In a recent article from Hunt Scanlon, it discusses some of the large firms’ recent financial successes are largely due to acquisitions of boutique search firms. I have seen this shift through conversations with clients and prospects. There were the days in which the name brand, large firms automatically got the call for an engagement, but it appears companies are giving boutique firms a chance in hopes of better results and stronger long-term partnerships.
Below are just a few reasons I work for a boutique executive search firm:
High-Touch: Working with a smaller firm can provide clients a high-touch recruitment service. Since boutique firms typically are specialized, there is a focus to bring on specific types of searches within one’s sphere of comfort. Additionally, since there is less overhead than large firms, recruitment workloads are typically more manageable which more often than not shortens time-to-fill.
Less Clients: There are many firms that work with a significant number of companies in the same market. Which companies are contractually off-limits to recruit from can result in large issues from a candidate pool perspective. If firms keep bringing in clients too quickly, depending on terms of the contract, there is less and less potential to find the right candidates as the pool of individuals to recruit continues to dwindle.
Flexible: Clients can value a number of different components that relate to a search: price, process, presentation of candidates, time-to-fill, etc. Being at a boutique firm has provided me the autonomy to make clients happy with far less red tape than that of a large company. As search partners, we should always aim to push our client’s agenda and not our own.
Long Game: Boutique firms are in this for the long-term relationship and partnership with both clients and candidates. We take the time to truly understand the ideal candidates and fully vet individuals with interest to present. Since boutique firms take on fewer clients, our clients get a significant amount of attention and efforts.
The most important thing for companies to do, whether engaging a large or boutique search firm, is to ask questions. We are not one size fits all, even the big ones. Figure out what is most important to you and if any of the above listed are of importance, make sure to look into boutique search options for 2017.
Alex Drury is Vice President of Business Development at Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.