As you consider filling an executive level opening, you may be wondering whether or not you need a local executive search firm. There are benefits of working with a local firm. But the real question you need to consider is not if you need a local search firm, it’s the process the firm uses.
One of the benefits of a local firm is the ability to meet in person and get to know the recruiter personally. While big national firms may fly someone out to pitch you on their portfolio of services, when you need to reconnect, flying in is quite different than someone down the street.
You should consider your executive search firm as an extension of your team. Good recruiters are partners with you and have a relationship with your company. It’s rare that an executive search firm is used for a single assignment. It’s a genuine partnership that spans hiring, onboarding, and executive education needs.
The other benefit of a local firm is that they know the community, have connections with many of the business leaders. They also participate in community groups and organizations. This level of familiarity helps the recruiters maintain strong ties to the the pulse of the local business landscape.
Understanding the local market and knowing the key players are tangible benefits. But today’s economy is global, and LinkedIn and other tools have simplified the ability to identify candidates. Every reputable executive search firm can access the same websites to find the best possible candidates regardless of location. Some firms are using AI and machine learning to improve the process further.
What really matters is the approach the executive search firm uses. Technology has automated many of the more basic tasks in sourcing candidates, but you are still dealing with humans, and that requires a human touch, H2H if you will. At the executive level, most jobs are not publicized and most candidates are only looking passively. They are employed and prefer to keep their interest in a move quiet.
There are three general types of firms in the executive search arena. The first is the national firms that have offices globally. These firms are large in size and carry the accompanying overhead. Unless you’re an enterprise level company, they are most likely out of your budget. The second is specialized firms. These firms focus on a singular role or industry. They could recruit for law firms exclusively, or they focus on CFO’s, finance, and accounting only. Specialty firms have their pros and cons as well.
Finally, there are boutiques search firms, like Sheer Velocity. Boutique firms may have one office or multiple offices around the country. At Sheer Velocity, we have offices in seven cities and partners in more than 30 countries around the world. Boutique firms offer the same reach as the big firms but with a personal touch and a better value proposition.
Boutique recruiters work with you directly, instead of passing you off to junior associates. They are vested in your success and many work with candidates through the interview process, onboarding, and even any leadership training that may be required. A final element to consider is culture fit. If a firm does not have a formal process for evaluating culture fit and leadership style, you should reconsider.