By Rebecca Hawk
Hiring a high-level executive is a complex process that requires care and attention. For some organizations, especially those with a small HR department or no in-house HR resources, working with an executive recruiter can be an efficient way to maintain employee productivity and save time and resources. Here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider working with an executive recruiter on your next executive hire.
Liz Ruble, a recruiter who works with associations to identify candidates for a range of management positions, says that hiring an executive recruiter can actually improve your employer brand.
"Whether your hiring manager is the point person for a management level search, or you use internal HR staff or an external recruiter, that person is often the one who provides the first—and sometimes the last—impression that people have of your association," she says.
In Ruble's experience, some organizations that opt for a DIY approach to hiring executives find themselves quickly overwhelmed. "Wrenches can be thrown into the recruitment process at any point in time. If someone is not on top of all the details of the process, your organization's operations might become sloppy or unmanageable," she says.
Such instances can lead to a poor candidate experience and damage your organization's brand. Conversely, when the recruitment process goes smoothly for all candidates, it only enhances your reputation.
Recruiters can seem a little pricey. But the costs associated with hiring them can often prove lower than those incurred when an association takes a DIY approach.
An organization in immediate need of an executive to fill a key management position is one that could almost certainly benefit from an executive recruitment service, says Ruble.
"Recruiters have their processes down to a science," she says. "They are used to working with clients who are in a hurry, and each recruiter brings with them an extensive network of qualified candidates."
If you're in a rush to find a qualified candidate, an executive recruiter knows how to mine his or her professional network and move quickly to find you a hire.
"Recruiters can seem a little pricey," Ruble acknowledges. "But the costs associated with hiring them can often prove lower than those incurred when an association takes a DIY approach."
If you decide to manage the hiring process internally, you are opting to take on not only the obvious costs—including job advertising costs and background check and drug-testing fees—but also the ones that you may not be tracking.
"You've just lost an employee, so there's going to be the cost of lost productivity while this position is being filled," Ruble says. While other employees pick up the slack for the missing employee, their day-to-day work might slip through the cracks.
If your internal process isn't efficient, the costs associated with the loss of productivity and even morale during a time of transition can add up.
Most associations work in conjunction with their boards to hire top executives. Often, board members don't agree on qualifications and requirements.
Ruble suggests that recruiters can provide a welcome objective presence. "Recruiters are really effective at reading between the lines and understanding what people are looking for—even if they're not able to articulate it very well," she says.
In addition to listening to each board member's concerns and wants, a recruiter brings valuable knowledge to the table.
"Recruiters can provide market information to support decision-making," says Ruble. "They are able to say: 'Based on your organization's compensation range and requirements, here's the type of candidate that we can attract. Here's what the price point will be. If you want to increase the experience or qualifications [for the job posting], here are the problems we're going to face.' From there, board members are equipped to work out a compromise that everyone can agree on."
Ruble notes that there are situations where working with an external recruiter might be counterproductive. "If you're looking for someone in a very local market, it's difficult to find a recruiter who has as much market knowledge as the association," she says. And an easily filled position doesn't typically require a recruiter's services—nor does a position for which there is a rich talent pool in the association's home area.
While executive recruitment services aren't right for every search, they can be invaluable for some. Considering these four advantages of such a service can help you decide if using one is right for your situation.
Rebecca Hawk is the marketing specialist for Association CareerHQ at ASAE Business Services, Inc. Email: [email protected]