Better Hiring Decisions: The Power of Executive Recruiting

Executives depend on the quality of their people to achieve their corporate and personal career goals. It is an old adage – and a true one – that the best jockey cannot win races if he only rides slow horses. A better understanding of the skills and abilities of executive recruiters will enable any manager to greatly increase the quality of his hiring decisions, and thereby enhance his own career. Some managers are aware and take full advantage of the best possible means of identifying and selecting top quality candidates for critical staff openings. However, many do not. Frequently, this stems from misconceptions regarding the merits of utilizing the services provided by topflight executive recruiting firms.
By a better understanding of these realities, hiring managers will dramatically improve their ability to secure the most qualified candidates in a timely manner.

Misconception # 1: Companies Can Find the Same Talent That Executive Recruiters Can. 

With the rise in popularity of online job boards and networking platforms, many companies mistakenly believe that these sources contain the same talent that can be found through executive search firms. This belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Executive recruiters don’t just post ads on job boards to find qualified applicants. Typically, they focus on specific industries, and many even specialize by types of positions within those industries. The benefits of doing so are enormous. It allows them to invest tremendous time and energy forging relationships with high performing candidates within these niche markets, learning the types of positions in-demand people would see as advancing their careers. Professionals who genuinely excel have neither the time nor desire to peruse online ads or to respond to online inquiries. It is only when a search consultant personally approaches them that the best people take the step to becoming available for your firm.   Good recruiters invest countless hours establishing unique connections with key performers. These connections allow access to talent pools built over many years…and which are available through no other sources.

This, along with the ability of executive recruiters to carefully screen and evaluate the best candidates, is what allows them to bring the strongest talent to a company’s attention. Companies that rely on job boards or networking platforms will never find the outstanding quality of talent that executive recruiters can provide.

Misconception #2: The Internal Staff Can Do the Same Job as a Quality Executive Search Firm.

While this belief is prevalent within some firms, a thoughtful analysis will prove the opposite. Executive recruiters make a living by finding talent that companies cannot find on their own. While in-house resources may be effective for lower level roles, it makes sense for hiring managers to give themselves every opportunity to interview the very best candidates.
Moreover, internal recruiters typically spend their time vetting applicants who apply or can be found through on-line portals. Search firms focus on finding superior candidates who are successful in their present situation. This very different methodology results in a very different level of the candidate.  The ability to call proven performers with direct competitors to discuss career options is a significant factor in what sets professional recruiters apart from internal recruiters or HR people. Having the ability to reach out to these peak performers offers hiring managers access to highly-sought-after candidates they would never see otherwise.

What experienced manager has not extended an offer to a candidate who would have helped the manager’s company and career enormously – only to receive a turn-down? In many instances, the manager is not emphasizing the specific elements of the opportunity which are of greatest interest to the candidate. These quality performers are not actively looking, and may need to be “sold.” While there are various reasons why good candidates are open to making a change, the fact is that virtually none would be comfortable sharing those concerns with an internal recruiter.

Professional recruiters have great expertise in developing in-depth individual relationships with the candidates they present. As part of a professional recruiter’s service, they will provide the candidate’s primary motivators to making a move – and thereby reduce or eliminate turn-downs, and assure the manager of securing the best talent available.

Misconception #3: Executive Recruiters Are Too Expensive.

Executive recruiters report that many of the companies that can most benefit from their services employ internal recruiters. This may lead to the belief that utilizing executive search firms when internal recruiters or HR people are employed is not cost effective. A simple cost analysis will show otherwise. Consider the combined cost of salaries and benefits of HR personnel and internal “recruiters”, as well as the time that HR people spend doing non-productive interviews with unqualified candidates. These direct and indirect costs are substantially higher than paying out a one-time fee for an executive recruiter’s services. Executive recruiters eliminate the time and expense required by a firm to find, hire and train a new internal “recruiter”. And any truly successful in-house recruiter will soon leave his salaried position to become a successful executive search consultant.

Additionally, your chances of securing a long-term contributor are much better if an experienced executive search consultant is involved. Studies have shown that a bad hire costs companies three times more than an employee’s annual salary. With executive recruiters, their work isn’t done once a candidate has been placed successfully. A guarantee covering the candidate during the probationary period is standard in the industry. Seasoned recruiters make a point of periodically checking in with candidates that they have placed and will share any concerns with the hiring manager. This is invaluable information and directly contributes to a long-term successful employee… and a highly-productive staff.

Internal recruiting can be a good solution to filling less critical positions. They can screen the candidates that apply via the company portal and can provide hiring managers with candidates for lower end roles. However, for more significant positions, it is an excellent and necessary business decision to utilize the services of a highly-skilled executive recruiter with a strong industry focus.

Guest Post by Mr. Steve Finkel, globally-renowned author, and trainer for the executive search profession. Further information on Mr. Finkel’s background, products and services is available at

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