Executive Search – One Agency or Two?

When putting together a search party there’s a definite benefit from numbers. Having more people looking for someone means more ground can be covered and more quickly.

Yet when it comes to executive search this just isn’t the case…

Indeed there’s strong evidence that when a company appoints multiple agencies to fill a senior role it takes between 50% and 100% longer to find the right candidate.

How can this be? It sounds so counter-intuitive!

Two heads are not better than one when it comes to executive search

Well, there are a number of reasons why…

Best effort – If you appoint just one executive search agency you will get the total focus of the agency’s recruiter who is doing the work. He or she is paid on results, so they will throw all of their know-how, and resources at the task – you will see better quality candidates and in an agreed timeframe. In short you’re more likely to get the result you need.  For instance, at NJR we have a 99% success rate on sole agency briefs.

Better terms – an executive search firm given sole agency status is more likely to agree to a firm timeframe, a keener price, or even success-oriented fees.

Commitment – When multiple agencies are asked to fill a vacancy they know their chance of filling the role is diluted.  With a high risk that their search costs will not be covered, they try to keep those costs to a minimum!  So, inevitably none of the agencies commits its full resources to finding a suitable candidate.

Position in the pile – When an agency is working at full capacity. The non-sole agency work gets put to the bottom of the list, producing poor and slow results for the client.

Poorer relationship – With multiple agencies onboard, the client is less likely to be very close to any of them, and indeed often plays one of against the other. This breaks the information flow, which is critical in producing good results. This also forces agencies to “back door” the HR process, by trying to directly engage with the hiring manager.

More work – When multiple agencies are briefed, the recruitment department will find itself with a bigger administrative task – and handling many more CVs of less well qualified candidates. In fact the number of client/candidate interviews per filled vacancy will be considerable higher, taking up significant additional client time and resource.

In essence, having two or more agencies giving their second best effort, is going to be inevitably inferior to having one, fully briefed, engaged, motivated agency working on your behalf.

When it comes to executive search, “two heads are definitely not better than one”…

Norrie Johnston Recruitment is focused on filling senior interim and permanent £70K plus roles. For sole agency briefs the firm guarantees:

  • 99% fill rate
  • Perfectly matched short-list within 2 to 4 days for interim roles
  • Perfectly matched short-list within 2 to 4 weeks for permanent roles

To find out more call 01962 828792