 30 to 60 people (are they available, interested, in the right area, qualified etc.). Building this list to 80 to 100 people through networking. From initial contact there will be between 10 to 15 candidates that have the basic qualifications; the Long List.

Qualifying the shortlist

The next part of the process is to qualify the short list of 3 to 5 candidates for presentation. This is a much more in depth look at the skills and achievements of each candidate against the job requirements through an in depth and detailed interview. (This can be a Recorded Video Interview which can form part of the overall presentation package).

At the end of this process the search consultant will make you a full presentation of each candidates in the shortlist. The presentation is to detail why each candidate has been put forward, how they meet the search requirements and what they have achieved relevant to opportunity. It is not sending their CVs across with a few notes in an email. The result of this will be setting up 3 or 4 first round interviews.

It is of course entirely possible that in the search the consultant will not have identified 3 or 4 qualified people. It is entirely possibly that the search identified that there is nobody with the right skill mix currently available. In this case the search consultant will be able to give you a very in depth report on the market from this you will be able to determine the next steps. You will have factual information to work with to determine your next actions, without the benefit of a search you simply won’t know what is happening!

As you can see, there is merit in working with an Executive Search Consultant. They are experts at navigating through the market of active and passive candidates. Hand picking the perfect apples right from the top of the tree.