What’s the ROI on Executive Search?

What’s the return on investment for executive search firms such as Jamesbeck? The question is especially relevant for firms that have built their own in-house recruiting teams. Also, the proliferation of online recruitment and job-seeking platforms has led some firms to conclude that they can easily find their own talent without the assistance of a third-party search firm. Below are the most compelling reasons that come to mind when considering what an executive search firm like Jamesbeck has to offer:


We’re a firm’s marketing arm. We’re in the market on behalf of our clients, selling the positive aspects of each client, confidently making them look compelling. We succeed because we’re capable, experienced, credible, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about our work. We function as an extension of our client, albeit a neutral party. We’re the face of our client in the marketplace, and as candidates come to know and trust us, they listen to what we have to say when we reach out on behalf of our clients.


We have connectivity and reach. We’re constantly in the flow of the asset management industry, as this is our sole focus. We all have webs of contacts across different organizations, various functions and asset classes. Given the structure of our organization, which incents teamwork both as a business culture as well as financially, our clients have access to all these different networks, and to the vast collective experience and connectivity that our partners share. Essentially, there’s a multiplier effect in play that allows us to quickly and effectively find the best candidates for our clients.


We have a strong client base. We work for the best asset management firms that are well established in the marketplace, which enhances our credibility and gives us access to high-caliber candidates.


We proactively find the best and brightest candidates. We engage in behind-the-scenes sourcing by harnessing our collective networks to find the best and brightest candidates. These individuals typically aren’t job-seeking but are often happily and gainfully employed. When we proactively call these candidates, they’re willing to speak to us because we’re not competitors, and we may have relevant insights. Our approach is in stark contrast to firms that passively post job openings on a website, then sit back and wait for the A-players to come to them.


Market intelligence and honest reads on people. Having focused on recruiting within investment management collectively as a team for over 135 years, we’ve created deep, trusting relationships with a vast number of industry professionals. Because of this, our contacts give us the unvarnished truth. This includes confidential, honest reads on a candidate’s success, skill set, and work style – information that’s usually not as readily available to in-house recruiters. As impartial intermediaries, we’re able to ascertain the market’s opinion or reputation of individuals, a true benefit for our clients. We can also glean intelligence on what competitors are up to, such as how they’re structuring their businesses, what new markets they’re entering, and how they’re creatively tackling problems.


Compensation details. While we are no longer allowed to ask for an individual’s compensation, we can dialogue with a candidate about their expectations. In doing so, more than half of our candidates voluntarily share their compensation information with us. This is because they tend to trust us more than in-house recruiters. As an intermediary, Jamesbeck can provide market compensation information and furnish appropriate guidance to our clients and candidates. Lastly, because we mediate between our candidates and clients, we can take more of an impartial role to help both parties find a realistic middle ground.


Complexity of hires. The needs of our clients are more complex than they once were because firms are working to solve more challenging problems. Accordingly, firms are seeking candidates with diverse backgrounds and skill sets to fill leadership roles, in contrast to the round peg/round hole hiring approach of the past. Instead, our clients are now looking to hire individuals from different parts of an organization, or with experience across business lines, to fill leadership positions. Identifying candidates like this requires a lot of sourcing and networking to find the right skill set, which is where Jamesbeck’s real value comes in.


The psychological piece.  Contemplating a professional move can be gut wrenching for some candidates, while clients don’t always understand the hesitancy. We keep things grounded in reality by providing counsel to both our candidates and clients. We help quell the emotional ups and downs of a recruiting process.


While there’s speculation that the function of a recruiter may be replicated by artificial intelligence, as a doorman can be replaced by automated doors, who will help you carry your groceries or walk your dog when you need a hand?


If you have questions or would like to dialogue on any of the topics addressed in this piece, please feel free to contact us.