Some people don’t realise that ‘recruitment agencies’ and ‘executive search firms’ are different – not only are they different, but they work in drastically different ways to obtain different levels of talent for different positions, and different calibers of clients.
What’s the difference?
If you’re not sure why they’re different – lets clear it up for you. Recruitment agencies focus on active candidates who apply to job ads that the recruitment agency advertise on sites such as indeed, cv library, LinkedIn etc. They rely on people to come to them, so they can refer them to their client. In some cases recruitment agencies will approach people on their database who are not currently actively looking but may be open to a new position. It’s not too different from what you would do yourself if you were to looking to hire someone (minus the database). The type of candidates that apply are looking for new positions for different reasons due to changes in their personal or professional lives – or could be because they fancy a change, however this group of active candidates may not have the skills and experience you’re looking for.
Executive Search Firms focus their efforts on headhunting people who are right for the position regardless of whether they are actively open to new opportunities or not – these are called passive candidates. They sell the position to the person with the right skill and experience, check whether they’re open to new positions and then refer them to their clients. This way they can ensure they’re not wasting their time sifting through thousands of unsuitable CV’s.
Why are recruitment agencies getting it all wrong?
Even Oakstone has tried it. Using job ads to attract great talent – we’ve put adverts on indeed, LinkedIn and CV Library and we had limited success, even with the help of job ad experts - we only convert approximately one in 200 responses – primarily because the people applying for the role for advertising have few if any of the skills we have advertised for – it’s blatantly obvious that many people simply see a title and a salary and then press apply.
Relying on people to come to you doesn’t target anyone – expect applicants who don’t live within commuting distance, don’t have any experience and who aren’t qualified for the position. Picking the best out of a potentially bad bunch is sometimes as good as your recruitment process is going to get if you’re relying on job ads. Relying on people to come to you is lazy and you’re taking a huge gamble when trying to really find someone great for a role.
Of course, all this depends on what type of role you’re hiring for. Lower level positions may be more suited to job adverts because it gets the job in front of the masses, however when you need someone who meets all the complex job specification points, executive search is the best way to go.
If you’re working with a recruitment agency that simply advertise your position on job sites, you may not be getting your money’s worth! To find high quality, results driven people focus your time and money working with the right executive search firm for your company and your needs.
If you need assistance finding the right help we have put a guide to Sourcing Candidates here (recruitment guide link here).
Whether you’re an HR professional, Hiring Manager, CEO or even a candidate it’s always important to properly qualify the recruitment firm you’re working with.