Are You on the Lookout for Top Executive Search Firms?
No matter how well you manage your workforce and succession planning, there will come a time when you are hunting for a top executive. When your Director of internet Security announces plans for early retirement – he’s won the lottery at age 46 – the desperate scramble to replace him can be an unexpected and unpleasant one. Corporate recruiters and top executive search firms understand how rare certain sector knowledge and experience can be – a globally-experienced Director of Internet Security who speaks Urdu and French and understands Middle Eastern culture? Good luck with that one.
So, when your workload is overwhelming, and the tasks are challenging, what is a corporate recruiter to do? Can top executive search firms provide a valuable service? Elizabeth Wasserman of "Inc." magazine thinks so -- under certain conditions that is.
One advantage of using top executive search firms is expanded reach. Instead of a list of five to ten people, you might initially have 100. Top executive search firms have more time to devote to stimulating job descriptions that can attract the rare skills that you are looking for. The top executive search firms may possess better networking and search tools. The top executive search firms maintain databases that can identify the passive candidates that you do not have time to tap.
Types of Executive Search Firms
There are three types of top executive search firms, and all of them differ in their methods and the fees that they charge. The contingency firm will source and present candidates to you and expect payment once a hire is complete. They will expect feedback from you with respect to a new hire and are paid a percentage of the hire’s first year’s earnings.
A retained firm is hired for a specified period of time. They are also paid a percentage of the compensation paid to the new hire, whether or not a suitable candidate is found. They may be paid in installments -- when a search is initiated, when a candidate is interviewed, and when a position is filled. This type of firm will invest the time required to understand your corporate culture, research the type of position you are trying to fill, and provide resources to help you fill it.
A container firm is often a mix between the contingency firm and the retained firm. They may require an upfront fee and a percentage of a candidate’s first year of compensation. As a corporate recruiter, there are some precautions to take in your decision making process.
Do your Homework
Ascertain whether a firm has experience in your industry sector. A top executive recruiting firm should have networks and contacts and an impressive track record. Poll other corporate clients to obtain recommendations. The last thing you want is a tarnished employer reputation that can turn off specific, hard to find talent.
Compare relevant past hires with those of your own employees. Would they be a good fit? If not, don't use that firm because it may not understand your cultural dynamic. When analyzing the achievements of top executive search firms, understand the measurements that they use. Different top executive search firms use different metrics to measure success such as days to fill a position; submittal to interview ratio; interview to offer ratio; diversity ratio; retention percentage, and average salary of filled positions. Review the process that the firm will follow in the sourcing, screening, interviewing, evaluating and selection processes. Make sure that their methods include components that you approve of and companies that you would like to examine. Remember, any contact that the firm has with outside contacts, potential employees or not, will be a reflection of your company. Determine who will negotiate terms and who will close the deal before making an offer to a candidate. The process must be a professional one that will attract and retain the right candidate. Be involved in the background and reference checks.
Working with top executive search firms requires trust, communication, and commitment. It is a partnership. Recruitment is not just a process of recruiting top talent. It is a crucial time of relationship building with external contacts that can have a lasting effect on your company's success – and in your chances of hiring a Director of Internet Security.