When should you turn to an executive search firm to handle your hiring needs?

by Derek Gracey and Sydney Olszewski
Charles Aris Executive Search

The people who make up an organization are no doubt one of the most important assets a company has. In the past few months, we’ve seen the pandemic leave its mark on the hiring market. Organizations worldwide are suffering the consequences of what is being referred to as “The Great Resignation.” In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a whopping four million people quit their jobs in April 2021.

What does this mean for human capital teams? While hiring is – and will likely always be – a top priority, it’s even more so right now. As your organization’s human capital team prepares to make executive-level hires, consider these factors to help you determine whether it’s necessary to turn to an executive search firm to fill these roles:


Ask yourself: Does my organization’s human capital team have the expertise needed to fill this role?

The considerations: If your internal team has experience hiring for that type of role, function or industry segment, then it’s probably in your best interest to continue using internal resources for that hire. If that’s not the case, turning to an executive search firm will likely prove beneficial – but not just any executive search firm.

The key takeaway here is “expertise.” You want a search partner that has experience recruiting and successfully placing these individuals. Are you searching for a CHRO for a portfolio company? The search firm you choose should have a clear track record of working in the private equity space and finding top talent to place in this type of role. Each search firm is different, as is the function and industry experience that each recruiter holds – and expertise is not the corner you want to cut.


Ask yourself: Does my organization’s human capital team have the time to dedicate to efficiently and effectively fill this role?

The considerations: There are usually time constraints associated with an executive-level hiring need. Does your internal team have the “time to hunt” within these constraints? The benefit of working with an executive search partner is that its main goal is to find, attract and retain the right person for this role.

That means spending hours understanding the full breadth of your organization and the role itself, then additional hours more actively diving into top-tier search tools to find individuals who could be “the one.” It also means it’s dedicating a good amount of time actively reaching out to that pool of candidates to learn more about their experiences, career goals and gauge their interest in the opportunity. It means communicating and coordinating with the candidates and your organization to set up interviews, discuss compensation expectations and help formulate and negotiate offers.

That’s not to say the internal team can’t do this successfully, but it is immensely helpful to have a dedicated group of experienced recruiters work day after day to help fill some of the most important roles in your organization.


Ask yourself: Is this a role that’s confidential and sensitive in nature?

The considerations: The more confidential and sensitive the nature of the search, the more likely it is you’ll want to partner with an executive search firm. When you take this out of the hands of your internal human capital team and place it into the hands of a third party, you’re reducing the risk that this search creates any sort of conflict within the organization.

Moreover, finding the right person for a confidential search can prove to be more challenging. You can’t rely on candidates coming through a LinkedIn job posting, an internal job board or even a referral from trusted colleagues. An executive search firm is well equipped to go out and find your strong pool of candidates without the fear that confidentiality will be broken.

The takeaway

As your organization continues to work through mission-critical hiring needs, it’s important to fully consider whether your internal human capital team can execute that search – or if it’s best for your organization to turn to an executive search partner.