We are not always looking for the best talent in a managerial or executive position. Of course, it’s not politically correct for many companies to admit this, but in general, once an organization has a critical mass of talent, what they really do need are good and faithful “implementers”. We are now referring to structures in phase of moderate growth or maturity, as in the high-growth phases of double-digit or expansion. This may mean that the organization captures extra talent to develop it in the future. Profiles must conform to the economic cycle in which they are required.

Many Key Talent development plans look very good on paper, but when they fail to meet expectations some participants deny them and may even cover up having taken part in them. Why is that?  Generally, because time puts everyone in their place: the company finds out that not all the years accounted for growth and expansion, there  cannot be  promotions for all who deserve them and the employee is faced with many more chances to see if Peter’s Principle really works and has not yet reached his/her level of incompetence.

An obvious solution to avoid the de-motivation problem with these promising talents is not to recruit them in origin. Many readers may be recalling a situation when an external candidate was to be recruited, but the candidate’s profile only required the background and experience needed to be efficient short-term. In this situation some candidates are even discarded for being overqualified. Certainly, no intention to grab the brightest talent with potential from a direct competitor!

Our recommendation to select the correct and most efficient candidate, but not necessarily the most extraordinary in the marketplace, is to use a passive method of recruitment: advertisements in newspapers, portals on the Internet, etc,  as well as a more or less formal network of acquaintances. Among the finalists who meet the requirements for the position, some of them will be motivated for a change (those who have formally applied) and we may have the candidate we want: a good candidate who will offer satisfactory performance for now.

Many recruitment consultancies using different methodologies help to screen the total of applications received in order to present a reasonable quantity to the final client. In this case, consultants compare the profile of applicants with the requirements of the post, without spending extra time or effort to identify other outstanding candidates in the marketplace.   Many of those will be happily employed and the effort to persuade and sell a change to a candidate is much higher than just getting a name and telephone number.

Searching for the best. We often meet exceptional managers. Many of them have grown within their organizations. They lead, optimize, motivate, have vision and anticipate lots of events; we tend to look at them with admiration. And here comes the problem. The best candidates are key professionals in positions with the ability to influence outcomes and they are often subject to specific retention plans. If they are not unsatisfied, they tend not to be actively looking, so the challenge lies in attracting them, more than identifying them.

Direct search, Executive Search or Headhunting is the direct method of recruitment that assures a proactive process with a proven methodology. These Consultants will start by making a map of the function in order to search through blue-chip target companies in any particular field. They will address them one by one to have current and verified information about suitable, available and interested candidates. The client company does not choose the one that fits best among those who have applied, but once the best candidates have been identified; there is a large extent of work containing persuasion and a challenging sale. This cannot be done via internet.

This is the reason why having a professional search firm and an expert interviewing Consultant remain a valuable expert contribution to both parties: the company to attract the best talent available in a key position, in addition to the candidate perceiving the search consultant as a privileged adviser and a punctual coach in a successful project.

The consultants of executive search companies (at least those members of the AESC, but probably others as well) put all their experience, reputation and commitment to be right at the first try providing the value of consultancy – effectiveness and efficiency.

Originally published in Spanish in RH Digital.