Executive Search Challenges

Executive Search isn’t rocket science. So why are executive search challenges are common? Executive searches often take too long. In fact, 40% of retained executive searches fail to complete. And executive search challenges don’t stop when an executive opening is filled. Far too often, the “transplant doesn’t take”.  The executive hired turns out to be someone the employer would rather not keep.  A survey by the Corporate Executive Board found that one out of every five hires is a “bad hire”, one that in hindsight the hiring executive regrets making.

Still, how hard could executive search really be?  At last check, executive search consulting isn’t even offered as a specific major.  Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations does offer an advanced program in partnership with the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). But that’s as good as it gets.

With no license requirements and few barriers to entry,  virtually anyone can hang out a shingle and does. Amateur recruiters and inexpert search partners may be at the root of ongoing executive search challenges. Come to think of it, it is even harder to go into real estate than it is to go into executive recruiting — the career of last resort for some who can’t figure out what else to do.

Executive Search Stumps the Experts

Still, executive recruiting consistently stumps the experts. The world’s leading retained executive search firms — Spencer Stuart, Russell Reynolds, Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry, CTPartners — all have searches that fail to complete.  The industry average is 40%.  That is nearly one out of every two.  Part of that percentage has nothing to do with the search firm.  Clients may suddenly decide to eliminate a role or to keep an incumbent they previously wanted to replace.  Still, even when you factor in those other causes — the failure rate remains far too high.  Failed search inevitably leads to frustrated clients who cannot help but feel a little used.

Executive Search Methods Are Outdated

One of the reasons executive search is so hard is because executive search “best practices” are outdated. The process hasn’t really changed in more than half a century. Again, it isn’t  rocket science.  To solve the problem, all you need to do is listen to the frustrations of executive search buyers and implement changes that make sense. That’s what we did at The Good Search.

Smarter Executive Search Is Easier

We believe the key to making search easier is to make it smarter. For one thing, harnessing the power of information and data analytics enables much more strategic executive recruiting.  For another, it helps you avoid land mines that blow searches up. Connecting the dots offers the shortest path to the best hires. That is why The Good Search has taken research up a notch. The research is what identifies, profiles, and produces top candidates. With the amount of data in the world doubling every two years, there is a veritable treasure trove of candidate information available that you will not find in resume databases or on LinkedIn. In my former career as an investigative reporter, I learned to use databases to prove things you could not prove any other way. That same method — harnessing the power of data — drives amazing results in executive search. In other words, executive search doesn’t have to be so hard and it does not have to fail so often — not if you know how to make search smarter. The moment you do, you’ll notice a seismic shift. Suddenly executive search just got so much easier.



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