The Benefits of Using an Executive Search Firm

Partnering with an outside recruitment firm provides a range of benefits in terms of time and resources that most companies can’t match, according to a new report from Kestria. Confidentiality, extensive databases, and in many cases global reach are just a few of the reasons to call in a search firm.

November 17, 2022 – Great recruitment takes hard work. You need a solid and effective process end to end to be able to access the best candidates and provide the offers that keep them once you’ve found them. This all requires a certain expertise and approaching not just those officially interested in a position, but also those who don’t yet know they are interested, according to a new report from  Kestria, formerly known as IRC Global Executive Search Partners. All companies have their own talent recruitment teams for doing this, right? So why hire an executive search firm? Kestria checked in with six of its alliance members from around the world to ask them just that.

Access to an Extensive Database of Candidates

“Executive search is the most effective and time-efficient way to ensure that all relevant and qualified candidates in the market are considered and approached,” said Rania Abdalla, founder and managing director, Kestria UAE & Egypt and Aspire HR Consultants. “Every search is a new project that is dedicated and tailored specifically to the client’s needs. Through extensive and thorough searches, search consultants make sure to include those passive candidates who are not actively looking for new positions. Our integrated approach includes research, confidential networking, and access to our global databases; this proved very effective in finding the best-fit candidates for the job.”

In some cases, clients request regional or international searches which we can professionally cover through our global reach in more than 40 plus countries, according to Ms. Abdalla. “Moreover, search firm have databases of candidates’ references and feedback collected over the years from employers that help us expedite successful searches,” she said. “Search consultants are subject matter experts who have been exposed to different industries and functions and understand exactly what to look for in executives.”

Rigorous Search Process

A rigorous and high-quality process involves detecting the best executives through an exhaustive analysis of the market in question, in order to respond to the needs of our clients,” said Natalia Segura, managing partner, Kestria Spain and The Skeye. “This involves working with a team of consultants and senior professionals with extensive experience in properly identifying target companies and assessing executive talent, and using the best tools in each of the phases. A good executive search firm also allows the client to go much further during the process itself guiding them in reflecting on the talent they are looking for and really need or will need in the future. It keeps the client on top of market trends, allowing them to keep their hand on the pulse in terms of the motivations of candidates as well as their perception of the organization.”

Furthermore, and very often, Ms. Segura explains that it facilitates a certain paradigm shift to incorporate new profiles that can bring disruptive and differential value to a business. “A rigorous and high-quality process gives the candidate objective knowledge of their aptitudes and their ability to fit into a new corporate culture, of their position on the market among other candidates,” she said. “In short, it generates an image of quality and care for people which reverts directly to the client’s image. And this is a very good first step toward a good employee experience.”

Discretion & Confidentiality

While discretion is the cornerstone of any successful executive search assignment – there are numerous situations in which maintaining secrecy is paramount, and this is where a credible and reputed executive search firm can provide significant value addition, according to Manveet S. Hora, executive director, Kestria India and Synergy Consultants. “Understanding the nuances of the role may involve probing conversations with stakeholders and explaining that the need for the replacement/new hire may involve sharing sensitive data with the recruiter, all of which are sources of leaks in case the hiring team is internal; and the very nature of teams represents a high risk to confidentiality,” he said.

“Persuading top-tier candidates requires a highly personalized approach – and this is where executive firms can lean in with their credibility and established network of connections to discreetly check references, cultural fitment, and leadership competencies of a targeted talent pool without disclosing the client’s name or other specific details,” said Mr. Hora.

Time & Cost Savings

“Retained recruiters will likely ask for between six and 10 weeks to present a shortlist of suitable candidates,” said Tracy Dawson, partner, Kestria South Africa & U.S. “Contingency recruiters might seem more attractive as they may begin presenting candidates within days, because their pool of candidates is active rather than passive, or there is a ready supply of the skills and experience required.”

Related: Retaining Your Employees During the Great Resignation

As a result, contingent recruiters may be quick to present resumes for a role but will focus on candidates who are highly responsive to a new opportunity. “This may mean that your ideal candidate, who is not looking for a role and has not registered on job portals, updated or provided useful detail on their online profile, and feels valued and rewarded where they are, will never even hear about the opportunity,” said Ms. Dawson. “The slew of quick-response resumes presents a time and energy cost to your line managers and human resources business partners, which should be factored against the highly methodical and rigorous search process, producing just a handful of candidates at week eight, all of whom have been screened and assessed against both the hard and soft variables of the role.”

How a Recruitment Firm Can Help Your Hiring Strategy
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on national labor markets. More and more people have been leaving jobs in pursuit of other interests or have dropped out of the market altogether causing a labor deficit across the country. Candidates can demand more money and flexibility, which is causing pressure on companies to not only backfill these positions but also reassess and reorganize internal policies. There are times when internal strategies alone aren’t enough to secure the most qualified candidates, and traditional recruiting methods such as online job postings and hiring events won’t introduce you to all potential candidates. A recruiting agency, however, can help your company identify and hire qualified professionals.

Hard variables include qualifications, experience, and package, while soft variables cover availability, interest, commitment, and the always-complex fit element, according to Ms. Dawson. “Conventional wisdom is that agency or contingency recruitment is always a lower cost than retained recruitment,” she said. “The many advantages of retained recruitment suggest that this is not inevitably true.”

Transparency in the Search Process – Diversity

“Transparency between executive search and the corporate client can often include confidence that a search firm can and will deliver,” said Gary L. Saenger, president, Kestria U.S. and Saenger Associates. “It almost always includes full confidentiality for the client and the candidates. Trust develops when clients see actions that back up promises. Promises are key in delivering against what are often near impossible odds.”

“Greater accountability by the executive search firm and client is key by devoting the appropriate time and priority to the search project, i.e. weekly meetings to give meaningful feedback,” he said. “Constructive but clear feedback is a must. When it comes to transparency between executive search and the candidate, it is important that the executive search firm set realistic expectations for what the candidate should expect on the job.”

“Succession planning is typically key to most executive search projects,” Mr. Saenger said. “Discussing organization culture, which is so important to employee engagement and provides a very good sense of organizational values, expectations, philosophies, and mission. Discussing the organizational structure and sharing key process drivers with the candidate set the organization up for success and help them to understand the key initiatives the organization is focusing on moving forward.”

Securing Top Talent

“At Kestria, we are continually engaging with top-tier candidates who may not be looking for a new role but possess the qualities your organization seeks,” said Malcolm Duncan, director, Kestria Australia, and co-founder of The Insight Group. “We engage every candidate in a strategic and confidential manner and then identify, assess and help you, your board and your organization make the best decision. And because we have built a strategic and personal relationship with the candidate, we are a trusted advisor not only to your organization but to the candidate.”

Kestria has partners in over 80 cities across Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The consortium has completed more than 30,000 assignments for more than 3,000 clients in virtually every industry segment and function, according to the firm. Kestria has completed over 40,000 searches for over 4,000 clients, serving everyone from start-ups to major global players.

Related: Hiring Top Talent in Unprecedented Times

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

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