Though they may be tiny fish in a big sea of contenders, minority-owned executive recruitment firms continue to play a major role in helping to diversify the American work-force. In 1995 alone, the 65 firms listed grossed $32.5 million, up 14.37% from $28 million in 1994. This year, 12 firms have been added to our list.
But it’s not all good news. As white-owned recruitment firms continue to develop their minority-recruitment divisions, black-owned firms could see revenue gains flatten. As of September 1996, the combined revenues of black firms–$29.5 million–made up just a fraction of the $4.4 billion executive recruitment industry, according to Executive Recruiter News.
Despite this, black firms continue evolving to meet the demands of corporate America. For example, many have expanded their services beyond executive recruitment to include temporary placement, diversity consulting and career counseling. Nonetheless, it’s still difficult for them to sell their services. “The pie has gotten larger, but the piece going to minority-owned firms is still very small,” says Winnie Richardson Davis, vice president of Joseph Davis Consultants in New York. Unlike their larger white-owned counterparts, she explains, few black-owned firms listed can afford to specialize in any one field, and must diversify the industries they service.
It’s important to understand exactly what executive search firms are. Search firms primarily cater to the needs of the employer, not job candidates. And they shouldn’t be confused with employment agencies or placement firms, where job candidates pay a fee to be placed. Revenue sources generally fall under two categories: contingency (C)–the client company pays a fee to the firm if the candidate is hired; or retained (R)–the client company pays the firm a fee for the search, whether or not a candidate is hired.
As a result, don’t necessarily expect a response if you send in an unsolicited resume. Although some firms do respond with a postcard of receipt, they’re not obligated to contact you.
David Pailin Sr. of the Dallas-based Pailin Group Professional Search Consultants, who receives about 75 resumes a day, explains why his company may not respond: (1) The candidate may not be qualified for any of the positions. (2) The format of the resume is unacceptable (i.e., handwritten instead of typed, dates of employment or job tides missing, etc.). (3) The candidate is seeking a job in an area in which the firm doesn’t usually recruit.
The following list of black-owned recruitment firms will provide career entry points and valuable information to executives seeking career advancement opportunities.