Executive Headhunting

Headhunting’s premise is that the best candidates are already employed, serving in and excelling at exactly the capacity you need to fill.  This makes headhunting a logical approach that has been used for decades.

It is, however, an approach that is in decline as more efficient executive recruitment methods have become available.  Headhunting’s efficiency problems are due to the large investment of time and money headhunting requires, and that headhunters cannot access a large number of the best candidates.

Executives Online has developed a method for reaching these candidates that headhunting misses, and doing so much faster and more economically than headhunters can access candidates via their traditional methods.

Global Search Firm "Not Aligned" with Clients

In a candid interview with BusinessWeek, global search firm Heidrick & Struggles’ CEO Kevin Kelly recently described his company as having a half-century old business model which was not aligned properly with its clients, and which must transform if it’s to survive.

Read the article. It mentions investment in search-related technology, letting candidates maintain their own records online, and embracing technologies once thought to be potentially disintermediating to headhunters as priorities for the future – all things Executives Online has deployed and perfected for years in our services for clients.

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Talent Bank

Breakdown of our 151,000+ Executives by Role, Country or Industry.

Our research report, Executive Talent, concluded that the average executive vacancy takes four+ months to fill, and that companies lose fully two years of management time owing to slower-than-necessary recruitment.

Our Alternative to Headhunting

Improved technology and communications have made the world smaller. Executives Online uses a broad array of online candidate acquisition methods to identify suitable candidates for your role. Executives Online’s global talent bank of over 151,000 pre-screened executives, drawn from over 230,000 applications, means that in all likelihood we already know and have screened a candidate who is perfect for your job, making our service much faster than headhunting. Our talent bank is constantly updated by our candidates and grows by thousands each month.

To better understand the superiority of the Executives Online approach over that pursued by traditional headhunters, consider these weaknesses of the headhunting model:

The Time Lost in Executive Headhunting

It takes weeks to months for an executive headhunter to network to the individuals who meet the requirements, arrange screening interviews and check references. And once the headhunter has found a suitable candidate, it can take further weeks or even months of negotiation, offers and counter-offers, and waiting out notice periods and gardening leave before the new executive starts on the job.

The High Costs of Executive Headhunting

Because success cannot be guaranteed in headhunting, executive headhunters require a retainer and progress payments far in advance of – and without guarantee of – the anticipated placement. And when a suitable candidate has been found, it normally requires an exceptionally lucrative compensation package to entice the candidate to switch jobs.

The Failure Rate of Executive Headhunting

All too often when the executive headhunter has found a suitable candidate the rounds of offers and counter-offers, and the personal issues of relocation and the risks that go along with any change cause candidates to back out at the last moment. Months of painstaking work can fall apart in just one phone call.

Traditional Headhunting Excludes Good Candidates

The very process of traditional headhunting is quite narrow, and takes many great candidates out of the frame from the beginning.

The starting point for any headhunter’s search is to map the employer’s industry, and identify employees in similar roles.

The reality today is that large numbers of executives with strong, relevant backgrounds for a particular role are not sitting, employed, in one of a relatively few number of companies. They may have changed industries for their most recent role. They may be operating as a interim manager or freelancer. They may never have worked in that industry at all.

Headhunting completely discounts the notion of transferrable skills. Worse, most headhunters are contractually obligated not to approach their clients’ employees (they “embargo” them from their process for other clients), which takes whole swathes of employees off the table. (You think you're engaging a headhunter for their track record in your industry, but precisely because they have clients in your industry, they can't work as effectively for you.)

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Ready to Consider an Alternative to Headhunting?

Ready for a superior alternative to executive headhunting? Contact us now to discuss how we can help you fill your critical executive roles.

Still not convinced? Learn more about our approach. Read case studies of our successful executive placements, and what outstanding company you will be in among our clients.