Why you should consider executive search exclusives

Executive Search | RPO

By Sabrina Balmick, Marketing Manager, ACA Talent

Working with an executive search partner when you need help with specialized or hard-to-fill roles is an obvious solution. What isn’t always obvious is whether you should work with a partner exclusively.

Often, when potential clients reach out to us, they may already be working with several firms on the same role—and have been doing so for several months. Although we’re happy to compete, this scenario doesn’t always make for the most productive relationship. While the logic of involving several players to build a larger candidate pool makes sense in theory, it doesn’t always hold true in practice. Consider the following situations in which you may want to partner exclusively with a firm.

1. You need the right candidate, not just any candidates: This especially holds true for senior-level roles or for single locations. Casting a wide net using multiple firms may not only damage your brand (more on that later), but you may not see the right talent, because recruiters that know their contract isn’t exclusive may be slinging any candidate at you in hopes of a quick placement.

2. You need thorough candidate vetting: Speed can often get in the way of quality, and when multiple firms are competing on the same position, they are trying to send you candidates quickly. This may mean cutting corners on interviewing, relying on shallow database searches versus engaging in true headhunting, or simply not reviewing the candidate’s job history fully. You’ll end up with a revolving door of candidates who aren’t fully qualified, and a bucket of frustration.

3. You need to control your marketing message: Having multiple firms involved in a search is like a game of telephone: each firm will put its own spin on the position. If you’re recruiting for a very specialized position, the candidate market is already limited, especially if the position is located in one city. This means that the same candidate may receive several different calls from different firms about the same position, creating confusion and damaging your employment brand. Candidates will be less likely to take the role seriously and may be hesitant to engage with you because of mixed messages, and ultimately making the position more difficult to fill.

4. You need skin in the game: While partnering with multiple firms and seeing candidates from all firms allows you to build a larger candidate pool quickly, it doesn’t often inspire trust from your recruiting partner. In fact, your partner may deprioritize your position because you’ve farmed it out to so many firms. Search firms generate revenue based on placements, and those chances dwindle when ten different firms are involved. Your recruiter may only be devoting a fraction of attention to your position, versus one that’s exclusive and more likely close. The result is your position doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, and it may take much longer to fill (if it gets filled at all).

5. You need the right executive search partner: Not all search firms specialize in the same types of roles. Again, by casting a wide net to any firm who’ll accept your business, you may be doing your search a disservice because you may not be working with specialists who can find you the right fit, especially when it comes to qualifications.

To access deep talent networks, consider working with specialist firms in your particular area, such as accounting, engineering, or even sales, because these recruiters are already working with the top candidates in the market. As they engage with talent on your behalf, they’ll sell the benefits of joining your company, build your employer brand, thoroughly interview candidates, and foster relationships so candidates aren’t wooed away be another opportunity. In the end, your position will actually get filled faster with the right person, and you’ll build a business relationship to help keep your talent pipelines full.

To learn more about how our ACA Talent executive search recruiters can partner with your company, reach out to us at 866-244-1306 or contact us online.