Insight
Executive search Cambridge Bailey Fisher

Why use executive search?

October 30, 2019

With our focus on supporting earlier stage, high growth companies, we at Bailey Fisher often find ourselves discussing senior hiring plans with first-time executives, for whom a Retained Search is a new and often unknown process. As such, the process is often weighed against other, more immediate options, which can appear more attractive from both a cost and a timescale perspective.

So why choose a Retained Search process over other options? When seeking to recruit an executive who will significantly impact a business, and demonstrate the niche skillset that growing businesses so often require, these apparently attractive means often flatter to deceive, and whilst all recruitment methods have their place, a retained search process will provide the most targeted, thorough, requirement-specific approach, and ultimately give peace of mind that the eventual candidate is indeed the best possible option for the role.

The key benefits of a Retained Search are numerous, however the following points stand out;

  1. Specific Targeting – a business’ product, market and proposed strategy often mean a very specific blend of skills and experience is required in an Executive’s background, and it is likely the candidate pool is both geographically dispersed and somewhat limited. In addition to helping define and better understand your role’s requirements, a retained search process will employ dedicated research resources to analyse hiring markets in depth, and ensure all relevant talent is identified, targeted and considered. Whilst this seems obvious, this is not always appreciated when comparing against other approaches.
  2. Candidate Visibility and Availability – a common theme among high-performing Executives is that they are usually well employed in stimulating, exciting and well-rewarded positions, at the forefront of their markets, where they are both professionally and emotionally invested in the business’ future plans. It is therefore not surprising that A-Grade Executives are rarely actively seeking new opportunities. That said, with relevant opportunities for progression often infrequent, one finds these Executives may be open to discussing something really special, if approached appropriately by a trusted contact. An experienced Search consultant will be able to leverage trusted networks built over many years to ensure these passive candidates are approached discreetly and briefed accordingly.
  3. Expert Consultation Throughout – hiring Senior Executives is not easy, and people are a highly unpredictable commodity; whether it be candidate identification, engagement, assessment or the eventual negotiation, there will always be unforeseen, and often significant, challenges through a recruitment process, and Executives on both sides of the Boardroom Table rightfully expect a professional, knowledgeable and trustworthy Consultant to navigate them through these difficulties. Often, it is the steady hand of the Consultant which ensures a successful outcome, and is a key part of the value-add that a Retained Search process offers.

Whilst there are many further, more subtle benefits to using a Retained Search process, we find that these are the key differentiators, and their value cannot be overstated. The right Executive can often be the difference between business success and stagnation, whilst the wrong executive may indeed cause significant and lasting damage. Indeed, the cost of making the wrong hire often far outweighs the cost of the Retained Search process, and as such it is right to consider the approach as an important investment in the future success of a company.

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