How to Make a Decision to Hire an Executive Search Firm

How to Make a Decision to Hire an Executive Search Firm

Y Scouts CEO, Max Hansen, Shares 3 Critical Questions to Make This Hiring Decision:

  1. What is the cost of not hiring your next leader?
  2. What will hiring the right leader enable you, the leader, to do that you’re not doing today?
  3. What is the cost of hiring the wrong person?

Let’s dive deeper.

What is the cost of not hiring your next leader?

Is there a cost every day we wait to hire the next leader? Yes, there is a huge lost opportunity cost. If you are a believer that time is our most precious resource, then the thought of not having the right leader in place should hit home. Also, there is a loss in production, possibly a significant distraction of a team, a negative impact on morale, and let’s face it, a financial loss to an organization. The total cost of lost opportunity is almost impossible to calculate in its totality. Especially when it’s a Sr. Leadership role for a small to midsize company in a critical growth phase. We are very familiar with this phase as this is the phase almost all of our clients enter our lives at Y Scouts. We have seen time and time again when the right leader is hired, there is opportunity ignited that the organization didn’t even know existed. How do you even calculate that? I think it’s safe to say that opportunity costs from delaying the decision to hire a leader at the bare minimum cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can quickly reach 7 figures. 

What will hiring the right leader enable you, the leader, to do that you’re not doing today?

This is the million-dollar question, literally! Our client is usually the President or CEO of the company. When the right leader is placed it frees up his/her capacity at the highest level. This enables the leader to focus on the stuff that almost always compounds the growth of the company. It can range from raising capital to sales and marketing strategy to coaching up his/her leadership team up—Whatever it is it almost always allows the leader to focus on the stuff where they have the most talent. The magical intersection of what they are great at and what needs the most attention at the company. In other words, allows them to work on the business versus in the business. In many cases, we have seen hiring the right new leader allow new focus for the current leader— they can now move out of their own way! What would hiring the right leader to your team enable you to do that you’re not doing today?!

What is the cost of hiring the wrong leader?

I saved this one for last on purpose. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once estimated bad hires had cost his company Zappos “well over $100 million.” The only thing more costly than dragging your feet on making the critical hire you know you need to make is hiring the wrong leader. This is unfortunately where most of our clients come crawling from. We usually see hiring the wrong person caused by 1 of the following 3 reasons:

  1. The hiring leader didn’t take the necessary time to define what success looked like in the role. And because of this, they hired someone without doing the right amount of diligence. We see far too many times the hiring leader assumes the person they hire will “figure out” what they should do to grow the business. Unfortunately, 95% of the time, a critical hire without a road map of what success looks like, ends up in the same disaster— 6 months of misalignment and back to the drawing board. It’s this very reason the Y Scouts process always starts with Role Visioning and Success Outcome Design.
  2. They hired a resume that looked great and didn’t do the necessary due diligence on cultural alignment. I could talk about this one for hours. This is the reason Y Scouts exist. Professional competencies are incredibly important for a leader to be successful. But equally important to competency fit is cultural alignment to the company, the role, and the leadership team. This issue is so important, we’ve designed our entire Y Scouts hiring process around. We go through a discovery process with every one of our clients and candidates to uncover the person behind the resume. The process in which you uncover someone’s purpose and values has to be done intentionally. Most importantly the cultural alignment must be done first before you start vetting on professional competencies.
  3. They used a contingent search firm that sold them on a candidate that ended up being different than what they saw on paper and in their interview process. I don’t mean to knock contingent staffing companies but let’s be real. The financial arrangement of being paid nothing or a full fee does not stack the cards in your favor. Resumes will be re-written and lips will be loaded. Your average interviewer doesn’t stand a chance to unpack what a person achieved in their career vs. what’s BS you will be told in the interview process. I’m convinced most people have embellished their career achievements so many times, they believe their own lies.

Choose how and who you hire wisely for your next Leader

Full disclosure, I’m the co-founder and CEO of Y Scouts. I’m biased toward Y Scouts, the team, and our amazing process. I will do my best to put that aside for a minute. If you have an in-house resource and hiring process capable of making your next critical leadership hire, I commend you and wish you luck. That said, I doubt you would even be reading this right now. My first piece of advice before I put my Y Scouts hat on is, find a retained search partner you can trust, even if that’s not us. Hiring is the most important thing you’ll do in growing your business invest in outside professional help. Don’t expect someone to invest a significant amount of time on your hiring to maybe get paid at the very end.

There are lots of things we have learned to do well at Y Scouts over the years. I will keep it simple and point out the 3 uniques that have enabled us to be so successful.

Y Scouts is well-positioned to serve as your competitive advantage. We can reach and engage exceptional candidates who don’t respond to the outdated approach of traditional, ineffective agencies. We leverage our Covert Discovery Process to create meaningful relationships with candidates, fully understand who they are and what drives them prior to introducing your role. Once we confirm their alignment with our client’s Organizational DNA, we take them through a rigorous process that continues to measure their cultural alignment and test the proof points of their experience to ensure that they are able to deliver on the specific Success Outcomes for the role. 

This proven process creates long-standing partnerships with our clients as we consistently bring talented, impactful leaders to their Executive Teams.