Why Retained Search Recruitment is Crucial to Your Business

candidate at job interview

by Paul O’Donnell, CEO at HRM Search Partners

​In recent times there has been much talk and reference made to the ‘Great Resignation’ in Ireland. Various information and media channels gave the impression that there is a large-scale mobility within the workforce.

But has this actually happened?

Our observations tell us that this is only true of a certain part of the workforce – namely a highly mobile and younger workforce cohort.

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So what does this mean for the rest of the workforce cohort?

With a more stable economy, a generational change in business leadership and increased competition for highly experienced executives, senior specialist and mid-level leadership talent, it can be extremely difficult to meet target headcount goals in this context without the breadth and depth of a prolific recruitment search methodology.

In particular, for those positions regarded as critical to organisational function, hiring processes or methods, have not adapted. The default position in this instance may be to deploy a contingency methodology that emphasises speed above completeness. However this can put a costly risk (in terms of time, money, organisational morale and potentially employer brand reputation) on the success of the final hire. It is well known amongst hiring managers it takes time and effort to conduct more in-depth research to find the best candidates, particularly when a senior or hard to fill role needs to be filled.

This extensive research approach has long been employed at executive level as part of the ‘search’ process. There are many reasons for doing so, but fundamentally it has been about candidate passivity. The ‘best’ of the ‘best’ candidates simply won’t be looking to change role. They need to be discovered or sought-out, engaged and assessed. This takes time, skill and know-how. The goal is always to find the most suitable candidates that meet the fit and purpose of an organisation. This result can only be achieved when all potential candidates who can do the role (nationally or internationally) have been identified, and time is invested in distilling the group into a shortlist of the best, most suitable candidates. Having a research-centred recruiter that addresses these often complex challenges can make all the difference to frequently over-stretched in-house Human Resources departments versus trying to outsource to a contingency recruiter.

Whilst retained search integrated with the recruitment process at leadership level hiring is understood, the monetary and time investment involved is also expected and accepted. This is because the risk of getting this search wrong is just too great. The costs of mismatch in personality, leadership-style culture or even geography can have a ripple effect on the morale of the organisation as a whole.

But is it much different in critical functions, particularly in a world where these roles can be integral to business success?

Good recruitment at these levels requires the breadth and depth of powerful research-centred and very targeted search process. This involves a thorough detailed needs analysis process designed to gain a comprehensive understanding of an organisation’s needs, as well as a wide research and ultimately highly focused, structured search. The process includes dimensional assessment programmes addressing competency, personal statements, psychometric and technical evaluations. The research process also pivots around the candidate connectedness and experience – high touch, building engagement and maximising valuable feedback.

The thoroughness and completeness of these assessments support hiring decisions, and for that reason, an organisation can be confident that there is a consistent, meticulous end to end search process in place screening candidates. It stands to reason the emphasis on speed being the dominant factor in this instance needs to be removed. A short-term problem may be solved but a medium-term problem created.

Great recruitment is about hiring the best person for the role, and not just who is available. Investing in retained search provides organisations access to a full research and consulting team dedicated to working with the hiring manager and HR Teams to establish the most desirable talent pools, organisations and locations from which to target talent.