Insights

5 reasons why the top executive search firms rely on real-time collaboration

Posted by Reed Flesher

The world of executive recruiting has changed a lot in the past decade. Technology-aided candidate assessment methods are now commonplace. Firms are expanding the services they offer, as clients tend to place a greater emphasis on succession planning and culture fit (source: Forbes). Most of all, executive recruiting firms have to adapt to change and adjust processes on-the-fly much more than in the past — as client expectations rise, hiring behaviors and norms change, and as competition makes the race to hire the best available executive talent more fast-paced than ever.

One of the ways executive recruiting firms are better adapting to these changes is by establishing and fostering a range of real-time collaborative recruiting processes. While the phrase “real-time collaborative recruiting processes” itself might sound like a buzzword-filled  description of new enterprise productivity software, it just means that:

1. All stakeholders play a part in the recruiting process, and
2. All communication regarding client requirements, candidate notes, hiring decisions, etc. happen instantly and with full transparency with the appropriate stakeholders.

And while a commitment to improving communication and increasing transparency probably sounds like a good thing in and of itself, a collaborative recruiting process can also improve client satisfaction, candidate placement time, and more. In this post, we’ll unpack some of the benefits of a collaborative approach.

To learn more, download our definitive guide: How to Run Better Executive Searches with Real-Time Collaboration.

Benefits of real-time collaboration

Benefit #1: Viewpoint diversity

It’s no secret that collaborative decision-making in the world of corporate America gets a bad wrap sometimes. It’s synonymous with design by committee, which is what happens when the requirements of a project are unclear, or too many designers are involved on a project  without a common plan or unifying wisdom.

But having a diverse range of viewpoints in the workplace also means that better business decisions are made faster, and with better results (source: Forbes). To that point, in an analysis of nearly 400 companies, McKinsey established a “statistically significant connection between diversity and financial performance” (source: McKinsey). And while that’s true for business decisions in general, those benefits also apply to executive recruiting in particular.

According to Forbes, hiring collaboratively helps organizations better shape the role and the qualities of the ideal candidate, more effectively evaluate who measures up to those expectations, and more accurately predict when a potential candidate might not end up working out.

Benefit #2: Better Retention Rates

According to LinkedIn, up to 25 percent of new hires quit their new role within the first six months. That doesn’t help anybody, and if it becomes  a recurring pattern, it can damage the long-term reputation of your firm. 

Not to mention the cost of a bad hire. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average bottom-line cost of a bad hire is 30 percent of that employee’s annual salary — and that’s in addition to the employee’s salary, benefits, and the cost of hiring a new executive. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that “only one out of five executives hired from outside are viewed as high performers at the end of their first year in house.”

Sourcing good-fit executive candidates for your clients is one of the best ways to increase retention and improve employee churn. A collaborative approach, where multiple stakeholders define the ideal candidate, shape the job description, and provide candidate feedback, is one key way to improve those two key retention metrics.

Benefit #3: Faster Time to Hire

A collaborative approach to executive recruiting can increase the speed at which your firm identifies, evaluates, and places new candidates. And any extra speed increase can have a big impact, since the  time to hire top executive talent can range from 90 to 180 days on the low side, and even longer in many instances.

But how does it work? Glad you asked.

Collaborative hiring processes tend to favor transparency and the free flow of information, which means the various stakeholders and corporate departments at your client’s company don’t waste time waiting around for updates, or reaching out via email for a decision from the VP of Finance. Everyone knows where everyone else stands, and that makes it easier to get unstuck.

Robert Crowder, an executive recruiting expert and founder and managing partner of the Chapman Farrell Group, agrees, saying that “Time-to-hire and quality are dependent variables based on the function of information, process, and people. Strong collaboration can eliminate waste, rework, and allow us the advantage of making better decisions quicker.”

Benefit #4: Superior Interview Experience

The collaborative approach to hiring not only improves internal information management, it also enables your team to deliver a more high-touch approach to managing both your candidate and client interactions. This can help set your firm apart from the competition, conveys thoughtfulness, and demonstrates value.

Real-time, collaborative recruiting processes also help your client stand out in the battle for dynamic C-suite talent. Research from LinkedIn shows that 75% of the workforce considers themselves to be “passive candidates” open to the idea of a role at a new company, which means that your clients have to both act fast and and convey a culture and workforce that can stand out and attract superior C-level talent.

Benefit #5: Better Use of Resources

Collaboration also helps you fight the two most-feared enemies of executive search: Time and money. When collaboration between teams breaks down, it increases the cost of your client’s search in terms of both time spent on the initiative and the opportunity cost of missing out on an ideal candidate.

Standardized, real-time, and collaborative processes are more efficient, which speeds up the entire endeavor, ensuring your client doesn’t miss out on the ideal executive talent for them.

Conclusion

Now you have a good high-level understanding of the collaborative approach to executive recruiting and how it can help your firm help your clients. In future posts on this topic, we’ll give you the information you need to design a collaborative process from the ground-up (or help refine your existing processes). Then we’ll show you how modern technology can help take the friction out of the collaborative process, and share helpful tips and recommendations we’ve collected from our conversations with executive recruiting professionals over the past several years.

To learn more now, download our free definitive guide: How to Run Better Executive Searches with Real-Time Collaboration.