I’ve wanted to write an opinion piece on the difference between an Executive Search and Recruitment agency model for a long time. After having used both, I’d stress that one isn’t better than the other, but they should be selected for the correct reasons.
So, I have just received this message from a candidate:
I very much appreciate your contact. You know, I’m very confused on this job application process. There are three Consultant companies telling me the same thing: they are representing xxxx on this process. Three of them are requesting my professional details and trying to arrange a conference call.
In view of this, my reply to all of you is the same: Please, let xxxx know that I’m available for a conference call but I’d like to receive an email directly from xxxx requesting this call. It will not make much sense to have three first phase job interviews for the position. Thanks for your understanding.
Have a great day”
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back! And clearly highlights the problem with using more than one provider or in other words, why using many agencies will slow down your recruitment process.
So, Executive Search vs Recruitment:
I believe the main difference between these two ways to identify talent is essentially linked to the TYPE of candidate you are looking for: level of seniority, skill level, experience, shortage in the market; these are some of the requirements that will determine whether to use an exclusive Executive Search approach versus a success-based approach or recruitment approach.
Of course, if you are replacing a manager and need to do it in a confidential manner, you will use one recruiter exclusively with the requirement that candidates be approached carefully, not even mentioning your company’s name.
The same approach is necessary if you’re targeting a specific professional who is working with one of your competitors. This would be a typical Executive Search mandate, with exclusivity.
Highly skilled managers; in this case the situation might be less clear and the choice less obvious, but I still believe that the best choice would be using one consultant that you trust.
Let me explain how a consultant in a success-based Recruitment firm works. Firstly, there are few senior, or experienced consultants working in this capacity and they tend to be mainly young people, new grads, with no experience. You can easily challenge their capacity to understand your needs and the complexities of a C-level role.
How will this success-based Recruitment consultant select your candidates? For international companies, the main tool is the database. Knowing that other recruiters are also looking for the same position, time is the major issue. This explains why, a few days after signing the contract with the agency, you will receive MANY profiles: many of them without any relevance to the job description, most of them not having been contacted or interviewed.
After a week the flow will dry up, because most of the consultants will decide that going deeper without any compensation isn’t worth it, so they move on to a new mandate.
It’s a numbers game for them. Since they know others are also working for you, there’s no relationship, trust or commitment. Both you as the client, and the recruiter, treat the recruitment mandate in the same way: not investing in its success.
If you find yourself working with 10 agencies, why not work with 20 or 100? Unfortunately, it won’t help your process. At best, it will appease your conscience and appear to your manager that you are really working and saving company resources.
Take a moment to imagine a small road overrun with sports cars: will their speed help them arrive faster? No, this situation will only create a traffic jam or worse, an accident that will damage your image in the market!
The industry has changed significantly over the past ten years and is still evolving. Tools like job boards or LinkedIn have a great Impact on the way we source candidates. Companies have asked their Human Resource departments to be more and more business-oriented and focused on cost savings.
Likewise, with the move to a success-based model, it has become even more difficult to find a consultant who takes the time to understand your industry and your company culture.
If you find such a consultant, give him or her exclusivity, even on a contract basis for a short period of time. You will be able to build a partnership with the consultant and this will pay off in a faster and higher quality long-term recruitment process.