When I talk to potential clients about executive search for top management positions, there is always an initial doubt. What does an executive search firm really do differently from what my HR department could do? After all, that’s one of the purposes it exists for, right? While it’s true that HR departments often handle recruitment, primarily for lower-level positions, there are specialists who could handle such tasks.
I thought it would be an excellent topic for another blog post, and I’ve prepared a short list of key tools that an executive search firm possesses and offers to its clients, tools that HR departments typically lack. I present it below with the hope that it will clarify many doubts that arise when there’s a sudden need to execute a recruitment project for top management positions. I also hope it helps expedite the process for such projects.
Current experiences and tools
A suitable executive search firm, one that truly specializes in recruiting for top managerial positions such as board members or department directors, has the advantage of continuously conducting such projects. This ensures that they possess current experience and knowledge about the top candidate market. They also have the latest and most appropriate tools for conducting such recruitment processes, which HR departments in Polish companies, both small and large, may not have. This guarantees a swift project implementation and a successful recruitment outcome.
The best candidate available on the market
As an independent specialized entity, an executive search firm thoroughly explores the market by developing a list of all (or almost all) available candidates suitable for a particular position (known as market mapping – I write about identifying suitable candidates in the market in a separate post here). This way, we have the opportunity to choose the best candidate available on the market and avoid the risk of betting blindly on someone who is not our favorite.
Meetings with candidates from the competition
As an external entity, an executive search firm presents itself to candidates without initially disclosing the name of the company for which it is conducting the recruitment project. This provides the opportunity to meet with candidates from direct competitors and assess their true value to the company, as well as their willingness to change jobs. Such meetings, with the assurance of confidentiality and security for both candidates and the hiring company, are practically not possible in other circumstances. Apart from the potential to recruit the best candidate, they are also a valuable source of market knowledge.
Invaluable, current market information
Thanks to the unique market knowledge acquired during the recruitment process conducted by an external executive search firm, the hiring company gains several unique benefits:
In both of the above cases, the role of an advisor in the form of an executive search firm is crucial because they can not only gather such information from the market, process it effectively, and present it, but more importantly, they possess a range of proven tools with which the issues described above can be addressed. Therefore, it is recommended to use them here and now for modifying the current offer and overcoming the issue of a negative image or any other problems that may come to light during market research, in order to successfully close the currently ongoing project in the shortest time possible.
Partnership with an executive search company is safe
The safety of working with an executive search firm involves not only security but also additional benefits for the client. I will point out two key aspects. Firstly, the executive search firm provides guarantees for the effectiveness of the recruitment process. In other words, if, for any reason, the candidate leaves the position within 12 months, and in some cases up to 24 months (e.g., for the position of the CEO), the executive search firm is committed to finding a replacement candidate at no additional cost within the original fee. Secondly, the executive search firm guarantees in the signed contract that it will not make job offers to the client’s employees for at least 12 months, and in some cases, the firm will not make job offers to the hired candidate for the entire duration of their employment with that company.