The Number One reason your Executive Search process may have failed

A few weeks ago, I spoke with an HR Director who had recently gone through an extensive process to recruit a Group Operations Director and the process had failed.

She could not figure out what had gone wrong. After 6 months and 2/3’s of the recruitment fee paid; she had been unable to find a new Director.

She had used one of the ‘larger’ agencies and felt confident that having a team of people on the search would deliver the right candidate quickly.

She was questioning if her company was somehow unattractive or if the job description had put off potential candidates and why those candidates who had been presented to her did not fit her expectations….

When I hear companies who have had negative experiences like this,  my first question is – did the agency you hired disclose their “Non-Touch” restrictions to you?

Their “what”, she asked?


Consider the ethics behind recruitment

Many hiring managers and even sometimes HR forget to consider the ethics behind recruitment searches and that Executive Search agencies are limited due to “Non-Touch” agreements with existing clients.

When an agency accepts a search mandate from a client, it is usually expected that it comes with a 12 month “Non-touch” agreement, preventing them from recruiting employees away from that company.

When you choose to work with one of the ‘larger’ agencies you need to be aware that they work with tens (if not more), of clients within your industry. All of these companies will likely have “Non-Touch” agreements in place, meaning your agency will not be able to approach candidates there.

The key companies you are hoping the agency will recruit from may therefore be completely off-limits.  This significantly limits the pool of candidates an agency can target for your role, often resulting in a poor shortlist of candidates and a failed search.


So what can you do to prevent this?

By working with a smaller, ’boutique’ consultancy, you are going to have access to a much larger pool of potential candidates as they will have much fewer companies who are on the “Non-Touch” list.

Before signing an Executive Search mandate with an agency, be sure that you get written confirmation of their “Non-Touch” companies and that part of the market you will be agreeing to exclude from your search.

If you have recently had a recruitment process fail to deliver the candidate you so urgently need, in order to drive your business forward and are wondering what your next step should be, then please do get in touch or connect with us via LinkedIn and we can arrange a time to talk.

We can look into the factors which may have led to the failure of your search, be it the “Non-Touch” restrictions or for other reasons and we can discuss some alternative approaches which will ensure that you are able to find that ideal candidate.

Talent is out there …… however, not only do you need to know where to look, but also not be restricted to look in the right places!