Do-it-Yourself Executive Search

timtolan Executive Search, Recruiting, Tim Tolan

Do it yourself Here we go again – everybody is a search professional. So let’s play a little round of… Do-it-Yourself Executive Search.

Some organizations (okay-some executive search wanna-be’s) decide for some reason (without notice) that they would be better at taking the reigns and leading the search efforts in a critical search engagement without notice and apparently without a care (or a clue) in the world. This is the sort of behavior that sends me into orbit (every fri-ckin time). It’s S-O-O-O-O obvious that they are clueless, it’s almost funny. Actually, it’s not.

Yep. I guess these search novices assume they are at Burger King where they can have it their way. Creating a half-baked search process on the fly and totally derailing a proven process that’s worked time and time again for years. While I know they believe their intentions are good… (I don’t) trust me – the search process usually (always) turns into a real train wreck and everybody knows it (except the perpetrator). Adding additional steps in the process while eliminating key milestones critical to ensure a successful outcome takes a toll on everybody’s time and resources. Having a trusted third party who spends 100% of their time engaged in executive search adds a ton of value on both sides of the table. That’s why we are hired by companies to find the best talent available. While there is NO secret sauce – company executives should allow search professionals to do their job. Period.

IStock_000002148572XSmall repeat Let’s look at the upside of what can happen when a company executive decides to “take over” in the middle of a search:

0 – (that means ZERO). 

There is NO upside. None.

 Now, let’s look at the downside:

  • Delayed search process
  • Total confusion as to who’s on first and where things stand
  • Mixed communications on feedback/debriefs
  • Search consultant loses credibility with STAR candidates
  • Candidates have nowhere to turn for information
  • Frustrated candidates walk (or run)
  • Search consultants disengage from assignment
  • Search engagement starts over (from scratch)
  • Company image to candidates turns negative
  • Ongoing void in executive management hurts existing employees
  • Company throws search partner under the bus
  • Lost productivity due to unfilled critical opening

I could go on and on – but I won’t. Why bother. I’ve talked about this before. There are lots of key drivers that separate a good search consultant from a great one. In all of the experiences I’ve had in this business, the one key to success in becoming good at what you do is controlling and managing the entire search process from start to finish. I, for one, always want a supporting cast inside the company to help me (and the company) recruit and land the best talent available. It’s important and always the goal. I just don’t want to be on the outside looking in. Companies need to allow search professionals to do their job. Let’s face it – they are paying a fee for their expertise and service – let them do their job.

Creating on the fly do-it-yourself search is never the right recipe for a successful outcome. it will never work. In fact – it’s a complete and total waste of time. Enough said. I’m done.  

Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….