So you’ve decided to use a headhunting firm to secure a key hire at director level. What can you expect them to bring to the party, the right talent in a timely manner certainly, but what else do they do to justify their fee?
Let’s leave aside the generalist executive search firms for the moment. Unless a firm is global, their pooled knowledge of any one market is unlikely to rival that of a small boutique search house who specialise in one market vertical. So rather than waiting patiently for a firm to collate information on your market sector from ‘40 offices in 30 countries’, let’s consider the added value of the boutique firm who operate in only one market sector, yours.
Firstly, you immediately share a vital common constituent with your chosen search firm; your livelihood and theirs derive from the success of the same industry – the one in which you both operate. This should never be underestimated. Communicating a shared passion for an industry is a key factor in understanding and attracting the right talent.
A boutique niche firm will have invaluable insider knowledge, impossible to acquire by other means, into key talent targets including first-hand knowledge from the people they have worked with now and in the recent past.
Here’s what you might expect to receive from your boutique niche search partner:
• Immediate access to current salary benchmarking
• In depth knowledge of competitors
• Detailed job market data
• Market sensitive information on competitor strategy
• Broad niche market knowledge
• Insights into parallel markets with synergy
• Turnkey information on competitors’ succession planning
• Lateral thinking on key industry hires
• Experience of similar hires elsewhere (past, present, and possibly future!)
• Extensive personal networks
• Inside track information
• Techniques for discrete access to sensitive competitor data / trends
• Key recommendations for top performing prospective talent
Meanwhile ‘ACME Global’ have just about prepared to commence to send out the memo to those 40 offices requesting some CVs on suitable candidates!! They say you pay your money and make your choice. In this instance, the right choice seems clear.