25 October 2016 / 2:53 pm

Why Executive Search Isn’t Recruitment

The following article is written by James Crawley, Co-Founder at JCM Advisors in London. We think it sums up the distinction between Executive Search and Recruitment, and explains Brannigans’ point of difference in the recruiting environment.

There is a growing trend in Professional Services firms to try and “insource” their senior level recruiting and rely less on external agencies or Executive Search firms. Frankly I applaud this. Why you ask? Well in view too many external providers charge far to much to recycle a CV from Linked-In and those firms leave the client wondering exactly where the added value is. It is therefore completely right that the client should seek to build its own function to source great talent from this cost effective source. In fact JCM train client teams to do exactly this.

There are however limits to this activity, and the clients that think that having built this team now have an Executive Search capability are sadly mistaken. Executive Search is not about finding the talent, anyone with an internet connection can do that these days, it’s about a comprehensive candidate assessment and benchmarking exercise. Its a candidate care exercise, keeping the shortlist motivated during a 6-12 month selection process. It’s about providing insight and knowledge on the market for the duration of the search, not pushing the first candidate past the finishing post. Its about telling the client when they are wrong, and suggesting constructive ways forward.

The reason clients should be paying the extra % is simple, they are are paying for years of experience, years of lessons learnt. Too many times I see clients repurpose HR Professionals into recruiters and expect them to provide a similar service to an experienced search professional. That’s like asking a bus driver to take a spin in Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and win a grand prix.

If clients truly want an Executive Search function, then build an Executive Search function. That means hiring experienced Search professionals to lead it, not retasking HR or recruitment managers.

People ask me if I am worried about the impact of the internet with sites such as Linked-In on my business. My answer is no, because they are not taking market share from my business. They have taken market share from the mass producers market, and rightly so, why should a client pay 20-25% for a CV that is readily available online. We would encourage. support and train our clients teams to reduce spend on that channel.

That is Recruitment.

That is not Executive Search.