What Off-Limits Means To Your Search

“No one ever got fired for hiring IBM.”

This old business adage referred to the tendency of those charged with hiring consultants to simply select the mega-firm in the industry. It was an act of self-defense, so if something went wrong with the project, it would not be the fault of the person who hired the consultants.

But the executive search decision can turn this phrase on its head. As it turns out, there are compelling reasons to look beyond the largest firms when seeking an executive search partner.

For larger firms that conduct more searches, that means many more companies are “off limits” when it comes to identifying candidates for the next client’s search. The talent pool available for your search is severely reduced.

Additionally, if the search firm is currently conducting, say, five CFO searches, then the 25 or so executives on those candidate slates would also be “off limits” to the client looking to launch the sixth CFO search. Additional off-limits restrictions may apply when firms layer on other consulting services beyond search, such as succession planning, board assessment, etc.

The problem becomes evident. The more business the search firm conducts, the more extensive the restrictions become and the more significant the reduction of the potential candidate pool becomes.

Simply by virtue of conducting fewer searches, smaller firms will be less constrained by off-limits restrictions, giving them clearer access to the broad talent pool when conducting the next search. In years past, the size of an executive search firm used to confer its access to talent and ability to conduct candidate research. But in this globally connected age, firms of all sizes can be active across the global marketplace, with unlimited research resources.

Today, more important than the number of office locations is finding search consultants with the knowledge, network and tenacity to secure the right leader.

What Off-Limits Really Means For You and Your Search

Caldwell combines the resources of a major international firm with the benefits of a boutique-style practice. We leverage real-time client and candidate portals and AI-based technology without the conflicts of multiple “off-limits” agreements that restrict the larger firms’ access to the best talent. Connect with one of our consultants to learn more.

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