Traditional Search Model

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THE TRADITIONAL SEARCH MODEL When we refer to the “traditional search model”, we mean the method of engagement and measurement of success common in most retained search projects. In most instances, it looks like this: A client has a specific role to fill and needs an individual with a specific array of skills and experience to fill that role. Due to limited time or access, the client chooses to hire an outside firm to search and recruit qualified candidates to the role. The success of the project is most often measured by whether or not the search firm was able to identify and ultimately attract a desirable candidate. For those clients whose sole goal is to fill a narrowly defined “box”, the traditional search model works well. However, in today’s business environment, the traditional model of retained search has become increasingly ineffective due to its narrow and inflexible scope and definition. THE PROBLEM If I were to ask most clients why they were hiring us, they would answer, “To fill the role with the right person.” If I were to ask them how they would ultimately determine if the project was successful, they would most likely say, “If you placed the right person, it’s a success. If you didn’t, it’s not.” The expected outcome is straightforward and fairly predictable and in this instance, the project can be viewed more as paying for a product than a service. The client has a well-defined role to fill and the search firm produces a “body” to fill that role. Pretty simple, right? Not always. In today’s lean business environment, many clients either begin a search with more complex requirements or discover throughout the search process that what they really want and need is different than what they originall... ... middle of paper ... ...rying to deliver a product, when what the client needs is a service. When ordering merchandise the buyer may purchase it “as-is” or “built to spec”. Either way, all parties are clear on what they are building and receiving. In the search industry, when a role is clearly defined at the beginning and both parties can make a reasonable assumption that those parameters will not change, the search firm is really being engaged to deliver a product – a person that “fits the spec” developed by the client. In this instance, the traditional model of search can and does work well. These situations apply most often to lower level executive roles and/or roles requiring highly specialized domain expertise. Where things get tricky is when the client attempts to solve a complex business problem through talent acquisition. We’re talking about far more than filling a role.
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