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Why use an Executive Search Consultancy?

Before we can understand why we should use an Executive Search Consultancy such as GKI Resourcing, it is important to understand what Executive Search is, and what it is not. To many of you this will be stating the obvious, but here goes.

Executive Search is the use of a (usually) retained consultancy, staffed by experts who can and should work in partnership with you to help identify, attract and retain talented people for your organisation. It is not working with multiple agencies in the hope that some resumés will arrive that ‘fit the bill’ – these tend to be ‘contingent’ recruiters, and there is a time and place for both.

But as we have a UK wide Executive Search practice, that’s the area on which we are going to focus.

So, why use an Executive Search Consultancy?

There are many reasons to use a retained search consultancy rather than a contingent or even your in-house recruitment process. They will also vary depending on the size of your organisation. But, we find the top five reasons that our clients such as Virgin Trains, Swissport, Ryder, The Priory Group and others use retained services are in no particular order;

1) Independent, professional advice and expertise

Most search firms are able to provide detailed market knowledge, particularly of salary levels and skills sets – they can provide a sense check and help manage expectations internally. With no axe to grind they should also handle internal applicants in exactly the same way as external candidates and provide feedback. A truly professional search firm will want to work with you to understand the role, and where it fits with achieving the business objectives. A recent example is that, when dealing with an SME manufacturing business, we sat with the board and helped them restructure their sales team, producing more realistic job descriptions and accurate salary bandings that reflected the market place, while reducing the number of people required. The salary budget remained the same, fees were reduced and the client was able to attract the right level of talent to drive the business forward.

2) Resources and/or lack of in-house ‘know-how’

Many businesses, particularly SME’s and many family owned companies do not recruit at middle or senior level very often. Consequently, little or no resource is available to them internally, and they need to bring in experts to help them out. A professional search firm will act as a recruiting partner, working closely with the principals to ensure a successful hire.

3) Access to talent

A very practical reason for employing a search consultant is to identify and attract talent that is not actively looking for a new role. Being able to identify and approach talented individuals and offer them the opportunity to continue their career in a new firm is an essential part of the skill set required for a successful search consultant. A skilled and well reputed consultant will have access to people and prospects that you or others do not possess.

4) Candidate assessment and management

Most professional search consultants will work with you to understand what you need to know about your new employee. They should work within your own competency frameworks, or be able to match their own to your needs. Professional interviewing and treating candidates well is an integral part of the process as are background checks, referencing, qualification and ‘right to work’ checks.

5) Confidentiality

Confidentiality is absolutely crucial when a sensitive search is required and many search consultants will be able to handle a confidential search, but it takes different skills to a role that is non-confidential. Protection of data, messaging and conversations is essential, as is the ability to speak with and attract a potential candidate without being able to provide the full information.

Our recommendation is that before recruiting you look seriously at the options available to you and the style and approach of your potential partner. Think carefully about what you want from them – a transactional relationship is one that works with you in a consultative style, providing advice and guidance to add value to the process and to your business.

George has an extensive background in Executive Recruitment. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article or for a discussion on how we can help with the recruitment needs of your business, call George at GKI Resourcing on 07876 124330 or email

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