The Benefits of Exclusivity


As a headhunter I come up against the issue of exclusivity regularly. Particularly with clients who are new to working with executive search companies.

A scenario I come up against more times than I care to remember is when a client has a search out for a key position within their company and to ensure they cover the marketplace thoroughly they have put it out to a number of companies. Now they are struggling to get the calibre of candidates they want and require some assistance.

Appointing multiple recruiters for the same job order can at best complicate things and at worst damage a client’s reputation. The benefits of sticking to one headhunter or recruiter are numerous and well documented but here are the top ten that I believe you would be wise to remember.

  1. Healthy competition between recruiters might seem like the best way to fill that important vacancy, but hold fire. In reality, once each recruiter realises that the client is not completely committed to working in partnership, any initial enthusiasm could wane. Clients who work exclusively will tend to get the full attention of their recruitment partner. Commitment is a two-way street.
  2. Exclusivity means that the recruiter has total ownership of the search and will throw all their resources into completing the challenge. The client can go on with their business knowing that the recruitment process is in the hands of an expert who is expected to deliver the goods.
  3. Spreading the job across a few recruiters might seem the best way to get the problem solved quickly. Efficiency should not be confused with speed. If a recruiter is working in competition with others, there is a tendency to rush to the finish line. Rushing means important steps will be missed, candidates will be missed and opportunities will be missed.
  4. Sharing the job across multiple recruiters could also result in job orders being taken hastily. In a rush to beat competition to the post, important requirements could be missed off. You wouldn’t choose a heart surgeon based on how quickly he or she could do the job, would you? Or how quickly he or she assessed your condition? Of course not.
  5. By working exclusively, you ensure enough time and space to do a thorough job. An exclusive recruiter has time to dedicate everything they have to the talent search. Rather than hurriedly trying to come up with the goods to beat the competition, they can undertake a detailed search across all networks. A full and comprehensive search means you will get the best, not the best the recruiter can find in the short time they have to win the race.
  6. An exclusive recruiter has time to stake out passive talent; those candidates sitting happily in jobs who don’t know that they are ready for a new role. This delicate process cannot be rushed, and is unlikely to happen if a recruiter is rushing to beat its competitors to deliver a suitable candidate.
  7. Screening candidates and thorough interviews result in a better outcome for everyone. In addition to skills, suitability and attitude, details such as start date, salary and other expectations all need to be discussed and explored to avoid client frustration or, worse still, last minute disappointment from a counter offer or candidates pulling out. Again it comes back to time and handling the candidate appropriately, this cannot be rushed.
  8. Multiple meetings briefing different agencies are a waste of valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. One recruiter, one briefing and one agreement mean one less thing to worry about.
  9. Dealing with one recruiter also preserves a client’s confidentiality. If several recruiters get hold of a client’s vacant role, then multiple conversations are occurring across the industry with many different candidates. Having multiple recruiters on the case it is more difficult to send out a clear, accurate message to the market and the client’s reputation could be compromised. Your appointed recruitment partner should represent your company exactly as you would, they need to be an ambassador for your brand.
  10. A job could be devalued in the eyes of candidates if more than one recruiter is touting it. Choosing an exclusive recruiter shows a commitment to finding the right person for the role, not just a person. Exclusivity also prevents the same talent being presented to the same client by multiple recruiters. Nobody welcomes that scenario, it gets messy and the candidate can often feel pressure and at worse may remove them from the process altogether.

Having read this you will hopefully see the benefits of working exclusively. I would also suggest getting timeframes agreed from the outset of when you can expect a shortlist plus a weekly report so that you can see how the search is progressing. This will give you piece of mind to get on with everything else that you need to do in your day.

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