Posts Tagged ‘talent pool’

Argh – Pee – Oh! Senior HR executives voice their reactions to outsourcing their recruitment function


A fascinating discussion runs the whole gamut of emotions and rationales. What do you think of their thoughts? Request this article (it will not be sent to you automatically) and let me know.



Brand from the Inside


Recommended Reading

Brand from the Inside. Eight Essentials to Emotionally Connect Your Employees to Your Business, Libby Sartain and Mark Schumann, 2006

Libby Sartain was, until earlier this year, Yahoo’s Chief People Officer, so what she writes is worth reading. She reads the Discussions in the Employer Branding group on LinkedIn, so you can have a discussion with her. Mark Schumann is a senior exec with Towers Perrin. They have written a number of books together. This is a light summation of their 2006 book.

Marketing own the brand, right? And they jealously guard it – “Don’t risk the brand!” they scowl at you when you make a suggestion for your job advertising! But if you want to deliver exceptional service, your branding program should really begin with your employees: when employees feel an emotional connection with a company, they deliver exceptionally good service, which your customers will recognise and appreciate. This is why Sartain coined the phrase earlier this month on the LinkedIn group “HR is the new Marketing”. This book could be a powerful ally when trying to co-opt Marketing into your way of doing things. Your employer branding campaign should include eight essential activities.


How customers view your brand determines whether they like, trust and buy your products. If your brand breaks its promises, your customers may turn away. Conversely, when a brand delivers excellent service or quality, that can have a halo effect on your entire product line. Brands can accelerate sales and customer acceptance.

The best brands generate emotions that overpower common sense. For example, why do people pay over £2 for a cup of coffee at Caffe Nero when they could brew it at home for pennies or buy it elsewhere in a caff for 50p? Millions pick up pricey cappuchinos every day, but the individual decision to grab a high end cup of coffee has nothing to do with reason.

When customers identify with your brand, it achieves a new level of influence. For other examples of such powerful branding, turn to Lego and Disney. Legoland stands for creativity; Disneyland a happy childhood. Consumers feel an emotional connection with these brands. I can vouch for this being a parent!

Employees also have a relationship with your brand. When people believe in a company, they feel good about working for it and delivering on its promises to customers. What Sartain and Schumann are suggesting is that you should discover what customers think of your offering.

“If the brand doesn’t live on the inside, it can’t thrive on the outside.”


A 2005 worldwide study found that HR professionals see a company’s brand as the essence of what it communicates internally and externally. The same study found that 60% of companies planned to start employee branding campaigns, which include many of the same components as customer-directed campaigns.

In a customer-directed campaign, you make promises to customers; in an employee campaign, you make promises to employees. In both cases, you must honour your promises.

An employee campaign should connect your brand’s promises to customers with its promises to employees. Both branding exercises must complement your company’s business strategy.

A study by Yahoo! found that 94% of job hunters said they had to believe in a company’s mission to accept a position with it. Companies with strong brands get good recruiting results. 79% of HR professionals believed that employees ranked companies with strong employer brands as top places to work. When employees feel an emotional link to a company, they are more likely to remain with the organisation when it experiences hard times or intense competition. This is why internal branding is important in meeting HR goals.

Make sure employees understand your brand – which means more than just ascertaining that they are familiar with your products and how they work. They must learn what your brand represents to customers and why the brand inspires them. Encourage employees to use the brand. Hallmark, for example, gives employees greeting cards to use.

“Any business, in any corner of the world, must create an experience to engage its employees before it can expect those employees to deliver the brand to customers.”


If you don’t intentionally develop an internal brand, one, or a number, will develop anyway. An informal employee brand may do a fine job of representing the company positively and accurately. However, if it doesn’t, you must correct the problem by making sure that you are communicating the right values to your employees and customers. Ask employees and marketing executives to answer the following questions, and use their responses to diagnose how well you are conveying your internal message and to formulate your internal branding strategy:

• Do those who work here understand what the brand promises?

• How strongly do they believe in the brand’s promises?

• Can staff members do more to deliver what the brand promises?

• Does the brand support the company’s recruiting efforts?

“The key to employer branding is tapping the emotional essence of the company and its brand, and using that emotional essence to frame and articulate the employee experience.”


When you plan and prepare an internal branding campaign, your goals are:

• To generate more revenue.

• To reduce talented employee turnover.

• To enhance recruitment potential.

Internal branding should become part of your business plan – however, don’t overstate what branding can accomplish. A change-resistant corporate culture, road blocks from company leaders and departmental turf battles can become obstacles to any campaign.

Although a good employer brand can reduce the amount you spend on recruiting and replacing employees, branding campaigns cost money. You may need to invest in research, the services of an ad agency to communicate your new messages and additional HR support, if the plan involves significant change.

In most companies, internal branding is the HR department’s responsibility. Depending on the type of business and the project’s scope, staff members from marketing, corporate communication, customer service, the call centre, sales and IT may also get involved. All these disparate people must learn to work as a team.


To carry out the plan, the team should take the following steps:

• Set ground rules – Specify the problem. Is there too much turnover? Cynicism? Are new competitors eroding sales and taking your customers? The team should analyse the effects on the brand of both external and internal factors.

• Perform research – Research can help you define your company’s essence, or what your brand means to your customers – which is not the same as what your product does. For example, Hallmark’s essence is “enriching lives.” Harley-Davidson’s is “we fulfill dreams.” Heinz’s is “doing a common thing uncommonly well.” Anheuser-Busch’s is “we will add to life’s enjoyment.”

• Set attainable goals – Specify objectives for each key area: the company, the brand, the market, and prospective, current and former employees.

• Communicate the goals – Everyone in the organisation should know and understand the goals. The team should develop a creative “big idea” that inspires employees and conveys what the company represents.

Implement the employer-branding process whenever you experience major staff changes or other significant shifts, such as a merger. Communicate your employer brand in all your marketing, policy and operational efforts.

“Brands paint the picture a customer steps into.”

“A brand can connect a customer to what a business is all about – its character, personality and values.”

“At their heart, brands touch the soul, excite the mind, satisfy the need and motivate the action.”


Your employee brand must meet employees’ expectations. Don’t frustrate your staff with a gap between what the brand promises and what it delivers. Make your promises clear; for example, FedEx’s “purple promise” to employees includes a compensation package and a rewards programme.

Break down distinctions between employees and customers by regarding your employees as internal customers. The HR department should insure that employees are aware of the employer brand at every stage of their life-cycle with the company:

• Noticing the company.

• Deciding it is an attractive place to work.

• Applying for a job.

• Joining the company.

• Working.

• Leaving.

• Remembering the work experience.


Share your employer brand messages with everyone the company touches: customers, the community, employees, regulators and competitors. The Internet, with its capacity to spread messages instantly around the world, has changed the way organisations communicate. You must explain what your company does, and how it benefits customers and employees.

When UPS changed its company logo in 2003, it gave every employee a small package containing a pin and a message from the company president explaining the reasons for the logo change, and how the new logo would look on company vehicles and packaging.

Hallmark uses another creative way to deliver its company message. Its annual employee brand conference puts participants in the mood to receive a positive message. Employees explain how the company and its products have enriched their lives. Company artists and writers discuss how they create the cards. The goal of the event is to help employees understand the business and to strengthen their belief in the company mission.

Washington Mutual appointed 75 brand managers, representing all lines of business nationwide. “Brand rallies” around the country had a 95% employee-participation rate.

To communicate your employer brand, follow these steps:

• Recognise that emotions are powerful communication tools.

• Re-evaluate your employee-communication programme&

• Tell the truth. A 2003 study found that only 51% of employees believed what their companies said, and only 48% believed senior management.

• Involve senior management in telling the story.

• Train key personnel to be employer brand advocates.

• Explain how employees benefit from working for the company: WIIFM. Then, explain again.

• Demonsdrate the business’s personality. Southwest Airlines, which has a reputation as a fun place to work, holds job-recruitment auditions, where interviewers encourage candidates to sing.

“Only by addressing each stage of an employee’s experience can you truly make an employer brand come to life.”

“To make the employer brand real for your employees, emotionally and functionally, it must live during each part of each day of an employee’s experience.”

“Your business must create a multisensory experience for your employees in which the  brand is present all around.”

“Ultimately, an employer brand is only as successful as the way in which it directs the choices people make every day.”


Once you’ve created and communicated your message, it will take on a life of its own in the workplace, through daily interactions between individuals and among small groups.

All of your senior managers should reinforce the branding effort by embodying what the brand represents.

To keep the branding program focused, monitor feedback from employees and customers.

Determine whether the brand is meeting employee expectations. Use focus groups and surveys to be sure that the customer brand and the employer brand are aligned. On the UPS “brand exchange” website, customers, suppliers and the community interact. The site protects the brand and ensures that everyone has a consistent experience.


• When employees feel connected to your company, they provide good service.

• See your employees as internal customers; create an employer brand for them.

• Half of HR managers view the company brand as “the essence of our offering” and say that their companies conduct some form of employee branding.

• Your employer brand must meet your employees’ expectations.

• To create your employer brand, know the brand’s essence.

• Take the following eight steps: discover, commit, diagnose, prepare, create, apply, market, nurture.

• Factors such as your reputation, corporate culture, workplace conditions, ethics and career growth opportunities shape your employer brand.

• Work to create trust. In one study, only 51% of employees believed what their companies said and only 48% believed statements from senior management.

• Revisit your employer brand whenever there is a merger or staff change, and in all marketing, communication, policy and operational efforts.

• To convey your company’s message, sponsor an event such as a conference that creates a receptive mood.

To temper what Sartain and Schumann wrote in 2006, the general argument in Direct Resourcing Think Tanks has been that organisations can no longer own or control their employer brand reputation. While once a business could implement an employer branding strategy and related messaging with stellar results, such as being named one of the best places to work, getting positive media attention and becoming the subject of academic and corporate case studies, this control has been usurped by social media, peer-to-peer publishing and online rating services. The shift in power renders all but the most strategic and well-executed efforts virtually ineffective.

Talent acquisition experts can no longer push out a message to those they wish to recruit unless the message is authentic and the experience inside the company mirrors the message.  Any disconnect puts the organisation, and the ability to recruit, at risk.

A business can stay in the driver’s seat of their brand reputation by creating an authentic experience for workers that begins before a prospective worker even thinks about a business as a place to work and ends with an active alumnus who is a fan of the business as a place to work. But this is hard work and requires the participation of everyone involved with the enterprise. It means that the website has to message what is really going on in the organisation. The candidate experience mirrors what the worker will experience on the job and will be the best first impression.

Once onboard, HR programmes should be consistently delivered as branded products and services. Leaders and co-workers influence, more than anyone else, what a worker experiences day in and day out. It means that day to day behaviour must be consistent with the employer brand promise. To have any control over the brand, an employer must screen for people with behavioural attributes that are aligned with the brand when hiring.

I do think that the Sartain book gives you in HR some strong arguments to co-opt your Marketing Department. In the worst case, they will help you confront Marketing, defeat their argument that they are the sole owner of the brand, and force them to get you in HR & Talent Acquisition onside.

A final word: as a recruiter, what management reports would you need to measure your employer brand?

Alumni returns, numbers of speccy CVs sent in via your website that you then interview or put into a talent pool, referrals as a percentage of total hires, retention of grade 1 performers, ratio of offers to accepts, and ratio of candidates who withdraw themselves during the recruitment process against those whom you reject. What other reports could you produce that would reflect on your employer brand?

Five smart recruitment strategies


1. Treat talent acquisition like a sales job: the war for talent may have changed to the war for the best talent and filtering out the mediocre and worst, but that still doesn’t change the fact that employers who want to be the best in the their markets need the best employees, and that means selling their jobs to the best candidates. Inhouse recruiters also need to sell their services to the hiring line managers (if only to prevent them becoming maverick hirers who use their own pet, – and expensive – agency), and sell candidates to them too, so the attitude of the salesperson is invaluable. I have noticed that the top recruitment managers and directors have had a recruitment agency background, which has made them alot more commercially-savvy and sales-minded than those with an HR training. Make sure you have sales & marketing technologies to support your sales drive.

2. View hard to fill jobs as having value for your company; business-critical ones even more. If you are finding it hard to fill a job, odds are that your competitors and other employers seeking to fill the same sort of role are having the same hard time. Or maybe they are stealing a march on you in the war for talent and are filling them at your expense. Technologies that can help you with these hard to fill jobs will give you a competitive advantage. Referral campaigns should be focused on the line managers in whose departments these hard-to-fill roles are located, and their networks tapped. Birds of a feather fly together.

3. Build pipelines based on the profiles of successful staff. Identify what a “good” candidate looks like by profiling your top 5% of employees in each job function. You can then search for similar profiles. Harness the networks of those successful staff too.

4. Target passive candidates.Everyone knows that there are many more of the best talent to be found among passive candidates than in the ranks of the active, and passive candidates don’t necessarily look at job advertisements or post their CVs on job-boards, so finding out where these passive candidates work and play will bring you big dividends. Because they are passive candidates, they won’t say yes to an interview straightaway, so market to them on a consistent and regular basis, and one morning they will wake up, decide they want to move jobs, and choose you!

5. Search professional networks, expert forums, and blogs for the business-critical technical experts you need to drive your employer forward. Your best talent will identify these avenues for you, and they can supply you with the business cards of these experts. If you have tools to do this online, then you will identify the best talent by their expertise. It’s then up to you to sell to them!

For information on the market in ATS systems that can help you in these five smart recruitment strategies, simply click on Submit below and I’ll send you details.

Agencies and Direct Resourcing


According to many participants in the Direct Resourcing Think Tank, the resourcing industry in the UK is dominated by recruitment agencies of various types. In 2008, it was not uncommon to hear that 80% of a large employer’s staff came from agencies. Although there are three types of agency – RPO, Executive Search, and Contingency – it is more how they find candidates that will add value to the Corporate Resourcer and which differentiates each from the other.

In the current climate, saving money while hiring better business-critical staff have become the two overweaning drivers in the Corporate world. Even the Corporates who have announced recruitment freezes are still hiring key staff, as contractors in order to remain off the payroll system, or simply reinterpreting the freeze as a headcount freeze in order to justify replacing important people who have left. All large employers are creating pipelines in anticipation of the upturn. In the Private Sector, the need to protect income and reduce outgoings has become more acute, so staff who perform the business-critical tasks of increasing revenue and reducing overheads are in more demand.

The focus for cutting the cost of the resourcing function has been the commissions paid to agencies, with employers turning to the solutions of using Web 2.0 technology (like LinkedIn and mrtedtalentlink) and smart practices either to make more effective use of agencies, or to eliminate the use of them altogether. It is generally agreed that contingency recruitment is the easiest target for cost-cutting, because the technology is now available for Large Corporate Enterprises Public & Private to do inhouse what contingency recruitment agencies spend most of their time doing, namely placing advertisements on job-boards & sifting through the respondents, and sorting through CVs saved in job-board databases. This practice is especially prevalent in Public Sector recruitment because, due to compliance rules, all job openings have to be publicized, so contingency practice prevails. Where RPOs and Executive Search agencies in practice do the same as Contingency agencies do, then they too will be the target for cost-cutting. It is not unusual for an Executive Search firm to tout its headhunting prowess only to be found advertising openly their named client’s job vacancy. This may indeed be because they have made an agreement with the client that they exclusively can source the candidates, and because the Search firm wants to keep its brand in the market. But from the employer’s perspective, why pay to prop up someone else’s brand? The employer client should negotiate for this part of their service to be heavily discounted or even provided for free because the employer can perform this part of the service themselves as they too have cheap access to advertising media and job-boards. Inhouse resourcing staff should be able to outperform this sort of contingency practice using technology (like careerbuilder, broadbean and mrtedtalentlink) because they know their company, industry and core-defining business-critical roles better.

By “core-defining” I mean the roles that most personify the organization, as an engineer does a manufacturer, a programmer a software house, cabin crew an airline; and by “business-critical” I mean the roles that are most directly connected to either raising revenue or controlling costs, like a salesperson, customer service/ account manager, or accountant. For non-core roles, again by using technology & smart practices, inhouse resourcers should be able to fill every role without the use of agencies of any sort. However, some business-critical hires which are not core-defining to the employer, like a CFO for example, may lend themselves to using an Executive Search firm deploying genuine headhunting practices, whether because the Executive Search firm & its consultants have the better network of contacts for filling that type of role, or because of the sensitivity of succession planning. This piece, therefore, produced in cooperation with a number of participants of the Direct Resourcing Think Tank, addresses how to better use a headhunter.

As an aside, I strongly believe that non-branded employers and SMBs generally will still be heavily dependent on agencies for all categories of job function; my article concerns the major employers only.

There are two arguments used in favour of agencies which I want to dispel straight away, one because of its dubious legality, and the other because it does not realize the severity of the downturn in some sectors of the economy.

The first argument is that an organization can reduce risk and financial liability by hiring whole swathes of the workforce in a contract for services – as temps – by an agency and not by the employer; it is the agency that employs them, the argument goes, so the employer keeps the workforce at arms’ length and can dispense with them at a moment’s notice. Although this is widespread practice in the UK, the employer risks alot after a worker has worked for that organization alone for a large part of a year, and if the worker has been doing the same work for two years or more the law considers that the worker is unequivocably in a contract of services with the agent’s client, and not just with the agency. So, rather than risk falling foul of the law, being vulnerable to huge fines, and thereby ironically increasing risk, it would be wiser for these employers to find some other solution to the problem of risk & financial liability.

An objection to the efficacy of direct resourcing has been raised that because of the dominance of agencies in the UK, so lazy, non-core, non-business-critical candidates can continue relying on contingency agencies contacting them about jobs, as they have done for the last five to ten years or so. In the current climate, though, these people are going to be without a new job for a very long time.

There is one argument that may prove powerful in the defence of agencies of any sort, especially headhunters, and that is for the purpose of headhunting from direct competitors: in order to avoid poaching wars, it may be politic to recruit from direct competitors via agencies, so the argument goes. However, employers are usually more annoyed by their better employees leaving, not being talked to, and the subtle difference between whether it was an agency or a competitor who contacted their just-resigned employee first may be lost on the employer that loses talent to a direct competitor. Furthermore, using CRM technology (like Symantec’s ACT!, mrtedtalentlink, and your followers on twitter), and processes (for example by getting line managers to network their industry), an employer that wants to target employees from a direct competitor can, gently & over time, create & foster relationships to facilitate competitor recruitment directly.

Headhunting Top Talent

If you want to hire a business-critical executive, how would you select the best search firm to find your ideal candidate? All the executive search firms have a White Paper on this subject, most of it self-serving, but each with nuggets of truth contained somewhere therein.

The best headhunters have extensive networks of contacts in a defined niche that help them find top talent for their clients. By “top talent” I mean the people who are the best at their job, statistically the top five percent; I do not mean your Directors, although you would hope that they too are in the top 5% at what they do; the best employers find their top talent at every level in every department.  The top 5% people rarely have to look for a job, and this fact pinpoints the difference between the true Executive Search firm and the Contingency agency: because top talent almost never looks for a job, you won’t find their CVs saved on job-board databases, or emailled in response to job advertisements. You have to go find them in or around their place of work; you have to headhunt them. This is what inhouse resourcers should spend most of their time doing.

Non-core roles outnumber core-defining roles in most organisations. Niche agents are going to be necessary and important partners for non-core but business-critical roles, because for the employer what is considered non-core is the niche agent’s very essence, so they are likely to be alot better networked than the employer. And the top 5% of talent for that business-critical role are both the niche agent’s hot candidates and the employer’s likely longlist. If you want to maintain your market leadership, you do need to hire from that top 5% of talent. To establish who’s in that bracket, you need a longlist.

Where the role is non-core but business-critical, if the retained agency does not create a longlist of suitable candidates, chances are that you won’t find the right candidate. Anecdotally, when I was an agent, we were charged with finding a rainmaker for a big client and presented a 13-person longlist; they said we’d missed someone, so I think there is a good point in the client identifying some of the longlist to help the agency present the total longlist! When I looked for a six-figure salary ecommerce web architect for a global leader, they agreed that I had identified for them probably the top ten best suitable architects in the world (which was their brief to me). Yes, I’m bragging, but competitive advantage means top talent, and that in turn means a retained agency needs to identify who those people are – or they’re not doing their job.

The concern in this article is to look at the use of agencies from the large, branded employer’s perspective: albeit the best recruitment consultants can create long & deep relationships with candidates, even the best are only interested in candidates to earn a commission out of them and to sell them to the highest bidder, and they have some but less interest in the candidate staying at the employer past the probation period. In the current climate, even top talent is having to establish themselves as “employees of choice” and therefore need to be minded of their own brand. This is one reason why Web 2.0 technologies (like LinkedIn and mrtedtalentlink) and social networking methods are becoming so popular: from the top talent’s perspective, even though they are not looking for a job, they are minded for the future, and from the employer’s perspective, they can foster relationships with talent for next to no cost. But if your inhouse resourcing team can’t find business-critical top talent using these smart technologies and new methods, how do you choose the right headhunter who can?

Here comes the first of our counter-intuitive reality checks. And it’s this: whereas it is the individual headhunter that has the contacts, it is first the name of the agency that both client and candidate remember. The ideal is that you hire the biggest Executive Search brand with the best individual headhunters in your desired niche, but this will come at a higher cost more difficult to justify. It means that headhunters should be used as the last resort behind using your own internal & external talent pools, harnessing the networks of your own business-critical staff, and marketing & advertising in places where you know top talent is to be found. If those furrows prove fallow, then the cost of an external headhunter makes more money sense.

The second of our counter-intuitive reality checks is that because there is only a finite number of business-critical top talent and their value to the firm is more in a recession, so while salaries of most staff remain static or even fall, those of top talent rise faster as employers are the more keen to retain them (you may have heard the rumours about real salaries of top talent in the banks at the moment). And concomitant with that unpleasant piece of reality comes the increasing commission rates for the genuine & good headhunters. You need them more, so their market rates go up.

Many clients use the carrot of exclusivity as a way to keep commission rates from rising too steeply. But there are dangers here in that the really clever headhunters, because they are very well connected in their niche, will pimp their prize candidates around to all the competitors, with the competitor prepared to pay the highest price getting first refusal. Added to this, once a headhunter has persuaded a candidate to look at the market, the appeal of being bought by the highest bidder can lead to a lack of loyalty by the candidate; once hired, top talent may soon be gone to another employer offering even more money. It’s why so many good candidates are contractors or associates or interims. If your skill is scarce & sought after, you are going to earn more money not in a contract of service, but in a contract for service.

Longlists & talent pools

The essence of the Executive Search is that the headhunter is on a retainer in order to create a longlist of suitable candidates regardless of whether the candidates are looking for a job or not; this longlist should ideally be an approximation of all the best possible candidates who on a prima facie basis fit the job description and person specification. This longlist is another feature that differentiates Executive Search from Contingency. Business-critical hiring means finding Top Talent, not just people who happen to be looking for a job at the time of the search. Although the creation of the shortlist – those candidates that agree to become applicants and who pass the screening process – is accorded most drama and which many headhunters imbue with mysticism, it is the longlist where the Executive Search firm adds most value to the client, because it identifies the talent pool. Your inhouse resourcers and line managers should have the requisite screening and interviewing skills to whittle a longlist down, but if they don’t have a full view of the talent pool in the first place then they are not going to have hired the best candidate by the end of the recruitment process. It is therefore on the longlist that most attention should be paid.

Despite the current economic situation, there will be an upturn, and employers need to be ready for it to beat their competition, and so building talent pools and pipelines is key to success. Paying an agency a fair & negotiated fee to encourage them to create a comprehensive longlist is a good quid pro quo for building a talent pool for the future: the employer isn’t necessarily going to hire anyone, but they need to establish who are the best.

Executive Search firms will tell you that the best practice is to have a good, long-term relationship with a search firm; employers should authorise each search process as early as possible, even using anticipatory searches if necessary; they should also involve recruiters in succession planning, so they know about potential vacancies and understand what kind of candidates the employer would consider. But unless Executive Search firms are paid a retainer throughout periods of non-recruitment, they will not search for candidates; all agencies, whether RPO, Executive Search, or Contingency, will only work if they are being paid, or when they know a hire will shortly be made from one of their proffered candidates, thus triggering a commission payment. But weren’t you trying to reduce the resourcing overhead in the first place? So, because no agency will create a talent pool for an employer without being paid handsomely, there is no point having an uninterrupted, long-term paying relationship with an external recruiter. You’d be a lot better off employing them as a member of staff.

A good agent will themselves be a valuable quasi-staff member during the troughs of the economy. An employer cannot justify as big an inhouse resourcing team as during the peaks. In the current climate, there is a burgeoning number of interim recruiters many of whom would be suitable to short-term projects for acquiring key hires, but a niche agent can probably do as good a job and certainly in many cases for alot less money.

Key to success is categorizing job functions as being business-critical or not. Where you can calculate the return on investment for a particular role and where the direct impact on top or bottom lines is many times salary, odds-on the role is business-critical. Where roles are both business-critical and core-defining, then the employer should be able to hire top talent directly, but this is more down to a matter of pride than anything else. But if you can’t hire the best people direct for the job functions you are famous for, you’re probably going to disappear soon anyway. In most employers, however, there are far fewer of these core-defining business-critical roles than non-core roles. An energetic team of inhouse recruiters should be able to mop up all non-core, non-business-critical roles quickly & cheaply as the way of hiring them is by using contingency recruitment methods. The focus of attention, therefore, is on the non-core but business-critical roles, and it is in these roles the recruitment agency argues it is better for recruiting.

The argument, then, seems to favour the finding of the best possible individual headhunter, paying them well, and using them as a last resort. There is one area, though, where a global Executive Search brand will hold sway, and that is where the client needs multi-country or overseas searches. Because of the nature of the global economy, even Corporates operating only in the UK could benefit from searching internationally for top talent both business-critical and core-defining. The weakness of this case made by the global Executive Search firms is the fact that most of them are not global executive search firms but merely separate offices in different parts of the world which just use contingency practices to find candidates. Oh well.