The Value and Necessity of Executive Recruiters

Anyone who’s worked in the C-suite knows that not everyone can lead a company or sit on a board of directors. It requires a skill set backed by years of industry expertise and takes a mental fortitude that the vast majority of professionals frankly lack.

So how do the world’s biggest companies find the right people to helm the ship? Many of them turn to executive recruiters.

Executive search firms and their recruiters specialize in identifying the right individuals to lead your company and take it to the next level. They have the skills, resources, connections, and industry knowledge to connect organizations with the exact professional for their needs.

With that in mind, here’s why an executive search firm can make the difference between maintaining a company’s status quo and propelling it toward exponential growth.

What Do Executive Recruiters Actually Do?

The simple answer to this question is that executive recruiters source and select candidates for top business positions. However, this explanation doesn’t sufficiently capture all the work that goes into it. Executive recruiting is often a months-long process that can include the following steps:

  1. The company’s board formalizes the search by forming a committee and hiring a search firm
  2. The recruiting team helps the board determine the company’s future goals and the competencies necessary to achieve them
  3. The board and recruiters sift through a robust list of professionals to create a shortlist of qualified individuals
  4. The recruiting team investigates those qualifications, interviewing everyone from direct reports and clients to suppliers and peers to gain information
  5. The board and recruiters cut the list down even further based on initial interviews
  6. The recruiters contact and interview candidates directly, incentivizing their preferred candidates to join the recruitment process
  7. The recruiting team administers psychometric tests, questionnaires, simulations, and other types of evaluations to determine the best fit
  8. The recruiters help the board finalize its decision and make an offer

There’s clearly a lot involved in the executive search, and while working with a search firm can be quite an investment, the expense is justified because of the sheer amount of work that goes into the process. Board members simply don’t have the time to do it themselves, and they may not have the necessary connections. Still, there are plenty of other reasons to work with a search firm in today’s business landscape.

Why Executive Recruitment Is Thriving and Increasingly Necessary

There are several major reasons why executive search firms have become increasingly necessary.

For one, corporations are often looking for a CEO with a skill set that’s broader than traditionally desired. This is largely due to the digital revolution, which has turned every industry on its head and demanded more from the average organization’s C-suite. Now more than ever, companies need leaders who have the ability to recognize and tackle complex issues such as artificial intelligence and data security.

A byproduct of this digital expansion is the universal need to adapt to a global marketplace. With many organizations suddenly needing to establish or increase market share in other countries, they need new leaders to help push multinational operations to their fullest potential. 

Finally, executives are exiting their businesses earlier with each passing year, these moves often taking boards by surprise with no groomed replacement in sight. To this end, executive recruiters are often called upon to either identify an external hire or select the best internal candidates and consult on how to develop those leaders on their path to the C-suite.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the market size of the executive search industry has tripled in the last decade and is only expected to grow further.

How and Why Executive Search Will Continue to Expand

But why bother working with a recruiter? There are plenty of internal candidates within the ranks of upper management, after all. Surely it would be simpler, more cost-effective, and better for the company if the board were to pick a promising internal hire and just get it over with.

It’s not an uncommon sentiment, but executive search firms provide something that internal teams and boards themselves simply cannot: an unbiased external perspective. Recruiters help boards come to a consensus and provide validation of their choice, effectively eliminating nepotism and favoritism and empowering board members to make the right decision for the right reasons. 

Thanks to this approach, board members can rest assured knowing that their search firm will identify the ideal candidate that represents the best possible future for the organization.

But what’s even less appropriate than picking the favorite internal hire is to turn to a technologically driven approach.

Just as every industry was flipped on its head in the aftermath of the digital revolution, the same thing is happening again thanks to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. However, this is one industry that won’t be easily supplanted by an algorithm.

While it’s easy to look at methodologies like automation and AI and speculate whether executive search firms are even necessary, industry leaders know that a team of human recruiters is impossible to replace. While a good recruiter is analytical, their soft skills are what sets them apart and help them identify the perfect choice. They’ll consider the hard data and factor it into their work, but attempting to make a decision without the human element is something a good recruiter will never do.

After all, recruiting isn’t about tests, databases, and algorithms — it’s about humans connecting with other humans and forming genuine relationships. It’s a practice that requires keen business acumen, a finely tuned intuition, and real-world experience — none of which artificial intelligence will ever come close to replicating. 

Executive Recruitment Provides Deep Value at Every Level

Executive search firms have seen exponential growth in recent years — a growth that won’t be slowing down anytime soon. If anything, as emerging technologies continue to change the way the world does business, executive recruiters will be increasingly relied upon to identify business leaders who understand the technology and know how to capitalize on it.

Thanks to a steadfast focus on business growth, a trained intuition, and a wealth of business acumen, executive search teams provide immense value to organizations looking for the best person to add to their executive suites.