When’s the right time to use an Executive Search partner?
So you have a senior executive hire to sort, either as a result of an internal move, or someone exiting the business – whatever the reason, your task is to recruit an executive with equal if not better skills than the incumbent to help take your business to the next level. No one relishes the job of recruitment, that is except the Recruiter or a Partner in an Executive Search firm.
The one thing most Senior Executives don't have is lots of free time in their diary. And recruiting is a full-time job, make no mistake. When did you last look and think, hey I've got loads of time to fill in my day?
You fill your time with meetings, strategic planning, governance of the business, delivering on your role, managing your client partnership and of course, managing your department and direct reports.
And now you have another major task on your to-do list.
So, where do you start and what are your options?
- Procurement pressures and focus on costs has been impacting us for the past decade. Who needs another considerable cost on the P&L?
- Many firms have brought in and developed brilliant talent teams to reduce the considerable cost of recruitment to the business.
- HR has continued to focus on engagement, candidate experience, wellbeing and retention of people.
- Never have there been so many HR tech solutions available to us, but the truth is that technology is progressing faster than the up-take – lots of corporates are slower adopters for all the reasons we all know.
- We have LinkedIn at our disposal, making it straight forward to identify who might be right for your role. However, while it may be accessible to identify and make your wish list, turning this into the reality of an engaged candidate and a key hire is another thing!
Given all the above, you would think that the time to fill a senior role has reduced, wouldn't you? Well, unfortunately not - the average time to fill from briefing point to start with your firm is anything from 12 weeks- to 26 weeks. Sometimes you will also add another 12 – 24 weeks for notice period too
So how much will this hire cost your business? Consider the outcome if you do not have someone on board for six months – both from an economic viewpoint not to mention stress, team engagement and potential microeconomic issues?
So option 1, brief your Internal Recruitment team. Things to be aware of or to investigate if you go down this path.
- Your internal team – how many are there and how many roles are they actively working on across all departments? I have known some groups working on 30 plus active roles at one time.
- How frequently have they recruited this type of Executive position?
- Are you sure on the brief, or would now be an excellent time to have your thinking stretched a little differently – maybe bring in some transferable, more creative or technology/digital skills?
- How many candidates with these skillsets have they spoken to in the past three months?
- What passive candidates are they regularly in touch with? Now, a nudge might be all they need to talk to you
- Do they know who works in your competition, or have they placed someone like this before, so have an established network?
- Can they deprioritise the other roles to fully commit to filling your position and connect with online and face to face these potential senior executives?
- Can they offer you service that means you agree on the deadlines, and you are confident your shortlist will be delivered at this time?
- Do they have a research methodology with a support mechanism, or are they using the company website and LinkedIn as their go-to database? Is this casting the net wide enough?
- Would they be the very best person to negotiate a sometimes-tricky, complex remuneration and exit package, not to mention the counter-offer scenario?
We get it. Even though you know your role won't maybe get the full attention or expertise a Search business would give it, you are tempted - there's no fee after all.
Well, in our experience, often there is no fee – although there is always a cost. However also there is no commitment or partnership - and in the end no hire.
This isn't a slight on internal recruiters, far from it, they usually are massively stretched, working flat out and hiring great people into your business. However, at an Executive level, there is a requirement for real specialism and expertise. On top of this you need a research methodology, time, influence and active management of the process because as we know all too often the talent pool isn't big enough for the demand.
The complex reality when you are recruiting is this;
- You must choose your recruitment partner very carefully and give yourself the very best opportunity to fill this vital role, within timescales so not to damage your role, team or deliverables.
- You need to understand what's influencing decisions, talent, expectations, and who is offering what type of experience and packages to ensure you compete for the most appropriate candidates.
- The cost of getting this wrong is at least three to four times that of an external fee, so you need to be confident in your solution provider.
- Time kills deals. If your role has been open for 3-4 months, the market can perceive this negatively (why doesn't someone want the job?), and this can cause additional complexities.
- Guidance on the external market, your competition and honest assessment of the challenges and opportunities for you when recruiting this role
- A research methodology, with clear timeframes – so you can let this be our full-time job, not yours. The average research time for a role at Hanover is anything between 30-60 hours. Then we have the engagement, screening, interviewing, presentation of position, management of the process and so on.
- Specialist knowledge, built over numerous years of the delivery team, that can identify, engage, screen and influence at a senior level.
- A partner who, if chosen correctly, can emulate your values, your employer brand and act as a clear ambassador who can manage the entire process and ensure fluid communication throughout.
- A partner who can bring a new perspective to this hire, with enthusiasm, passion and commitment to the delivery. Not to mention a contract to fulfil.
Option 2 – Choose experienced Executive Search partners where the key benefits include;
Guidance on the external market, your competition and honest assessment of the challenges and opportunities for you when recruiting this role
A research methodology, with clear timeframes – so you can let this be our full-time job, not yours. The average research time for a role at Hanover is anything between 30-60 hours. Then we have the engagement, screening, interviewing, presentation of position, management of the process and so on.
Specialist knowledge, built over numerous years of the delivery team, that can identify, engage, screen and influence at a senior level.
A partner who, if chosen correctly, can emulate your values, your employer brand and act as a clear ambassador who can manage the entire process and ensure fluid communication throughout.
A partner who can bring a new perspective to this hire, with enthusiasm, passion and commitment to the delivery. Not to mention a contract to fulfil.
Far too often, we speak to a client who chooses option 1, and then following an unsuccessful period, decides to use an external partner.
We are always, of course, happy to work in a dedicated way on a mandate, however next time you might want to save yourself time, undue pressure and stress and opt for option 2, an Executive Search solution. If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you with any of our service offerings; please get in touch.