When Do You Hire an Executive Search Firm?

Hi, my name is Neil Hefta, Vice President of Govig Healthcare Group. I’ve been an executive recruiter for 20 years in the senior housing space and today I wanted to talk about a topic for employers.

When do you hire an outside search firm? It’s a great question and one that I consult on quite often obviously so some of the questions that I ask are simply, “what are the difficulties in finding candidates for that specific role?” “What’s at stake in terms of the objectives and reaching the successes you need for that position?” “Do you have time to do that?” “Do you have an internal sourcing team?” “Have you put ads out?” “What have you done to this point?” There’s a lot of factors that go into it, so, I can give you an example internally for our company.

I talked to our owner Todd Govig and we actually went to an outside search firm as a search for him to hire one of our key division managers. The thinking around that was, do we put our own resources into finding the best person as¬†a recruitment firm that would take away from what they are doing currently? Or, do we interview and hire a staffing firm that can find the best candidate for us that’s really focused day in and day out?

So, in talking to our owner Todd, he mentioned that he had the offer to maybe work with a contingent firm or a retained firm. He said, “I wanted to go all in on a retained firm because I knew that search firm would be pushing and calling every day until they filled the position. Versus with the contingent firm, you may not get the sense of urgency and you may get a candidate. You may not get a candidate.”

But, for this organization it was so important to have the right individual leading this team, that’s what they decided to do was go with an outside search firm. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you eat your own cooking”? Well, that’s what we ended up doing here that person’s been here for over two years been knocking it out of the park.

So, that’s something to think about when you’re looking for an outside search firm. What are the impacts internally for you? And, the opportunity¬†cost of putting your own resources into the search versus hiring a retained firm that can get it done? Best of luck in that next hire, and take care!