We are regularly surprised by prospective clients asking us whether we could “send a few CVs” for strategic leadership roles instead of running a targeted, objective-driven process to attract the best talent.
There seems to be a belief that quick-fire, success-based recruitment offers broader market coverage since “more people are fighting to identify talent” for your organisation. It is also believed that it is cheaper.
This could not be further from the truth.
Consider this: The best contingent recruiters average between 20-25% success rates. Therefore, even the best contingent recruiter that consistently places candidates works for free most of the year, as they are not paid unless they fill the role. It’s a fundamentally flawed model because it relies on speed, not quality. And the irony is the client, in almost every measurable way, pays more, not less—hardly a strategy for success.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD RECRUITMENT PARTNER?
It seems an obvious question.
However, thinking that a recruiter’s only purpose is to send you CVs is missing the true purpose of a great recruitment partner. The right executive search/recruitment partner will help de-risk your business, guide you, and help give you the clarity and confirmation in your own mind that you’re making the best decision for your business. They have expert market knowledge and, crucially, access to the best (often passive) talent.
A successful partnership should result in significant risk reduction and time and money savings, thus increasing ROI.
In the fiercely competitive global war for talent in the mining sector, having access to the right talent is paramount not just for the growth and prosperity of your company but for its survival.
Below, we explore 10 compelling reasons why finding a great retained executive search partner will result in dramatic ROI increase across the spectrum (time, money, culture fit):
1. Negotiation Position
When you interview a rapidly assembled shortlist (often a shortlist of one), you eliminate your strategic advantage. Candidates need to compete for a role, and they need to be assessed consistently. Partnering with a professional executive search firm narrows the market to the best possible candidates, who must compete for the role.
2. Reduced Cost and Flight Risk
When there is no competition or inconsistent/purely subjective assessment during the process, hiring risk and cost increase substantially. Candidates hired directly (often in an uncontested race) almost always cost more to hire due to the company’s weakened negotiating position (accompanying panic should the hire not accept the role) whilst being a higher “flight risk”.
3. Bespoke Solutions
What starts well, ends well. Retained executive search firms provide a customised and tailored approach to your unique hiring requirements. Each search is different – culture, company strategy, size, location, geopolitics, and historical challenges/successes must be considered. Time is invested in understanding your company’s culture, specific industry demands, and the unique challenges within the mining sector.
4. Confirmation Bias & Quality Over Quantity
The best firms prioritise focusing on systematically identifying and vetting the perfect match for your organisation rather than inundating you with CVs that may not meet your precise criteria. Having carefully mapped and considered the market, the best recruitment partners understand their client’s needs to ensure only a handful of vetted (and fully committed) candidates are presented, all but eliminating the risk of confirmation bias when managing recruitment yourself.
5. Alignment of Values & Culture
Understanding each other’s values is crucial, as these must form part of the selection criteria. A head-hunter should be an extension of your business. How are you currently represented in the market? The right partner dedicates time to familiarising themselves with your company, objectives, and long-term vision, enabling them to attract candidates who harmonise with your aspirations and culture.
6. Due Process/Corporate Governance
The right search firm reports regularly and transparently and executes on a clear plan (culture/fit, diversity, experience, skills, etc). They provide an unbiased assessment as independent professionals interviewing and psychometrically evaluating candidates, guaranteeing that you identify the appropriate fit for your position. Hope is not a strategy! Even if you consider yourself a great recruiter, consider the time investment “to get the right one” when you could be engaged in value-accretive activity within your specialist area. And how do you know they are the best person for the company when you likely considered only a few people in your network, or relied on advertising?
7. Post-Completion Follow-up & Relationships
A retained partner’s services should extend beyond the hiring process, ensuring that the candidate meets expectations and addresses potential issues after the placement. In contrast to contingency firms, the right partner builds long-term relationships with clients, focusing on partnerships rather than one-off transactions.
A true partner should act as an advisor, offering insights and guidance on executive and board recruitment strategies and best practices. They should be peer-level management consultants with extensive relevant experience. They will also profoundly understand the mining sector, delivering valuable market insights and intelligence that can inform your hiring decisions. Knowing what not to do is often more important than knowing what to do.
9. Comprehensive Services
A specialist should offer specialised services. In a human capital context, this could include market analysis, talent mapping, succession planning, remuneration consulting, due diligence, and independent candidate assessment. They are your collaborator in every phase of the hiring process and beyond. If you align with the right partner, the de-risking of your current hire probably started indirectly many years ago!
10. Time, Time, and Time
Our most valuable resource. While posting your job online and witnessing a flood of applications might appear simple, the stark reality involves envisioning the precious time wasted sifting through a sea of entirely unsuitable candidates. When you collaborate with the right partner, you can rest assured that the individuals presented are fit for purpose and genuinely interested/motivated, representing the best in the industry. You cannot find the best passive candidates by advertising.
Ensuring you have the right talent can make or break an organisation. When done correctly, hiring is a powerful strategic advantage and investment, and should not be considered an afterthought perceived as a cost.
Our next publication will explore clients’ mistakes when engaging a recruitment partner and how to guard against making them. We hope this will serve as a “checklist” when considering your recruiter relationships.