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A recruitment process that consistently delivers exceptional results is not cheap.

Corporations who cut corners in acquiring talent, focusing on process to save money in the name of efficiency more than the success of the new employee, will almost certainly have more significant, disruptive recruiting failures and higher turnover.  In the end, these companies almost always lag behind their competitors.

Companies should measure the cost of recruiting – using executive search firms or building an internal recruiting infrastructure — not just the expense line of a financial statement but the results that new leaders deliver to the organization.

There are several things that a company can do to avoid a costly miss-hire.  Since this is all about people, you should begin by focusing on people – your search firm consultant or internal recruiter.

Just because the recruiter has years of experience or the firm has a national or global footprint does not guarantee a successful search.  Look at your recruiter’s specific results, not just the partner, but also the members of the team who will actually do the recruiting and candidate evaluation.  What is their success rate for candidates who have stayed more than three years?  Five years?

If you are using an outside recruiting firm, how long is their placement guarantee?  Contingency firms, which typically do less due diligence regarding the client culture or candidate’s experience, will usually offer a guarantee ranging from 90 to 180 days.  The vast majority of retained search firms offer a 12-month guarantee, which for executive level assignments, is really no guarantee at all.  Push them to provide you a guarantee that is at least as long as the industry average candidate “stick” rate of two years.  Anything less may be a red flag that they lack confidence in their screening process or that they don’t want to own the quality of their work.  Claiming that they can’t control what happens to a candidate after they are placed in an organization is the most common excuse recruiters use to push back on this issue.

Too bad that claim is not appropriate.  Do not let them get away with charging you a princely fee without owning the quality of their work.  Funding will be tighter regardless of who is elected President and consultants have a responsibility to help their clients by delivering more value for the money they pay.

For corporate recruiters, hire people who have a verifiable record of recruiting successful people.  Insist that they be honest and transparent with their internal clients and the candidates.  No exceptions.  Then tie their performance in finding people who deliver measurable value to a condition of their own continued employment.

If you take this approach, plus use recruiters with a gold-plated candidate evaluation tool or implement one for your internal management executive recruiting team, I guarantee you will improve the quality of your management and leadership recruits.  I will discuss the candidate screening process in my next post.

© 2012 John Gregory Self