“Search firms, or head hunters, add value because the right people have been precisely matched to a business’s needs allowing both the individual and the business to perform at an optimal level in the least amount of time,” says Andrew Woodburn of Amrop Woodburn Mann Executive Search.
The cost of a bad hire in the executive space
When employing senior staff the cost of a bad hire far exceeds that of paying a search firm for an excellent candidate with the right experience and importantly a culture fit for the organisation.
Direct costs include recruitment of the bad hire, removal thereof and replacement.
Indirect costs include decreased staff morale, strategic objectives that have not been met, not to mention a multitude of opportunity costs.
The benefits of using a search firm/head hunter
When using a head hunter candidates have been intensively researched and carefully screened to be a good fit with the organisation long before their CVs land on the HR manager’s desk.
Consequently, once an appointment is made, employees resulting from an executive search process are able to “hit the ground running” and add value to the business when they have been newly appointed.
Good search firms will generally re-work an assignment for free if their candidates leave within the first 12 months of employment. This provides clients with a high level of comfort and the executive search firm with a strong financial incentive to “get it right”. Good search firms seldom have to honour this undertaking as situations when it is required arise infrequently.
Additionally search firms commit to never approach candidates that they have placed whilst in the employ of the client where they have been employed. The client’s existing staff will also not be approached for at least 12 months.
Candidates are carefully vetted to make sure that they are not being sourced from businesses’ key partners e.g. suppliers or end users that would negatively impact business arrangements.
Prior to final appointment successful candidates are put through a barrage of checks that include: thorough reference checks, qualification validation, credit checks, criminal record clearance as well as past employment history. When required, psychometric assessments appropriate to the role and environment are performed.
Furthermore, search firms won’t take on work below a certain minimum as it is not cost effective for either the client or the search firm. In this way the cost-benefit to the client is maximised. Fees are transparent and agreed upfront.
Once clients have successfully used an executive search process they tend to be sold on the experience and understand the added value to their organisation.