DIY Executive Search – is it a good idea?

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DIY Executive Search – is it a good idea?

About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Talent Acquisition Group at Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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Executive search is the same as any other professional service. It’s about the value, not the cost – after all, isn’t that how you make other business decisions?

Do you do your own legal work?

Of course not. There is too much risk and too much you don’t know.

It’s not that you couldn’t do the research and figure it out. It’s that there are experts who are easily available and can draw on the experience they have gained from working through hundreds of similar situations. Not only will they will be faster and more thorough but you can yell at them.clock

Don’t underestimate this. When you do your own research and come up with a solution that does not work out, you only have yourself to yell at. Not very satisfying at all. And ultimately, you have to call an expert to bail you out. A bitter pill to swallow. Scotch might make this a little more palatable but not by much.

Do you do your company’s taxes?

Nope, this gets sent off to experts as well. Changes in both legislation and your business make it pretty tough to keep up with what’s current, acceptable and advantageous.

When it’s audit time, you want to have a firm that you trust with a strong leader and good support staff. You know it will cost money but you will feel confident about the results and the advice you get along the way.

So what about executive searches? Many leaders feel that these should be handled in house. But why? Can you really get on LinkedIn to find who you need? There are 450 million members. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack.

How much time will it take to find five candidates you want your senior team to interview in order to find the right person?

  1. Research – 50 hours
  2. Set up and conduct phone interviews – 30 hours
  3. Set up and conduct in person interviews – 30 hours
  4. References and offer negotiation – 10 hours

That’s about three weeks if all you did was work on this task. Can you put aside all of your other responsibilities for three weeks to work on this role? Can anyone else in your organization afford this kind of time?

Say you can focus on this task, do you know the best way to interrupt a candidate’s life to tell them your story? Phone, text, email, skywriting? You will only get one shot. You have to make the most of it.

Is there really value to keeping executive talent acquisition in house? Especially when you know you could hire a firm that would provide a shortlist of qualified, interested, assessed candidates in a set time frame. Really?

Base your decision on value, risk and time – just like when you decide to use your lawyer and your accountant.

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