Posted March 23, 2015 | Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | 1 Comment »

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

It has been estimated that unfilled vacancies are costing the UK economy £18bn per year. Although this is a staggering amount it comes as no surprise when certain technology vacancies are taking months to fill and the search process can be fraught with difficulties.

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

Why Use Executive Search Specialists For Your Key Hires?

Issues from sourcing, attraction, engagement and confirmation that your target is the best available candidate for the job is all very time consuming, labour intensive and in many cases emotionally draining for the business.

As Indeed reports, these empty seats “illustrate the growing importance of building a strategic recruitment function to hire quickly and efficiently, and find the right fit for each role.”

Identifying the right people for your business is a key investment so why leave it to random chance?

Many companies feel they increase their chances of finding the right candidate by placing the vacancy with a number of agencies. This can be a mistake.

Too many companies burn through the available talent in the market by engaging multiple agencies, and all too quickly all the candidates that you might have considered have been spoken to and rejected, with the expectation that the next best candidate will be just around the corner. The agencies quickly become disillusioned and drop your vacancy down the priority list and leave you with an unresolved problem.

When you have more than one agency competing to get to a finite resource first, the effects on how your vacancy is perceived by the industry and your target candidates can be very damaging for you as an employer. Once a potential candidate has been spoken to more than once about a vacancy, they get the impression that you are desperate, or that everyone is being spoken to about the vacancy. This can be highly off-putting especially when the candidate has highly sought after niche skills or expertise.

Hiring an executive search specialist to run the recruitment project for you is often the best way forward.

Of course everybody has access to candidates; online job boards, social media and candidate databases have ensured this. However, what businesses often forget is that the expertise does not lie in just finding the candidates; it lies in finding the right one. It is in matching the right candidates to the right opportunities, their approach to the candidate, and in persuading them that the vacancy might be one that would interest them. It is this expertise which you pay for.

So what is a retained executive search exactly?

This is a process, where the client engages a consultant for a specific recruitment need, where part of the fee is paid on engagement and a full assignment brief is taken by meeting with the client. This allows the consultant to ascertain detailed specifics about the ideal candidate from technical skills, through to personality traits and background.

This involves actively researching the market to identify individuals within “target companies” normally competitor companies, although the targets are actually defined in the meeting with client.

Once a list of individuals with the right background has been created, the consultant will actively make contact with them to ascertain a level of interest in the role. The consultant will then personally interview each one to draw up a shortlist of 3-4 ideally (sometimes more) to present to the client.

The consultant presents the client with the best 3-4 available candidates in their industry along with interview notes and information about each individual’s background. The key benefit of this is that both client and candidate is better prepared than they would be if they had just received a CV with no supporting information.

The consultant’s job is then to manage the recruitment process from there on, arranging interviews, collating feedback and ensuring both parties are kept informed and up to date with developments.

Final fee is due on candidate start date (or written acceptance of offer depending on terms).

This is a far more in-depth process than traditional agency recruiting and the biggest advantage is the fact that it allows the recruiter to provide their clients with candidates that are not on the active job market. Another advantage is the level of “due diligence” provided by the recruiter is much greater as they have formally interviewed each candidate rather than just conducted a brief telephone screening exercise. This process protects your brand and company reputation as you only have 1 company discussing you, so it is easier to promote a consistent message. It allows you to work in depth with one agency, rather than finding the time to work with 6.

It also allows the agency to put more time, resources and efforts into our work for you compared with a contingency recruitment exercise. For example, our agreements allow us to offer clients a fixed fee and to break this up into 3 parts easing your cash flow.

4 Simple Steps

If you are considering using a retained executive search process to fulfil your recruitment needs, here are our 4 key steps to successful executive search recruitment.

1) Select 1 specific recruiter or consultancy with a proven track record of helping businesses in your specific sector to hire top talent to your vacancy

2) Meet with them to discuss the vacancy

3) Allow them to design the strategy (usually this will involve advertising, database search, other search activities, referrals etc.)

4) Work with them to create a universe list of potential candidates and source sites.

Enigma People are an award winning executive search consultancy. If you would like to work with us on retained executive search basis, or otherwise, contact Ben Hanley on 0141 332 4422 or

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