40% of executive searches fail; clients to blame for most of them

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Thinking?Are you surprised? The research from ESIX says that 40% of executive searches fail and that the clients are to blame for 70% of these failures.

What is your own experience with contingent recruiters and executive search consulting firms?

I have helped organisations to fill managerial and top executive positions in Thailand for nearly 20 years. I see a clear pattern when clients are successful in their hiring, and likewise I notice when companies struggle to recruit.

Some examples of what works for the successful client companies:

Great tips from the Smart Client

The smart client provides the search consultant with a comprehensive and detailed position description that includes what challenges are waiting for the successful candidate and a convincing employee value proposition.

The smart client and recruiter have agreed to a timetable, have agreed how often email or personal updates take place – both between the two but also how the candidates are kept informed throughout the process. There is a clear set of deliveries agreed to.

The smart client will ask the search firm what free value-added services are included in the fee.

Reviewing shortlisted candidates

The smart client reviews the shortlisted candidates immediately and gets them in for the first round of interviews within that first week.

The smart client has arranged all two or three rounds of shortlisted candidate interviews on the very same day, back-to-back.

The smart client has set up an internal meeting with the people who will be interviewing, who asks what questions and what scoring matrix to use.

Perception is reality so be decisive

The smart client knows perception is reality so has informed the receptionist to be at her best, to ensure the meeting rooms are cleaned, chairs put back in place, the whiteboard is wiped.

The smart client moves quickly and will be decisive. The smart client knows very well that candidates are a perishable commodity these days. Leave them for long and good candidates will lose interest or perhaps have already taken another job somewhere else.

No low-ball please for the job offer

The smart client does not try to throw a low-ball to deceive the preferred candidate, but appreciates that anyone moving to a new job, expects something better than the current compensation.

The smart client expects the executive search firm to provide psychometric and cognitive assessments of the shortlisted candidates; that the successful candidate is properly checked with reference checks and background investigation.

On-boarding starts when you sign employment agreement

The smart client starts the on-boarding the same day the employment agreement is signed even this may be months before the successful candidate turns up the first working day.

Background: ESIX, Executive Search Information Exchange, has studied and surveyed corporate executive search practices over the last two decades. Based on ESIX’s survey data the client company is to blame for 70 percent of these failures.

In other words, searches fail when executive search activity is not being properly and actively managed by the hiring organization.

The full story written by Simon Mullins of ESIX is available on the link below. A few lines from his article first:

-Forty percent of manufacturing products fail quality control – “no concerns.”
-Banks happy as 4 of 10 of their loans default.
-Software only works 60 percent of the time – tech industry says “good enough.”

Naturally, this is ludicrous and unacceptable, however, all of these types of companies appear to be at ease with the fact that 40 percent of their executive searches fail! 

These are the searches for the highest echelon of leaders of these companies – the top one percent – yet business executives, board directors, and shareholders are apparently not concerned… or is it that they are just not aware?

via https://www.execunet.com/40-executive-searches-fail/

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.