We know what people say about the executive search industry; that they’re just salespeople with a lot of LinkedIn connections who are solely focused on the next big transaction. They only call you when they need something.
We can’t blame people for having this opinion. After all, the recruiting industry has operated pretty much the same way for 70 years.
Opinions are based on experiences. It’s true: many executive search firms are focused more on their sales targets than whether the last candidate they placed is proving to be a great fit. It’s like they don’t want to know how it worked out.
The partners at Lochlin are here because we want to change things. We don’t want to be part of the old system — the one that clients aren’t pleased with.
How did we get here? How did such a human business become so transaction-oriented?
Here’s what seems to be the root of the problem: as most executive recruiters will tell you, they’ll take on as many searches as they can find. That’s good for them but bad for their clients, because each client gets that much less mindshare from the recruiter—the expert in which the client placed his or her trust.
Eventually, the busy recruiter gets too busy to find candidates. He hires some fresh faced “associates” to do the outreach and — if they’re good — even some of the interviewing and vetting.
Then, from the clients’ perspective, what they expected to be a very personalized, customized experience turns out to be a copy and paste of candidates from another search. What happened to all those carefully crafted requirements? The lengthy discussion about their corporate values and culture?
Disappointing, to say the least. And, as we now know, this has been bad for the search industry’s reputation.
How can we change things for the better? Where do we start?
Let’s go back to the beginning. Instead of taking on as many searches as we can, we carefully manage the number of active searches that each Managing Partner handles. So instead of the mindshare each client gets being variable, it is now fixed. No quotas. Quality first. Simple as that.
That’s a start. How about the other problems: clients think search firms ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’. Clients don’t get enough updates during the process. And search firms don’t stick around to see how things work out with the placement.
Our goal is to build trust through our process. We believe that open, honest and frequent communication with both our clients and our candidates provides greater transparency and visibility, and results in better search outcomes. This transparency and visibility assures our clients that we’re on the same page, and that everyone’s interests are fully aligned.
And our belief is that achieving this level of trust will ensure our long-term success.
We hope that our attempts to redefine what executive search means has a positive impact—on our industry and on our clients.
It is important that people feel great about using retained executive search consultants. We love this business. We love getting to know our clients and their situations and priorities — and we love nothing more than placing the perfect candidate. That feeling of knowing that we have provided a critical piece of the puzzle that is going to help our clients’ business for years to come.