Oct 30, 2008 | Post by: Vikki Pachera Comments Off on Making the case for executive search

Making the case for executive search

With the state of the current economy–I’ll go out on a limb and say virtually all companies–are toning down their forecasts for the coming year–battening down the hatchets so to speak.   So why would anyone spend money on an executive search firm to find talent–particularly with unemployment running so high?

First, think of how hard it was to get approval to hire that open headcount.  Clearly the business sees filling that role in this economy of paramount importance.  Otherwise, you’d just wait a quarter or two.  You may have fallen on your sword to get the req open.  You owe it to yourself and your business to find an absolute ‘rock star’ for the role.

A ‘rock star’ is becoming, more often than not, a specialist, someone with deep experiences in a particular area, someone who can hit the ground running.  You don’t have the luxury of finding a general athlete who you are going to train.  The environment is too intense, too harsh for that to be a feasible option.

The Bureau of Labor indicated that 750,000 jobs were lost in the US year to date by the end of September in the automotive sector alone.  That’s a lot of people in the market looking for jobs.  The problem is, you need a very specific talent profile.  And, that person needs to be in the right location, earning the right salary,  at the right time in their career to make a change.  The chances that you are going to find that person through an application to your job posting is reasonably low.  Even lower, that you find them in your own Rolodex.

I was having coffee with an executive here in the bay area yesterday and he was telling me with awe about a recruiting firm who landed ‘the top guy from company Y’.

Guess what?  That top person, along with all the other top people in their field, are more than likely gainfully employed.  They are making money for their firms, driving programs, closing deals, off getting results.  They are not surfing job boards.

You probably don’t know everyone who could outperform in the role you are trying to fill but we do.  In a recent national search for an IT executive, we identified over 800 potential candidates.  And presented just the cream of the crop.

Search firms are an extension of your company’s brand.  We articulate, market and sell the opportunity that you are presenting to a broad set of potential candidates who would be right for your role.  With the unique financial crisis we’re in, that’s critically important.  People who feel secure are simply less likely to entertain new opportunities.

Once you’ve decided to bring on an individual, the final negotiations can be tough.  We’ve closed as many candidates taking a lateral move for equal or sometimes less money than we have closed candidates taking a promotional opportunity.  Many of our clients are surprised to learn that and frankly don’t know how to do that themselves.

Landing talent is, ironically, becoming tougher, not easier.  Getting a partner who knows the players in the market, who can legitimately suggest this opportunity is right, and who can seal the deal for you will bring you far better talent than you could find on your own in a shorter period of time.

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