7 Ways Traditional Search Firms Fall Short

CTPartners Executive Search Inc. Acquires Augmentum Consulting Ltd.
May 6, 2013
Recruiters, Don’t Fear the Phone: Tips for Leaving an Effective Voicemail
May 13, 2013

There are several opinions about which staffing approach is best to find top talent and fill an organization with the most qualified candidates.

Some insist in-house recruiting methodologies are best, trusting only their own to accomplish every step of the process. Others turn to RPO or retained firms, in which the process is completed externally and the price is normally based upon salary percentages.

But each traditional search firm comes with its own set of issues, and these issues can easily become a costly source of frustration for your organization. While utilizing a traditional firm may minimize some staffing concerns, their shortcomings can be severe. Consider these potential pitfalls before trusting a traditional search firm with your organization’s staffing needs.

RPO Firms
If your internal recruiting process already broken, RPOs are not going to fix it. Too o ften, organizations outsource a broken or misguided sourcing process and then expect an external firm to fix it. In reality, these processes should be perfected before they are handed over to an external RPO firm. The RPO would then take over a process that is functional, allowing for better results and higher quality candidates. One cannot expect an outside function to repair something that’s already problematic.

Contingency Firms
Contingency firms have a tendency to oversell the candidate on the client, and oversell the client on the candidate.

Taking the time to truly look at a candidate’s qualifications is an essential part of sourcing and can be easily overlooked if the recruiter is looking to rush and place. Commissioned recruiters only get paid once a candidate is placed and therefore are often racing to hit a target placement goal per month; this can result in an expensive mis-hire for the organization due to hustle and oversight. Contingency firms often take ownership over the pool of candidates to ensure their investment is worthwhile. The organization is left to hope that the contingency firm is truly presenting the best possible candidates for the position.

Putting your placement in the hands of a contingency firm can be incredibly pricey for the quality of hire you receive. Typically much higher than flat fees, contingency firms average about 30% of the candidates’ salary for a placement. This can be extremely expensive, especially for an organization hiring more than one employee. Ask yourself: Will this placement truly be worth 30% of the candidate’s base salary? If you’re hesitating, consider other options.

Retained Search Firms
Retained search firms strongly believe in “value of the rolodex” recruiting. In essence, Retained firms move Person A to From Company A to Company B, then Fill Company B’s open position. In other words, the retained process is moving chess pieces back and forth, often focusing on the lowest hanging fruit in the rolodex of contacts to fill spots. These firms neglect giving a broader look to the full candidate pool.

Paying up front or a fee as you go can be risky business. The retained recruiter may feel the need to fudge the lines a bit, creating an unrealistic layout of the position in order to adhere to the organization’s expectations without actually fulfilling them. This way, the recruiter receives payment regardless of whether the candidate will be truly satisfied in their new position.

Boutique Recruiting
Every industry has its intricacies. A seasoned professional, one whom has years of experience working within that industry, would know how to best research and recruit for it. Putting hiring in the hands of someone who is unfamiliar with the industry can be a costly mistake. This is like sending an accountant to fix your plumbing. In boutique recruiting, expertise in particular industries may be lacking.


Internal Recruiting
Internal sourcing can lead to many problems, including a lack of time to adequately uncover more than what’s easily found online, a lack of resources to thoroughly assess each candidate and their qualifications, and not enough manpower to sufficiently build a pipeline of talent for the organization.

A common complaint by qualified candidates is the lack of follow-up, communication, and engagement from an organization of interest. These candidates often drop out of the pipeline, becoming disengaged and frustrated with the organization and thereby losing interest in working there. This disengagement is often correlated with a lack of internal resources.

Recruiting, sourcing and filling vacancies in staff can be extremely time consuming and a drain for a company who does not have the proper resources. Time needs to be devoted to sift through potentially hundreds of candidates as well as remain focused and passionate about sourcing, interviewing and placing.

Studies show that less than 50% of the candidate population is active online. This also means the same 50% of candidates are being accessed by every recruiter out there. These candidates end up being the best of the best that are found online, but not overall. While social media and job boards can be beneficial tools for uncovering top talent, unless they are leveraged with other research methodologies, your talent search is likely to fall flat.

High-level executives in particular are often nowhere to be seen in the realm of the Web. In addition, research shows that only one third of social media profiles are up to date, with the remainder being out of date or not used. The best, most qualified talent out there is not actively seeking a job; it’s unlikely they’ll be found frequently engaging on social media and job boards.

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *