For most companies, hiring and retaining talent is a challenge. When it comes to hiring and retaining key leadership roles, it is typically even more challenging. If you have been involved in an executive search before, you understand the time, resources, and experience required to get it right. When companies use an executive search firm, they are able to reduce the time and resources required of their internal team, while also decreasing the odds of a mistake or a missed opportunity along the way.
Here are four reasons why you should use an executive search firm for your next key leadership hire.
1. Access An Untapped Talent Pool
Executive search firms employ executive search consultants who build relationships with leaders in their niche every day. At the executive search level, consultants choose a unique niche and geographical area which they spend countless hours learning about and building relationships in. When a company decides to use an executive search firm, they instantly gain access into the executive search consultants’ networks and relationships in this niche.
Executives and leaders are very busy individuals and the average tenure for an executive is 4.9 years according to a recent Korn Ferry survey.
For companies in large markets such as New York City and Los Angeles where there are more executives for a company to attract, this may not be as large of a hurdle. However, for companies in small to mid-sized markets such as Greenville, SC, this could spell trouble. If you were to conduct research on how many qualified executives there are in your market who could join your team if you had an opening, you might be surprised at the less than stellar results. You need to ensure that once one of those qualified executives in your market decides to make a change, that you have someone in your corner who has a relationship with him and knows about it. If you use an executive search firm, they will have a much higher rate of success of knowing this and being able to start the process of introducing your company to the executives in your market.
2. Network and Experience
This takes us to the second reason why companies should use an executive search firm. National averages across all industries and employer sizes tend to fluctuate between 30 to 40 open requisitions per recruiter at any one time, according to SHRM.
Now you are debating whether you should give an executive level opening to your best internal recruiter or use an executive search firm to assist you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- How strong are my internal recruiters’ networks at this level of search?
- Are my internal recruiters successfully finding talent for all other available role we have open right now?
- Do I want my internal recruiters proactively reaching out to my competition’s executives? If so, how will this make me and my company look to my competition?
- Who has the best odds of knowing when an executive is thinking about making an employer change? My internal recruiters or an executive search consultant in the niche?
- Will my internal recruiters be able to understand the inner thoughts and desires of an executive even though they have never been in an executive level role themselves?
As mentioned in the first section of this article, executives are busy and change jobs only once every 4.9 years on average. Do you trust your internal recruitment team to find the top 3 to 5 qualified executives in your market over the next sixty to ninety days? Or do you believe an executive search consultant who is networking with these individuals constantly will have better odds so you should use an executive search firm? For example, an executive search consultant who spent 15 years as a real estate executive in your market and now performs real estate executive search. Who will have better odds of knowing who to call, your recruiter or the industry specific search consultant?
Not all openings in your company require a recruiter with a high level of expertise combined with a deep and niched network to get right. However, seats at your leadership table typically do. If you decide to use an executive search firm, you can ensure opportunities are not missed for your company.
3. Seeking More Diversity
Diversity, equity, and inclusion, also known as (DE&I) is a major “must-have” across most organizations and is no longer just a popular trend.
DE&I is very much an essential ingredient in ensuring that an organization reaches and maximizes its capabilities. To attract a diverse group of top candidates, companies will often use an executive search firm to accomplish this goal.
Leveraging executive search strategies allows executive search firms to seek out and connect with a diverse group of candidates to serve your organization’s needs. They can spend ample time with each candidate to ensure they present valuable and unique capabilities to boost your organization’s DE&I. This is a unique search strategy which requires an even more unique skillset. Executive search firms can speak with a wide pool of candidates and narrow them down based on both their potential to enhance your organization’s foundation, while also filtering them based on their impact on your DE&I initiatives.
4. Increase Retention
Executive search firms first need to understand the entire leadership picture of an organization prior to engaging in a search. To accomplish this, they will request meetings with several key members of your leadership team to acquire unique viewpoints and other underlying aspects of the inner workings of your company leaders. This is invaluable to any company, especially when hiring an executive to sit at the table. This discovery process will be completed if you decide to use an executive search firm.
A company’s leadership team need to always be rowing in the same direction and inner-personal relationships are critical to ensuring success and longevity for a leadership team.
Executive search consultants typically have been employed as an earlier in their careers and the best ones understand how much of an impact one great leadership hire, or one poor leadership hire can have on a leadership team. Increasing retention for your organization’s leadership team is another reason why companies should use an executive search firm. Typically, internal recruiters are at a staff level in an organization and do not fully understand the inner workings and necessities of having a seat at the leadership table.