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4 Dangers of Not Using A Search Firm for a Key Role

While some companies think they can save money by trying to fill a key role on their own, there are significant costs if you to try to run an executive search without third-party support. In this article, you will learn four of the biggest dangers of not using a search firm for a key role.

1. You will attract more unqualified candidates and fewer qualified candidates.

Several years ago, a CEO of a tech start-up told me that he had tried to hire a Head of Marketing. He posted the position on LinkedIn, and he received over 100 job applications in less than 48 hours. He was thrilled… until he went through the candidates. There was not even one person who met his qualifications for the role.

The best and most relevant candidates are usually not looking for another position. This is especially true when it comes to leadership roles. While you may get hundreds of applications for a job posting, very few (and sometimes none) of those individuals will actually meet your selection criteria. In comparison, a search firm will help you attract more qualified candidates who would never respond to a job posting or to outreach from a company’s internal recruiters.

2. More of your qualified candidates will drop-out.

No matter how interested a candidate might be initially, there are many factors that could cause someone to get “cold feet” later in the process. Hesitation to move forward could be due to questions or concerns about the industry, the organization, the role, the hiring manager, the compensation package, or something else.

Whatever the questions or concerns might be, they are much more likely to be shared with a third-party recruiter than with the hiring manager, an internal recruiter, or another employee of the company. Without a third-party recruiter to serve as an intermediary between your company and candidates, it is much more difficult to uncover and work through potential obstacles. As a result, more candidates will drop-out.

3. You will waste time and energy.

It takes a lot of time and energy to fill a key leadership role with an exceptional individual. First, you need to determine the ideal candidate profile, create a compelling job description, identify a list of companies where you will search for candidates, and identify qualified candidates from those organizations. Then, you need to engage and screen potential candidates, schedule and conduct in-person interviews, schedule and conduct reference calls, discuss and negotiate salary, and close the loop with candidates who are not selected.

Why try to complete all of these activities on your own? An executive search firm can complete many of these steps for you, thereby leaving you more time and energy for other responsibilities.

4. You will be more likely to make a hiring mistake.

According to research by CEB, only 20% of external hires are actually considered high performers after their first year on the job. One reason why this happens is because many hiring decisions are based on emotion and gut feeling, rather than a rigorous, objective selection process.

Your chances for success are much higher when a third-party recruiting expert brings structure and objectivity to your process. A search firm provides a fresh set of eyes, along with experience and insights gained from successful searches across many other organizations.

Final Thought

Your company loses time and money each day that a key role is empty or occupied by the wrong person. Hiring a search firm is a significant investment. However, it provides long-term returns that far outweigh the short-term costs.

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About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for innovative sports, fitness, and wellness companies. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and, and he is the author of two books and over 250 articles on career management, peak performance, and executive recruiting.

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