Successful Search – what’s the Secret?

People are one of the key pillars to building a successful business, and when it comes to leadership, hiring the right person becomes even more critical.

Many companies believe they have the resources and skills to hire a leader on their own. However, simply posting details on a job board or company website is not going to be enough to hire a talented leader.

In fact, simply posting an ad for a senior level position means it is likely you will be bombarded with hundreds of applications, mostly from candidates who are not qualified for the role. It can take a lot of time to sort through these only to find that none of the applicants are fit for the position.

The best candidates are unlikely to be on social media or scouring job boards for new openings. They are employed, busy people, accustomed to finding new job opportunities through their network, connections, and referrals.

If you ask an employee to reach out to these top leaders, they’re most likely not going to get a response due to the lack of an established relationship.  By diverting employees who are inexperienced with hiring leaders to this task will likely be a waste of energy and resource that could be spent more effectively working on other projects.


Ask the experts

Taking on the responsibility of attracting, recruiting, and hiring a leader is not something that can be done passively. Recruiting and reaching out to top candidates is a strategic, time-consuming effort that is often performed by multiple people.

By engaging an executive recruiter, you gain access to a network of largely inaccessible contacts with which they have built relationships over a number of years.

Search firms take the legwork out of recruiting and pre-qualifying candidates. Instead of sorting through and interviewing dozens of applications, a search firm will narrow this candidate pool down to a more manageable number that only includes the best of the best for you to meet. This process helps to streamline interviews and save time.

Today’s leadership roles often require a professional with a unique mix of skills. Finding a professional who possesses all of the qualities is not an easy task. Search firms have the resources and processes to find candidates to fill difficult roles. They have databases populated with pre-qualified candidates, and know how to perform searches for technical positions that may require a mix of skills.

When using a search firm, the relationship should be consultative, working like a partnership.  As well as managing the recruitment process, the search professional can provide insight into issues such as remuneration packages and benefits based on knowledge of the market.

The search firm can also support you in managing situations requiring discretion, for example should you require to replace an under-performing staff member while they’re still in their current role. This type of search requires confidentiality and trust to get the job done.


Engaging a Search firm – breaking down barriers

There are many reasons why companies are hesitant to engage a search firm to help them hire leadership talent.

Whether it’s because they think they can hire a leader on their own, don’t want to pay the cost of retaining a firm, or they’re just sceptical of the process, these companies are ultimately missing out on an opportunity to hire the best talent for their company.

The costs associated with hiring the wrong person for a senior position are extremely high, and employee turnover, particularly in senior positions can even bring down employee morale and productivity.

With the threat of what can happen if an internally managed search process goes wrong, coupled with the benefits that come from accessing the recruiter’s knowledge, skills and network, the cost of hiring a search firm is likely to be more cost-effective in the long run.

Angela McCann is a consultant with technology and change specialists, Hamilton Forth.  Contact her at [email protected] 


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