The Financial Times published an article explaining how boutique consulting firms are encroaching on executive search firms’ business. While I think the executive search field has undergone dramatic change, this article avoids the most significant changes and does a mediocre job of proving its thesis.
What the article misses is the increasing professionalization and quality of internal recruiting groups. Given their access to technologies that help them identify and track candidates, as well as corporations hiring top recruiting firm alumni, these groups have become an integral and potent part of many organizations.
Still, there are some interesting insights.
First of all, the article begins with by stating that consulting firms placing candidates is new, but I have seen this for many years and they admit the same in their article. Some consulting firms include search as an unpaid, value-added part of their services. We have been engaged to conduct searches on behalf of our consulting clients, as well.
Nevertheless, most consulting firms won’t get into the search business as the article notes. Executive search companies will continue to get C-Suite searches and third party recruiting will continue. Still, recruiting firms’ ability to win searches is becoming more difficult due to the increasing effectiveness of internal recruiting groups.
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