The More Things Change… - The Irreplaceable Value of Executive Search Firms

20 October 2016

In the face of digital disruption, ever-expanding job boards, hiring tools and resources such as LinkedIn freely available to all, executive search firms are still flourishing. But how? Why? These tools were meant to be the death knell, not just for executive search functions, but for the recruitment industry as a whole. New tools made it possible for companies to be their own recruitment gatekeepers, and digital advances heralded the automation of candidate and job matching – effectively destroying the recruitment industry as we know it.

But none of that actually happened.

Granted, the rise of LinkedIn, job boards and other online sourcing methods, have certainly changed the face of the industry, especially in regards to how candidates are sourced. However, much of this change has been for the better. Thanks to these new tools and platforms:

And all of this is dramatically more cost effective than before.

So, in reality, despite all of the talk of recruitment being replaced, and businesses having all this technology at their fingertips, third party recruiters remain able to offer genuine value to employers – especially in the executive search arena. But why?

You Can’t Automate People

Ultimately, when you engage a recruiter, you’re getting far more than just somebody who will search LinkedIn for you. Particularly in executive search, you’re going to have access to a higher level of candidate. Many senior candidates don’t actually proactively market themselves online, and many aren’t even on LinkedIn. These candidates need to be found with a targeted, focussed approach. Search consultants are well networked and far better equipped to engage with these hidden candidates.

The whole idea of communicating, understanding human behaviour and building relationships from that is key to being a recruiter. No amount of LinkedIn searching can teach you those skills, because even when you’re able to find the perfect candidate online, convincing them to join your organisation is a whole different challenge. Having a wide overview and strong understanding of your industry and the professionals within it, as well as having access to those networks, is crucial to engaging top talent.

Not only that, but even if all these new tools are at your fingertips, you still need to know how to use them. That means you need to spend time learning how to use them, time that would be just as valuable spent on other duties. Executive search isn’t a part time job, so by engaging someone with specialist skills and experience in this space, you can avoid many wasted hours getting to grips with the functionality of various sourcing tools with mixed results in terms of actually sourcing candidates. With search consultants being experts at identifying, sourcing, qualifying and evaluating quality talent, you can be sure that the candidates recommended to you have merit and are all worth looking at.

However, the skills that an executive search firm can offer an employer are not the only thing that provides value either. The very nature of a recruiter, as an intermediary, is appealing to many candidates at the higher level. By not directly engaging with another company, recruiters are the first line of defence in terms of a candidate’s confidentiality. This can give a candidate a greater level of trust and assurance, and if you want the best person for the job then that trust is absolutely crucial.

Closing Thoughts

While we’re talking about trust, who do you trust with your executive opening? Do you trust technology or expertise, credibility and confidentiality? New developments may have changed the face of executive search, but the core of the practice remains intact. At its heart, all recruitment is about people; communicating, interacting and providing a great service for all parties.

If you need specialist help in engaging that hard-to-find talent, feel free to get in touch with us here at Luminary Search.

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