Searching for a new executive takes exponential amounts of time and a level of recruiting expertise and networking that is difficult for most internal teams to attain. If you’re thinking about going it alone and looking for your next executive yourself, first take a quick look at six major benefits you’ll miss out on by not bringing in an executive search firm.
A Neutral Actor
When a company is looking for an executive internally, there are a lot of opinions and potential emotions attached to the decision. Everyone has different requests and priorities and may have trouble seeing things from the perspective of another department or manager.
An executive search firm will offer an objective viewpoint from which they'll be able to evaluate the needs of the business as a whole, including all of the other executives, and will craft the profile of the best fit and go out and find a handful of people that fit that description. They will also be able to attain a level of confidentiality throughout the process that wouldn't be possible if your company was doing the search internally.
If you ask most managers what they need more of at work, the answer would be time. Every minute holds value and once it's gone, there's no getting it back. The potential time savings of hiring an executive search firm vs. performing the search internally are massive. The process typically takes months, and several hours out of each week to analyze resumes, set up and complete phone interviews, and send and review assessments. If being done internally, chances are more people than necessary will be pulled in more often than is required. So, you'll be losing multiple hours of productivity from multiple individuals every week the search goes on.
With an executive search firm, the heavy lifting will be done for you with little need for your involvement in most of it. They will actively reach out to hundreds of potential candidates and do the vetting of each of them internally. They will come to you with just a handful of the most highly qualified individuals for the role. Not having enough time to hire is in and of itself a sign you need to hire an executive search firm.
Often when a new role opens up within a company, the HR person will post a job description on job boards where people who are looking for work will be able to find it. However, this isn't a search at all, this relies on candidates finding your job posting and taking the time to respond to it, typically by sending in their resume and a cover letter. Many of the people that respond may not even be qualified for the role, some may just have questions.
An executive search firm will help create the profile of the person your company needs and actively go out and search for that person. They'll utilize their vast network to reach out to candidates that may or may not be actively searching for work. Typically for the best executives, they'll find them happily employed with their current company but may be able to convince them of the opportunity at yours.
Access to a Wide Candidate Network and Much More
The most successful executive search firms become and stay successful because of the strength and width of their network. This network is typically built by many advisors within the firm and brought together under the roof of the business overall. Typically, this network will include a large pool of potential candidates for just about any role, and is constantly expanding as the firm reps do additional outreach and relationship building.
One major perk of networks like this is they don't just include candidate pools. When you are working with executive levels of multiple organizations, you're also bound to create a few relationships with additional contacts that can have a major impact on companies with which they come into contact. Executive search firms tend to also bring with them access to connections with people like key influencers, advisors, and potential board members and could help make introductions.
Expertise to Ensure Success
Chances are as a CEO at a startup, you haven't hired thousands of executives into your company. You understand the concept of specialization and expertise, but it's hard to let go of control over some things, right? Especially when it comes to bringing new people in to the company you've worked so hard to build from the ground up.
Imagine for a second if you tried to put your Director of product in charge of your sales team. They are smart and capable and it's not that they wouldn't be able to figure things out, but their primary concerns are in maintaining and building your product, gathering feedback, doing testing, not in selling it to potential customers. Product is where their strengths lie, and you of course want them to be in the position where they can make the most impact. The same goes for you and your team when you are considering bringing in an executive. Hiring an executive search firm allows you to stay focused on your areas of strength and continue driving the company forward.
An executive search firm will also be able to take measures to ensure a successful hire, such as assisting you with your interview questions and evaluation process. They'll provide you with only highly qualified candidates so it would be nearly impossible to hire the wrong person. They'll also typically provide assistance with onboarding to ensure the new hire is successful in their role.
If you are searching for and hiring an executive internally, you probably won't know that it isn't working out until it is entirely too late. By that point, the effects that bad hire has had on your business are greater than can be corrected quickly. Most executive search firms come with a guarantee that they will find the appropriate candidate for the job and that the new hire will be onboarded successfully and will stay with the company for a certain period of time after the hire. They take several measures throughout the process to ensure they are finding people that will be successful in the role and with your team.