Small business owners often find themselves wearing many different hats. But when it comes time to hire executive and managerial talent, human resources experts say owners should seek professional help.
“It makes good sense for small businesses to hire an executive search firm to work with especially if they are in a growth mode,” says Eral Burks, president and CEO of Minority Executive Search, a human resources recruitment firm in business since 1985. “It takes human capital to build a business and you want the best individuals in those positions to help you grow.”
Executive search firms, also known as headhunters, are paid a percentage of the new hire’s salary, and standard industry fees range from 25% to 33.5%. “While you will spend a little bit more using a headhunter, you will get quality candidates and quality hires that will add to your bottom line,” says Adrienne Graham, CEO and owner of Hues Consulting and Management Inc., an executive search firm.
Recruiters are usually contracted by larger businesses, universities, and non-profit organizations to hire employees for positions that are management level or above. For small businesses, these search firms can reduce the HR workload so that owners can pay more attention to running the day-to day aspect of their businesses.
Oftentimes, small business owners don’t have the time to put in the necessary work to find suitable employees, says Graham, author of her self-published book, “Go Ahead Talk to Strangers: The Modern Girls Guide To Fearless Networking (Empower Me! Corp.; $19.99). They look in the wrong places and search on generalist job boards like Jobster.com or CareerBuilder.com because they are unfamiliar with niche job boards. “Those are good for what they provide, but job boards period are not something business owners need to [solely] rely on,” Graham says. A headhunter can do what the small business owner doesn’t have time to do—network over the phone and face to face by cultivating relationships at trade association events.
One main advantage of hiring a recruiter is the anonymity that they provide, Graham says. Anonymity protects the recruiting company from being inundated with inquiries from unqualified applicants. A professional recruiter won’t tell the candidate what company they are recruiting for until the day of the interview. Also, a headhunter can search for candidates within a competitor’s company for talent, something that the business owner himself cannot do.