The emergency call usually comes in when a botched executive search has escalated to a crisis situation. The search has typically been going on for nine months or longer as a big brand search firm cycled through subpar candidates who were unemployed, available and convenient leftovers from previous searches. Or the search firm was sending candidates with horrible culture fit who couldn’t pass the airport test. My team gets called in to rescue that search gone bad when the CEO has had enough and is ready to invest in another process to achieve a greater result.
Large firms are interested in going a mile wide and an inch deep. They are spread too thin and have many encumbrances and restrictions that keep them from pursuing the absolute best talent. Large firms also struggle to create the genuine relationships and meaningful engagement that a more nimble boutique firm is capable of. They will often have junior recruiters doing the heavy lifting. By doing this, big search firms operate a lower quality search and frequently fail to engage top candidates with the opportunity you created.
This happens because most recruiters still believe it’s acceptable to perform Level 2 Recruiting. Level 1 and Level 2 Recruiting consist of broadcasting openings and relying on a blunt, passive search process. Level 2 Recruiting relies specifically on referrals and networks to find candidates who are available and convenient.
There is a better way of recruiting – an elite, special forces approach – and that is Level 3 Recruiting™. Level 3 is a refined selection process of precision extraction to secure the top 1% of A+ executive leaders. Each search for a leadership position must be conducted with a fierce drive to find the ideal candidate. This means caring deeply about not only finding the right person, but communicating with and listening to that person. It means presenting a powerful, irresistible argument to convince that candidate to leave his or her great job. Most top leaders are not between jobs, waiting for the phone to ring. They’re already engaged in something they find interesting. An elite headhunter capable of Level 3 Recruiting™ can get top candidates out of an existing state of mild happiness, assess their core competencies and core values to ensure culture fit, and then secure them in a fantastic new role – one where they are uniquely qualified to succeed.