How Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen Can Burn Your Next Marketing Executive Search

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Consider this scenario that happens all too often and will ruin your chances of hiring a top marketing professional:

Imagine you’re an experienced marketing executive with a long, successful career and reputation of being at the top of your field with a specific, hard-to-find set of experience and skills.

One morning on your way to work you get a call from a recruiter about an intriguing job opportunity at an interesting company. You discuss it briefly and agree to a follow-up call to learn more.

Then later that day, something strange happens. You receive another call from a different recruiter about the same job. And over the next few days, it’s followed by a string of email inquiries, LinkedIn invitations, and another call from a third firm all trying to get your attention for this given position.

All of a sudden, you’re not so interested in the role. If this is a great place to work, why is their recruiting process so broken? You have gone from interested in learning about the role to having a negative view of this potential employer.

This situation happens all too often, and it will cripple your chances of hiring top marketing talent. If having a best-in-class marketing department stocked with exceptional talent at every level is important to you (and it should be), then you need a professional recruitment process.

Too Many Sharks, Not Enough Fish

hiring a top marketing professional

Perhaps a scenario like the one described above has happened to you before. But even if not, it’s easy to imagine how you would perceive it to be highly unprofessional and likely kill any interest you had in the role.

How does such a situation happen?

Too often companies hire recruiting firms that are not the best fit and rather than fix the problem they tend to add more firms to the mix when they are not seeing good results. One broken process is bad, multiple broken processes is much worse.

For a given open marketing position, you need someone with a specific skillset and personality that fits your workplace culture. There are probably only a few high-quality candidates that are qualified for the role.

That creates a situation where you have multiple, independent firms competing for a small set of talent. And yes, they are competing in a race that can only have one winner: the firm that gets to the talent first.

That in turn leads to an uncoordinated rush to contact talent and pressure them into accepting a role as quickly as possible. A negative candidate experience turns off the best talent, leaving you to pick from the B-players who don’t mind the hassle.

How to Avoid This Disaster

retained creative executive search firm

When there are too many cooks in a small kitchen, everyone loses. There’s not enough workspace, everyone bumps into each other, more mistakes are made, and food quality and service suffer. When you need a quality outcome, one master chef with the right resources will deliver better results than a dozen amateurs fighting over counter space and salt.

Acquiring top marketing talent is much the same. A crowded space with recruiters tripping over each other to get to candidates makes things worse for the recruiters, the talent, and the client alike.

That’s why, when it comes to reinforcing your marketing team, it’s wisest to turn to a single experienced retained creative executive search firm or retained marketing recruiter rather than a handful of ‘contingent’ firms.

Retained vs Contingent: Understanding the Difference
Most third-party marketing recruitment specialists operate on a contingent or retained basis. A retained search gives one specific agency exclusive rights to search for candidates for a certain job and is paid a “retainer” fee upfront. That enables them to take the time needed to find the right fit for your business. In a contingent search, there is no exclusivity and multiple firms compete to get a candidate in first because their compensation is “contingent” on getting a placement. Learn more about marketing executive search business models in our complete guide!

There are a lot of important differences between a contingent and retained creative executive search specialist or recruitment firm. But for this problem, the most important is that it creates a single point of contact between your business and the talent pool. That eliminates any chances of multiple people approaching one candidate for the same role, and ensures that your opportunity is presented consistently in the best possible light.

Intuitively, you might think that having more people working the same search would benefit you. After all, more competition usually leads to a better product and service, right? However, when it comes to sophisticated talent you’re better off having one specialized marketing recruitment agency on your side at a time.

The other important thing you need to do is make sure your internal HR and recruitment teams cease any talent acquisition efforts once you’ve handed the search off to a partner. That prevents any confusion among candidates and saves your team from wasting their time.

More Advice on Hiring a Top Marketing Professional

Featured photo credit: Midnight Believer via /  CC BY-SA

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