10 Benefits of Retaining an Executive Search Firm

A recent report by JDG Associates guides us through 10 compelling reasons why an executive search firm should be highly considered for your next top hire. Hunt Scanlon lays it all out and invites a roundup of leading executive search consultants to weigh in. It is a mid-year, summertime exclusive! 

June 28, 2019 – Organizations typically use an executive search firm when a top job opening is important enough, senior enough and when discretion is at a premium. These three factors warrant the investment of bringing in a search firm.

Executive search firms are in the business of finding high impact thought leaders who share the same principles, goals, mission, mindset, and cultural fit that can make any business successful. “Senior executives lead the strategic decisions to ensure the growth of your company,” said Darren DeGioia, president at JDG Associates, in a recent report. “Success or failure relies on their expertise. If you need to fill a key leadership position, searching for this individual is crucial. This is the time to choose an executive search firm.”

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Mr. DeGioia has spent 16 years conducting senior-level search assignments for research and consulting organizations as well as the public sector. His areas of expertise include information technology, accounting and finance, the quantitative sciences, operations / general management, marketing and communications.

10 Compelling Reasons

Mr. DeGioia lays out 10 compelling reasons why an executive search firm should be highly considered for your next top hire.

1. The organization needs a growth-oriented leader “who has the skills and relationships necessary to grow a new market, establish a new service offering, or bring transformational change to the existing corporate culture,” Mr. DeGioia said. “The seasoned search firm has the bandwidth to assign two to three senior consultants in a dedicated manner. Most organizations can’t devote those kinds of resources.”

2. The leader you need has a unique background. “A high-quality search firm has the resources and vast relationships to hit the ground running on your search, thus cutting down on the time it will take to complete your search,” said Mr. DeGioia.

JDG Associates has been providing executive recruitment services to Fortune 1000 corporations, associations and non-profits, federal, state and local governments, research and consulting firms and defense contractors since 1973. The firm’s research-intensive process and personal approach have resulted in more than 4,000 senior-level searches across a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines in the Washington, D.C. region and nationally.

3. The culture that has been fostered within your company is truly unique. “Rigorous evaluation and in-depth interviewing are necessary to ensure that each candidate presented has the right personality and cultural mindset to fit in,” Mr. DeGioia said.

4. Traditional search methods have failed. The A+ talent is gainfully employed and happy with their current firms. “The best thought leaders need to be personally contacted and provided compelling reasons to consider new opportunities,” Mr. DeGioia explained. “This targeted, highly disciplined approach will vastly increase the depth of your candidate pool throughout your industry.

5. A new outlook and fresh perspective is needed. Perhaps you are not 100 percent certain that the internal candidate is the best candidate. “A quality search firm can shed objective new light on what type of executive is required to move your organization to the next level,” Mr. DeGioia adds.

6. Confidentiality is critical. Search firms work discretely and have the ability to handle sensitive engagements.

7. A thorough search is time-consuming and demanding. Most senior executives cannot dedicate the time and effort necessary to conduct an effective search. “While you may get lucky by advertising your position, a huge percentage of the responses will not be of high quality,” Mr. DeGioia said. An unorganized, random approach should not be followed when searching for a strategic leader who will impact your business. Moreover, let the burden of screening and interviewing scores of potential candidates fall in the hands of the search firm.

7 Reasons Why Companies Hire Search Firms 
There are times when engaging an executive search firm is essential. A new report by Stanton Chase explores the foremost reasons why a company hires an external recruiter to help do all the groundwork required for game-changing hires at the senior level. Let’s take a closer look.

8. You are not confident with your internal HR and recruiting department to uncover the best talent. Mr. DeGioia says that while “in-house recruiters can typically provide useful junior to mid-level candidates, they do not have the industry/market knowledge, broad professional network, creativity, expertise and confidence necessary to uncover, engage and recruit the most highly-qualified executives.”

9. Executive and senior management positions are compensated at higher levels because their value to the organization is critical. “When these positions remain open for too long, that same value becomes a liability,” Mr. DeGioia says.

10. Using a search firm is more cost effective. It is critical that leadership positions are filled with the best talent as quickly and reliably as possible. The cost of a key vacant position within your organization could literally be thousands of dollars in lost revenue per day.

“You should now be keenly aware that hiring the right talent is critical to the future growth and success of your organization,” said Mr. DeGioia. “Taking the time to properly evaluate your needs should be the first step in deciding whether to engage an external search partner. Doing this critical exercise will pay dividends to your business in the long run.”

Talent Professionals Weigh In

“It is obvious that when making a decision about a company’s most valuable asset, a professional should be used,” said David Nerz, president of NPAworldwide. “It is also the case that many hiring managers and leaders that think nothing of hiring a professional for everything from legal matters to lawn care are reluctant to use a professional search service. This is a classic case of you get what you pay for!”

“One of the biggest benefits an executive search firm provides is their access to thousands of active and passive candidates,” said Kathy Jordan, CEO and founder of Jordan Search Consultants, a healthcare and executive recruitment firm serving clients nationwide. “Often, healthcare leaders and top executives are not actively looking for new positions; however, if the opportunity is marketed correctly, they could be persuaded to pursue it. The ability to access and market to top-tier passive candidates is the hallmark of a premier recruitment firm.”

“We see the benefits really revolving around our ability to consult with our clients far beyond the transaction related to the search itself,” said Brian Clarke, managing partner at Kensington International. “In particular, with clients engaged in sector-specific work – where we enjoy considerable experience/expertise – it is in our ability to speak to specific market dynamics around the availability of talent, the cost of that human capital and the likelihood of finding senior leaders with specific attributes that can be of significant importance.” Nowhere, he said, is this more evident than in the energy and infrastructure space – one of several sectors we spend a great deal of time and energy in.

“At Charles Aris we know that the best talent is not on an active job board, they are sitting in a role where they like the company they work for, the people they work with and the job that they are doing,” said Sarah Becker, vice president at Charles Aris. “Leveraging an executive search firm can be the best strategic method of contacting and attracting this talent.”

“With a tight job market, reviewing resumes and interviewing results in hours of lost productivity for your team,” said Ms. Becker. “Leveraging an executive search firm allows your team to focus on your business while we leverage our resources to identify, attract and land the best talent saving your team time and money.”

“The benefit of retaining a search firm begins and should be based on the value of a truly consultative partnership that will position the organization to identify and successfully recruit the best talent,” said Katherine Young, managing partner and president of Young Search Partners. “The war for talent remains to be the biggest recruitment challenge that organizations face and they benefit from a search partner that can understand key business drivers and find and attract the best leaders that can take their business to the next level. These leaders are happy and challenged in their current roles.”

“The best search firm will be able to find them and present a compelling opportunity to advance their careers. It’s all about the partnership and winning the war for talent!”

“It all really boils down to simple economics and the efficiency that comes from a proper division of labor: top executives should be spending their time and energy leading their organizations, and engage with a retained search firm to do the extremely specialized work of finding and thoroughly assessing top talent,” said Valerie Frederickson, founder and CEO of Frederickson Partners. “This is no different than a CEO or Board engaging management consultants for a strategic review of their operations. They would not do such a review in-house, and there are external partners with the expertise and tools to do it better than they would if they tried.”

Yes, she added, “there is a dollar cost to an executive search. However, the opportunity cost of having a distracted CEO, plus an empty role on the top team, far exceeds the cost of engaging a well-networked retained firm to provide a service the CEO would not be able to replicate in-house.”

“One of the great benefits of partnering with an external executive search firm is neutrality. Your executive recruitment team can act as an objective third party providing unbiased counsel, strategy and guidance. This can be particularly helpful if engaging your desired leadership qualities will require a challenge to the culture and the status quo,” said Paul Esselman, president of Cejka Search. “As a third party, your executive recruitment firm partners are in the unique position to view your organization, leadership and culture with fresh eyes. This objectivity allows your firm to lead a process of integrity to minimize obstacles such as unconscious bias and political maneuvering.”

“Retaining a firm that is an expert in your specific industry – in our case, healthcare – only adds to that third-party value, bringing intelligence from across the industry to provide additional insight to your team,” said Mr. Esselman. “Our job is to be your recruitment advocate and brand ambassador, a confidential extension of your recruitment team, and as such, we have a responsibility to provide your organization with objective counsel to ensure that your recruitment outcome is successful. When executed effectively, this counsel positions your organization for success not only today but well into the future.”

“Clients are often looking for a winning combination of speed and accuracy, said Leslie Loveless, CEO of Slone Partners. “Particularly in a tight labor market, where the high level of life sciences venture capital funding adds urgency to finding top leadership as soon as possible, a focused executive search partner makes tremendous sense. And because we closely follow the career trajectories of proven leaders who are ready to transition into a new position or step up to the C-Suite, we can quickly identify candidates who really fit the criteria.”

“The ‘War for Talent’ is more prevalent now than ever before across all the major industries in the Americas, said Jason Wright, managing partner – Americas at Gerard Daniels. “Human capital is the most important resource a company must not only identify and attract but also retain especially in a recovering economy we are seeing across the United States.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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