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The Good Search CEO Krista Bradford's Blog The Investigative Recruiter
Why Executive Recruiters Fail

Why Executive Recruiters Fail

When good data happens to unskilled recruiters There is, in executive search, such as thing as too much candidate data. Yet few recruiters understand  how to gather, parse, analyse data to make executive search smarter.  In fact, many executive recruiters still turn to “name generation” — research aimed generating more candidate names when, these days, too much information (TMI) is the problem and not the solution. Recruiters are overwhelmed by resumes, social media profiles, email, tweets and texts. They lack the skills necessary to match force with a tsunami of career data.  As a result, executive recruiters fail. Googling a prospective candidate’s name, rank, and serial number is easy. You know what’s harder? Knowing that data exists beyond search engines in the deep web and then knowing what to do with it. The amount of digital data is increasing at a stunning rate.  IDC, a global market intelligence firm, estimates a 40 percent to 50 percent growth rate in digital data. In only five years, the firm anticipates there will be 40 zettabytes of data out there. Does your search firm even know what a zettabyte is? It should. A zettabyte is a measure of storage capacity and is 2 to the 70th power bytes, also expressed as 1021 or 1 sextillion bytes. One zettabyte is approximately equal to a thousand exabytes or a billion terabytes. Michael Walker, the Managing Partner of Rose Business Technologies, describes what we’re witnessing as the Rise of Data Anarchy. Anarchy and a Dash of Reason The Good Search was founded with a backbone that most other executive search firms don’t have: investigative reporting expertise. We believe that when it comes to... read more
How to Get to Know a Retained Executive Recruiter

How to Get to Know a Retained Executive Recruiter

Stalking the Elusive Retained Recruiter Senior executives are often advised to cultivate a relationship with a leading retained executive recruiter as a way to get ahead. However, that is not an easy thing to do, even after you have laid the necessary groundwork. You’ve polished your resume to a high shine and have built out your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. You’ve demonstrated just how witty you are in tweets on Twitter. You’ve served as featured speaker at a leading conference or two to raise your profile. Come to think of it, you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do. Yet for some inexplicable reason, retained recruiters still give you short shrift. The few times you manage to get a retained retained recruiter on the phone, you don’t sense any real connection. The goal of forging a meaningful relationship with a top retained recruiter remains frustratingly elusive. Why Retained Executive Recruiters Are the Ones to Know Retained executive recruiters recruit top performing talent for senior-level executive openings. Consequently, of the two kinds of executive headhunters out there —  contingency and retained — retained executive search partners are the ones to know.  We recruit to the most prestigious C-level job opportunities that the market has to offer.  In fact, the senior executive openings are so exclusive that the vast majority of positions that we represent are unlisted.  You will not find the openings posted anywhere on the Internet.  The average base salary for most retained search openings is $300,000 or more. Total annual compensation often tops one million dollars. When equity is part of the compensation package, retained search positions also offer the opportunity for significant wealth creation. We literally are the makers of dreams-come-true — dreams that include becoming richer than one could possibly imagine. Why Retained Recruiters are so Elusive... read more
Demand Rises for Top Advertising Executives

Demand Rises for Top Advertising Executives

What’s Hot: Top Advertising Executives Advertising is a talent-driven business and demand for top adversing executives is on the rise — a trend that is being fueled by the resurgence of the advertising industry. Total spending by the 100 Leading National Advertisers has topped pre-recession levels — it reached a record $108.6 billion in 2013, passing the previous spending peak set in 2007. Spending for the U.S. advertising is on track to top the 2007 record in 2015. At The Good Search, we’ve witnessed an increase in advertising executive search engagements at the senior executive level.  Interestingly, the rise in demand has been accompanied by a shift in where those opportunities are based.  A greater percentage of our  executive recruiting  engagements are for advertising executives on the client side. What we’ve witnessed as executive headhunters is but a reflection of a greater ad industry trend. Remarkably, a growing number of ad agencies and media agencies are competing with their own clients for business as some of the world’s most beloved brands build their own ad agencies in-house. Apple is reportedly creating an internal agency to handle its advertising work after expressing its unhappiness with its longtime advertising Agency of Record TBWA/Media Arts Lab. This is the very agency that Steve Jobs had TBWA create for Apple — the agency that created Apple’s most iconic ads, including “1984” and “Think Different.”     In-House Ad Agency Disintermediation Apple’s recent move to bring advertising inside is part of a growing trend. The Association of National Advertisers recently released a report that found nearly 60% of clients used in-house capabilities in 2013, up from 42% in 2008. More than half (56%) of the clients with in-house capabilities have... read more
How to Recruit the Right Executive

How to Recruit the Right Executive

How to Recruit the Right Executive I have recruited top executives and technologists for the past decade and a half.  Over that same period of time, I have also made hires to my own team.  I can tell you with absolute certainty that one of the most devastating mistakes a business can make is picking the wrong person for the job. Every hiring executive I know  — myself included — has made bad hires. In fact, according to a recent Corporate Executive Board survey of hiring executives, every fifth hire is a mistake.  A whopping 20% of candidates should not have been hired in the first place. The Cost of Bad Hires Bad hires exact a tremendous cost.  Just how costly depends on whom you ask. According to the U..S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has estimated the true cost can amount to up to 5-times first year salary.  The direct costs of replacing a bad hire include recruiting, training, on-boarding, lost productivity, compensation costs, and employee dismissal expenses. However, where hiring executives really feel it in the indirects costs caused by the problems the bad hires create.  To start, there’s lost morale, lost worker productivity, and job burnout.  If a new executive turns out to be a real disaster, team members may even quit. Clients may go elsewhere as overstretched teams  make mistakes and are provide lower quality service. Bad senior engineering hires often become manifest in architecture, if not the very code, of the software being developed.  Those technical mistakes create delays in  product development and time-to-market.  ... read more
Top Digital Talent Key to Surviving Digital Disruption

Top Digital Talent Key to Surviving Digital Disruption

The Digital Talent Imperative The New York Times has an urgent need for top digital talent. According to a leaked internal report, it is “winning at journalism”, but losing readers at an alarming rate. The  New York Times has seen readership “fall significantly” on its website and through its smart phone apps. Traditional media giants like The New York Times are losing market share — along with some of their best talent — to emergent digital competitors that are growing much faster. The leaked report recommends recruiting top digital talent in a sweeping digital talent initiative aimed at enabling the Times to survive. Digital Media Disruption The media landscape has undergone radical transformation in just the past year. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar has pledged $250 million to create a non-profit newsroom with a  for-profit technology arm. New digital competitors have gained momentum, including BuzzFeed, Flipboard, Circa and Vox.  Yahoo News has stepped up its journalistic capability, hiring television journalist Katie Couric. Not to be outdone, ESPN has expanded its digital offerings, stealing away star NYT statistician and data journalist Nate Silver.  Reporting on those and other developments are tech journalists Walter S. Mossberg and Kara Swisher of AllThingsDigital. They have left News Corporation to found re/Code, an independent tech news, reviews and analysis site. The center of gravity has shifted to digital. Consequently, The New York Times needs top digital talent with a wide array of digital skills in technology, user experience, product design, product management, and audience development and engagement. In other words, the Times needs “makers, entrepreneurs, reader advocates, and zeitgeist watchers”. Leaked Internal NYT Report on Innovation The leaked report on innovation is the product of a Times task... read more
How to Hire Top Digital Executives Despite Talent Crunch

How to Hire Top Digital Executives Despite Talent Crunch

How to Hire Top Digital Executives A growing number of media companies have come to the realization that it has never been more important to hire top digital executives. These days, a company’s ability to compete — and even to survive — depends on it. However, the increasing demand for top digital executives is making it harder to recruit them.  As a result, companies are turning to traditional retained search firms for help.  However, that executive recruiting strategy introduces a significant risk of failure. Reduce the Risk of Failed Executive Searches To recruit top digital executives, one must first reduce the risk of failure. On average, 40% of retained executive searches fail to complete. In other words, there’s a good chance   — nearly one in two — you will end up without the digital executive you need. That’s a risk companies can ill afford.  With retained search engagements costing upwards of $100 thousand, failed searches exact a tremendous financial cost and do even more damage in lost time to market.  Delays in recruiting top digital executives can leave a company in perpetual catch-up mode. Companies lose momentum at the very time emergent competitors are growing faster than anyone thought possible. Reduce the risk of failed search by cultivate alternatives to traditional executive search firms. Seek Innovative Boutique Search firms Boutique search firms offer advantages over the likes of Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds, Korn/Ferry and CTPartners. For one thing,  boutique firms rarely have issues with client blockage — off-limits agreements that prevent a firm from recruiting from your favorite target companies because they were the firm’s clients.  For another, most boutique firms offer concierge quality client care . That is how smaller firms compete with the majors. More... read more
What is the Secret to Selecting Top Executive Search Firms?

What is the Secret to Selecting Top Executive Search Firms?

Top Executive Search Firm Selection If you have been tasked with search firm selection,  naturally you want to find the top executive search firms for your company. While the definition of “top” differs from company-to-company, there is a way you can discover which companies are ideally suited to your organization. To find the top search firms, apply 3 filters: the basics,  the values, and the competitive advantage.  Most firms that specialize in your sector will pass the basic screening questions.  The values filter will winnow that list down to a short list of possible top search firms to use  The competitive advantage questions will inform your selection so that you can pick the right search firm that outperforms all the others. How to Identify the Top Executive Search Firms When you conduct an Internet search for lists of questions to ask search firm, you’ll pull up checklists that cover the basics. An executive search firm must specialize in your industry or in the function of the position that needs to be filled. Check. They must have a good reputation and a strong track record of success. Check. They must be able to recruit from top target companies, which means they must not have those companies as clients. Check. They must have the bandwidth to take on your search and fees you can afford. Check and check. Questions to ask prospective executive search firm partners: Does your search firm have the capacity and geographical reach to handle our search? How so? Do you specialize in our industry and sector? How so? What client references can you provide? The only problem with the standard “what to look for... read more
When Should I Use an Executive Search Firm?

When Should I Use an Executive Search Firm?

When to Use an Executive Search Firm Generally, employers use an executive search firm when an executive job opening is important enough and senior enough to warrant the investment.  I use the word “invest” for a reason.  A retained executive search will likely cost you a minimum of $50,000 and averages $100,000 or more — typically one-third of a candidate’s first year total cash compensation.  If the cost of not filling the role with the right candidate is significantly higher than the cost of the search, then you may be ready to consider investing in the services of a retained executive search firm. Though we clearly have a vested interest, I do not believe a retained search firm is right for every search every time. I often brainstorm with senior executives about ways they can build their teams without incurring the expense of an executive search firm. You can get a lot of lift with employee referrals, job postings, and LinkedIn. But last I checked, there is no service available where you can download a thoroughly vetted, interested and qualified A-player.  Recruiting top performing executives is labor-intensive, complex, and requires a rare set of skills and expertise. That is why retained search firms exist. In fact,  they are in such demand that, despite the economic downturn, their average fee has increased. Companies and hiring executives retain executive search firms for any one of the following reasons: 1. Good just is not good enough. You require a senior executive candidate who is truly great. If hiring top performing talent available is important to your company, a search firm can help you do the... read more
How to Recognize Great Talent in Executive Search

How to Recognize Great Talent in Executive Search

Recognizing Great Talent Learning how to recognize great talent is the key to making amazing hires in executive search. While it is pretty easy to tell who’s good while seated court-side in Madison Square Garden watching the New York Knicks play, it is not so easy for Chief Executive Officers seated in the C-suite.  At senior-executive level, candidates start to resemble one another. They often share similar academic credentials and similar career trajectories. They all meet the basic qualifications or they would not have made it this far. However, to  hire senior executive talent that is truly game-changing,  you must somehow discern the difference between two seemingly identical candidates. To make the right hire, you must develop the ability to figure out which candidate will outperform the rest. You must increase your powers of observation to discern great leadership talent.  A Musical Analogy Early in my marriage, I  discovered my husband Crispin Cioe seated on the floor of the living room, completely engrossed in sorting saxophone reeds into separate piles. He’d hold up a reed against the light to examine the grain, wet it in his mouth, position the reed atop his mouthpiece, aligning the tip of the reed with tip of the mouthpiece just so. Next, he’d encircle the reed and mouthpiece with the ligature, and tighten its screws. With the reed locked in place, he’d raise the mouthpiece and blow.  After sounding the note, Crispin then would unscrew the ligature, remove the reed, and place it on one of three piles. I witnessed Crispin repeat the reed testing sequence a good dozen — maybe two dozen — times. As... read more

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