Are you searching for your next CPO or Procurement Director, but you’re not entirely sure which recruitment method will deliver results? Hiring procurement executives can be challenging and timely, so it’s important to select the right process for you and your organisation.

We take a look at the differences between the two and why executive search can deliver results for your next hire.

A standard recruitment process usually starts with either HR or an internal recruitment team using a standard role specification to measure a candidates suitability. Without the right keywords on their CV, at a first glance, it’s difficult to quantify their relevance and many are rejected at the first hurdle.

It is then followed quickly by first interviews, which are typically telephone-based, making it virtually impossible to measure how any of the candidates interact face-to-face, or how they respond to both open and closed questions.

So, when recruiting for your next senior specialist, it’s essential to understand what your recruitment options are and why executive search is a valuable service, especially when your objective is to recruit a long term hire, who fits with not only to your skill requirements, but also your company ethos and vision.

What is an Executive Search Specialist?

Procurement executive search specialists, like ourselves, are experienced in their field and take time to understand your company’s overall objectives and the alignment of procurements goals with finance.

They start by having several conversations with the management team to understand the structure, organisation, challenges, technologies and objectives, drilling deeper and beyond a standard job specification. This process highlights the necessary skills and personality required to fit with your company culture, which is essential to ensure delivery of value, change and innovation.

How Executive Search Works

The executive search recruitment process is also commonly known as ‘search and selection’ or ‘headhunting’. The process is typically known for its proactive, thorough, methodical and collaborative approach. This process takes time and doesn’t rely on traditional methods of sourcing candidates such as advertising, databases and keyword searching, it is unique to each client and personal.

Typically, an employer will approach an executive search company when they are looking to hire a strategic and innovative leader. In most cases these leaders are well established, happy in their current role and aren’t active in the job market or responding to job adverts online.

When working with a headhunter, they normally work on an exclusive basis. They dedicate time to understand your objectives, finances and the overall business, and how these are aligned. They work collaboratively with the client to agree on a recruitment methodology, using assessments, to provide further clarification in the evaluation process and mitigate risk.

Unlike recruitment agencies, the search and selection process is refined, presenting the client with a shortlist, which has been thoroughly assessed, referenced and aligned from a cultural and skills perspective. Of course, some firms may do things a little differently, but this gives you some idea of the general outline of the process.

What’s the Difference Between a Recruiter and an Executive Recruiter?

Making a placement is the ultimate goal for both recruitment agencies and executive recruiters; however, the key differences between both are:

The Contingency Recruiter (Recruitment Consultant)

  • Recruiters will typically identify many candidates who are searching for alternative employment that may look suitable.
  • They may contact passive candidates.
  • They work with speed as they compete with several other recruitment companies on a PSL, so time is critical, with a heavy reliance on keyword searching and databases.
  • They work with many other clients and spread their services, traditionally sending volume.
  • Very rarely formal assessments are used to evaluate outside of keyword matching and predefined questioning.

Executive Search Consultants (Headhunters)

  • They conduct a thorough analysis to understand the underlining objectives of the business and procurement fully.
  • They work collaboratively with management to draft a unique specification, which is engaging and detailed.
  • They provide updates and reports keeping you informed throughout the search process.
  • They agree on a search methodology and a deliverable timeline
  • They network through trusted advisors, gaining insights and research to discover hidden talent.
  • They measure and assess each prospect to understand their personality, emotional intelligence and business acumen.
  • They present you with a shortlist of qualified, referenced and successful executives ready for their next adventure.

What Jobs do Executive Search Firms Recruit for?

Executive recruiters search for talent generally in management or C-suite level roles, meaning that salaries will often exceed £130,000.

The specific types of executives that a search consultant may source will vary depending on the market they operate in. For instance, a procurement search specialist may recruit a Chief Procurement Officer or Senior Procurement Director; however general roles are more likely to include:

  • CEO
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Finance Director
  • Managing Director
  • Operations Director
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Marketing Officer

Why use an Executive Search Agency?

If the position has a high level of complexity and requires an enabler to manage and inspire, then this would be an ideal time to engage with a headhunter.

Using an executive service like ours, you’re enlisting the services of a company who have experience in procurement. Having the expertise, knowledge and connections in the sector, enables us to evaluate a potential hires’ skills, focus and suitability without the use of keywords and reducing the risk of a bad hire. Being able to fill a knowledge gap and tap into a talent pool of otherwise inaccessible candidates, can help mitigate this risk while also reducing the time to hire.

What’s the Cost?

Executive search recruiters usually work on a retained basis and costs can vary from project to project. Unlike contingency recruitment, this means that the search firm is paid an upfront fee. Further instalments are invoiced when the agreed milestones are met and the search has been completed successfully.

It’s important to remember that if you are considering using an executive search firm, the costs are reflective of how much time it takes to undertake such a detailed process. These costs ensure that your next hire has the desired experience necessary to deliver, is aligned to your company culture and more importantly, has the emotional intelligence required to build relationships with stakeholders, manage teams and support the organisations vision.

Sourcing Solved are an executive search procurement specialist based in Hove, UK.

If you would like to discuss your executive search requirements please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

T: +44 1273 930 628