Wouldn’t it be great if, when you filled your car up with gas, you only had to pay if you enjoyed the destinations you visited after emptying your tank? Of course!
But we all know this isn’t how it works.
Typically, procuring any good or service requires payment before enjoying the purchase.
So how does this relate to you?
One of the most pressing challenges for companies is hiring sharp people to fill key roles. Yet, many treat the hiring process as a commoditized procurement function – multiple firms all vying for placements in a high-volume, low margin environment. Yes, replicable processes are a key component of growing any business.
However, hiring for key roles is inherently a very personal, unique, experience driven by multiple variables. Among the most critical factors of a successful search is client engagement. In our experience, commoditized hiring processes typically result in decreased client engagement.
To avoid the commoditized hiring process we look for two main indicators of engagement from our clients: exclusivity (only one search partner has been engaged) and financial commitment.A financial commitment, such as the nominal fee needed before embarking in an executive search, raises the level of engagement between the search firm and the hiring company, while increasing the likelihood of hiring top talent.Here are three misconceptions that exist regarding executive searches, particularly among small and mid-sized companies:
1. More Firms = More Resumes = Best Candidate = Faster Placements We hear this all the time, and while it sometimes works for lower level/less critical roles, it is rarely an effective or efficient approach to filling key roles. This strategy incentivizes firms that do not value quality. In such a situation candidates are solely communicated to via email, sent over without a qualifying interview, and likely duplicating their competitiors efforts. This lack of quality control yields a less targeted, shallow approach, which, while sometimes lucky, is rarely consistent. Unfortunately this process also causes search firms, who focus on a deeper, more qualitative search process, to become disengaged.
What can you to do avoid the above: Find a firm you trust to do an exceptional job and incorporate the following strategies to yield the best candidates along with a faster, more successful placement.
- Take the time to convey the role, culture, and your company information.
- Empower search firms to facilitate the process and conduct a deep dive to source, qualify, and send sharp candidates your way.
2. Paying Up Front for Searches is RiskyI know what you are thinking - “why partially pay for something up front when another firm is willing to do it on a contingent basis?” This logic assumes all firms to be created equally. The reality is, they are not.Contingent searches typically yield a 30-40% successful fill rate, while engaged and retained search fill rates for our firm run over 90%. What can you do to avoid the risk:It’s risky to pay the wrong firm up front to conduct an engaged or retained search; however, if you empower a team you trust to attack key hiring, and they have strong guarantees indemnifying you against an unsuccessful search, then there’s really no risk.
3. Contingent Searches Yield the Same Candidates as Engaged or Retained SearchesSometimes this is true, but not always. At lower levels, contingent search may be the best option; however, for niche skilled and leadership roles requiring a deeper dive into the marketplace, engaged or retained seraches are the best option. Knowing that a client is invested in the hiring process creates a substantially increased level of engagement between the search firm and the hiring company. Thus, the search firm can allocate more resources and people internally to support an engaged or retained search, knowing if they do the job well they will make the placement and earn a fee.
What can I do to yield the best candidates: If you haven't already, try utilizing a search firm for a higher level or niche skilled role.
Proper engaged and retained search processes conducted by established, respected firms greatly reduce time spent by the hiring company wrangling multiple vendors and voluminous improperly vetted candidates. If leveraged correctly, a successful engaged or retained search will substantially deepen institutional knowledge between the client company and search firm, which only works to fuel future successful search projects.
A good search partner will stand behind their service with strong guarantees mitigating the risk of any up front financial commitment, but will very rarely need to act on those guarantees. So don’t let fear of commitment or past experiences get in the way of a mutually beneficial partnership with a firm positioned to refuel your company with great people.