Nearly every organization will hire an executive recruiter at some point to help fill a role. There are many reasons why hiring an executive recruiter is helpful, which we will discuss in great detail throughout this article.
But before we jump into that, it’s important to understand the difference between an agency executive recruiter and a corporate executive recruiter. Agency executive recruiters, or headhunters, are typically employees of executive search firms. These are independent recruiting and staffing experts, or firms, who an organization can retain to assist with an internal job search. Corporate executive recruiters are members of the hiring company’s HR team. Many large companies choose to employ individuals who specialize in the recruitment of executive-level positions.
For the sake of this article, we will primarily be speaking about agency executive recruiters and headhunters.
Reasons to Hire an Executive Recruiter
While there are dozens of reasons to hire an executive recruiter, we have narrowed down what we believe to be the seven most compelling reasons:
- Executive recruiters can save you countless hours
- Executive recruiters can reduce turnover costs
- Executive recruiters provide increased confidentiality
- Executive recruiters usually have existing networks
- Executive recruiters have a greater range of expertise
- Executive recruiters can be excellent partners
- Executive recruiters go beyond posting jobs online
For detailed explanations, keep reading…
1. Executive recruiters can save you countless hours
Finding the best talent to join your organization can be burdensome. It’s not uncommon at all for a single job posting to receive more than 200 applicants. That means 200 resumes that need to be individually reviewed and evaluated to determine who is qualified for an initial phone screening.
Executive recruiters and headhunters are trained to do just this. They are experts in the art of screening talent and can accomplish more work, in less time, due to their in-depth knowledge and experience. Think of it this way… if your deck needs a new paint job, you can either do it yourself or hire a painter. Sure, the painter will cost you money (which we will discuss later), but in almost every circumstance, the painter will do a better job, in fewer hours, since this is what they do every day to make a living.
The belief that executive recruiters can save you time is rarely argued. But is the time you are saving worth the cost? We’re glad you asked.
2. Executive recruiters can reduce turnover costs
When retaining an executive search firm to help fill a role, there will undoubtedly be associated costs. Executive recruiters and headhunters typically charge 25-30% of the expected salary for the individual being hired. That means if you are looking for a new VP of Business Development who will receive a total compensation of $100,000 per year, an executive recruiter will likely send you a bill for $25,000 – $30,000.
Yikes! If you look at those numbers alone, it looks like a pretty significant chunk of change. But what if we told you that by hiring a high-quality executive recruiter, your employee turnover costs could reduce drastically.
According to the Harvard Business Review, over 80% of employee turnover can be attributed to poor hiring choices. Additionally, the US Department of Labor states that the price of a bad hire is 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings at a minimum. The idea is that by retaining an executive recruiter who is trained in the art of hiring, you will receive a properly vetted, more qualified, and better fitting employee than searching on your own.
Thus, saving you money in the long run, despite the costs of hiring an executive recruiter.
3. Executive recruiters provide increased confidentiality
Some executive job searches are highly confidential. Maybe a key individual at your organization will be leaving soon. Or maybe your organization is creating a new business unit that is on the hush-hush.The last thing you’d want is to have your competition catching wind of any organizational changes. Whatever the case is, executive recruiters can provide you with an extra layer of confidentiality.
By hiring an executive search firm, you can avoid sharing specifics with internal members of HR. Only an executive search firm will be able to confidentially speak with candidates (some of which may be currently employed at a competitor), without divulging your company’s identity to every potential candidate they speak with.
4. Executive recruiters usually have existing networks
As we mentioned above, executive search firms are typically better at finding talent than corporate recruiters. The simplest explanation for this is that executive search firms were built with the sole purpose of finding and retaining talent.
Google, Apple, UPS, Wells Fargo, and just about every other organization was not created with the sole purpose of recruiting talent. Because of that, their resources are dispersed elsewhere. Whether it is developing new search algorithms, creating new high-tech watches, optimizing delivery routes, or creating new lending programs, these companies focus on other areas than just recruiting.
For executive search firms, all of their time and money is spent on figuring out how to find, retain, and attract the best talent on the market. That’s quite literally their sole purpose. As a result, executive recruiters and headhunters are often times very well-connected. Many executive search firms have massive databases of talented individuals they can search through.
Additionally, if they don’t have someone in their immediate network, you can be sure that they have the means to go out and find the candidate you are looking for.
5. Executive recruiters have a greater range of expertise
Depending on the size of your organization, you may or may not have a large HR team of internal recruiters to help with all your hiring needs. Whether large or small, it’s not always practical to have internal staff with expertise in hiring for every position.
As you begin to hire more niche or complex positions, you may notice that your internal recruiters are missing the mark. At this point, it becomes particularly important to consider help from an executive search firm. Not only could using underqualified team members result in a poor hire, but it takes away recruiting resources that would be better deployed elsewhere.
There are many executive recruiters and headhunters out there who specialize in niche roles. A simple Google search for “(Job Title) executive recruiters” should provide some great options to start choosing from.
6. Executive recruiters can be excellent partners
Executive recruiters can play a key role in your future hire by understanding your organization’s needs, objectively reviewing candidates based on that criteria, and shortlisting the best of the best. If you take the time to work with your executive recruiter, ask questions and share information – you may discover that they can provide some excellent insights.
Additionally, if you are ever working on a difficult-to-fill role, it’s very possible that your executive recruiter has handled this before. They likely will be able to offer advice as to who/what you should be looking for, key skills that would be helpful, and interviewing strategies to determine the best fit. Their insight having worked on similar roles in the past for different companies may prove to be extremely valuable to your organization.
7. Executive recruiters go beyond posting jobs online
Most executive recruiters do more than just post a job online and then interview candidates. The best executive recruiters and headhunters understand that half of the talent market is happily employed and not actively searching for jobs on job boards. Therefore, a job posting online would be fairly useless.
We also referenced the internal databases that some executive search firms have. But what happens when these databases yield no results? That’s when it’s time for your recruiter to start getting creative. Executive recruiters are pros at getting creative with how they find talent. An executive recruiter will be well versed in approaching the “hidden market” of currently employed professionals.They have experience approaching qualified and happily employed individuals in a delicate manner, casting the widest net, and bringing you the best talent to your organization.
We hope that this article has given you at least a few reasons to consider hiring an executive recruiter. While not all executive search firms are created equally, there are some great search firms and headhunters available with proven success in just about every profession, location, and niche.
Take us for example.
At 4 Corner Resources, we have top-notch executive recruiters and headhunters with specialties ranging from call center and customer service, finance and accounting, information technology, legal, marketing and creative, and non-clinical healthcare jobs. We’d love to learn more about your unique staffing needs to see if we can help.