We live in times where companies don’t need recruitment services the way they used to. During the last years, consultants were listening to clients’ needs and this process was followed by selling them “solutions”. This worked well in a not so connected world, in a world without LinkedIn, in a world where mobility was much lower. And in that world, most companies didn’t know how to solve their own complex recruitment problems so they mainly went outside for help.
Today, ease of accessing information, full time hiring former headhunters and specializing them on regions and functions, etc. determined many companies to avoid external support.
Reality and studies show that around 60% of what companies used to externalize to Executive recruitment, is now solved internally. In such a world, an executive recruiter could be easily more of an annoyance than an asset unless that consultant could quickly prove the added value brought to company growth.
And why not admitting with all due respect, that I have personally met lately many internal recruiters that are well ahead of many the consultants I know from the industry…
The lack of “growth mindset” in recruitment
Thirdly, on top of that, it is not only LinkedIn or cost saving attitude (sometimes irrational, risk adverse driven, very often against company interests, etc.) or access to information that determined a decline in demand (especially in Eastern Europe market which behaves very different than the Western world from this perspective).
It is often the mistrust of companies in these services due to the wrong attitude of most recruiters, the little innovation in the industry, the poor process, the lack of “growth mindset” as Microsoft names it and a more value for money purchasing trend.
One CEO told me recently it is rare to meet a good “sparring partner”, someone who understands his challenges and has the courage to challenge his views. And in the end, find the right solution: a solution that may well be very different from what the CEO had in mind initially.
If you add to the above, the trend during the last years to assign for several strategic roles very good people yet with potential rather than experience (mainly due to cost reasons and with clear cost saving focused KPIs) the pressure on fees increased dramatically.
What short term results oriented companies ignored to see though, was that the higher the pressure on fees, the lower the quality received as no firm could survive on “peanuts”.
These are just few of the reasons Executive Search has to look different, for this form of consulting to really add value in the new global environment.