Executive Search Challenges | How to Make Search Easier

Executive Search Challenges | How to Make Search Easier

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.

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What Retained Search has in Common with Mark Twain

What Retained Search has in Common with Mark Twain

Retained search fees are up 7 percent for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. That statistic comes from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) survey of its members and is nearly 6 times the 1.2% rate of inflation. Search firms are focusing on the senior-most executive searches, leaving lower-level executive searches to in-house corporate recruiters and LinkedIn. In other words, retained executive search is moving increasingly upmarket.

However, since the downturn, a good many thought leaders have been predicting the downfall of traditional retained executive search. Consequently, for the past several years, retained executive search firms have had a great deal in common with Mark Twain. After learning that his obituary had been published in the newspaper,  Mr Twain is reported to have said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” What Mr. Twain actually said — quite simply–was, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Like Mark Twain, reports of the death of retained executive search have been greatly exaggerated:

How LinkedIn Killed The Recruiting Industry

The Destruction of the Head Hunting Industry

Without a doubt, LinkedIn has disintermediated executive search firms that have failed to distinguish themselves with a unique value proposition. But retained firms that make it a practice to stay ahead of the curve are benefiting handsomely from the seismic shift in executive search. More on that later . . .