When should you engage with a Professional Executive Search firm? Answer is only when you are ready to invest in your business

For a company that has never sought any external support to recruit and build their team, deciding on the best investment for your business or the type of support you need is a really difficult decision. The recruitment industry is huge, I was once told that “there are as many recruitment agencies in the UK as there are restaurants”! Just like restaurants, there are some fantastic ones that you will choose to revisit time and time again probably due to the quality of food and service that you receive but there are also some horrors that will leave you with a very bad taste in your mouth and left wanting a refund. So many organisations we meet, from start-ups to global corporations, tar all recruitment consultancies with the same brush and the reality is far from this.

In my view, far too many companies consider any type of recruitment as a cost to their business and do not include adding to their organisation as an investment in capital as they would a piece of manufacturing automation, in new state of the art offices or a new company wide IT system.

No matter what level you are recruiting, adding new people to your team should always be seen as an investment that you can measure and achieve a return on and definitely not a cost that you want to minimise. Considering hiring as an investment will help you to assess what you need to do to attract the right person, develop the right person and retain the right person. Getting it right will help you deliver your business strategy in the medium term and not just the immediate one.

So, when should you engage with a Professional Executive Search Firm?

The first question I would ask you is why are you considering using external recruitment support? Have you tried to make an appointment yourself and failed? Have you tried to recruit via a Contingency Recruitment agency and failed or has someone mentioned to you that partnering an Executive Search firm could be a valuable strategy? Have you considered all your options and the various different services and value they will offer you?

Here is a previous article we wrote outlining the different between a Contingency and Retained recruitment partner….


So, you have evaluated all the options available and decided to retain a professional executive search firm.

What next?

Investing your time is critical to your success

You need to be prepared to invest both your time and your financial resources to achieve success.

The famous adage of “getting out what you put in” is absolutely the case in recruitment and probably the single biggest reason why companies fail with it.

Your time;

You need to dig some solid foundations and set up to succeed.

Do you have a clear understanding of the role that will provide a detailed brief to your external recruitment partner? You need to have considered the following;

- Do you have an Employer Brand? How attractive is it to entice exceptional individuals to your business? Does your business have a great reputation and will people want to work for you? What is your story, where are you going and why should anyone want to help you get there?

- What is the role you want to recruit? Where does it fit in your organisation structure? Have you written a detailed job description for it that you can evaluate someone’s performance against? What is the key objective of the role and how will you evaluate if your appointed individual is successful in the first 6/12 months?

- Who do you want to recruit and with what skills and experience? What behaviours would align to your company culture?

- Do you need skills from yours or a specific industry or are behaviours and potential more important?

- Why would your target candidate be interested in working for you? Don’t say salary as this could secure someone in the short term but you will be disappointed in the medium term.

- Is it a confidential appointment? Are there any internal candidates? Are you happy for your employees to hear that you are recruiting the role from their industry peers?

There is a lot of preparation to do before you engage with your recruitment partner and it will all help you achieve a successful appointment. There are unfortunately no short cuts or magic wands to waive.

Only when you have invested your time and have the answers to these questions are you ready to engage with a Professional Executive Search firm. Good luck, if your chose the right partner it will be a value adding and enjoyable one.

Feel free to get in touch if you feel uncertain or have any more questions you need answering before you embark on selecting your partner.