This post was written by our Client Services Director Jason Oakley

Given my background in the executive resourcing arena for almost 20 years, I’m happy to hold my hands up and say it’s afforded me a pretty decent living and I’ve had the pleasure of working for some very successful businesses in the world of headhunting.

I appreciate this article is likely to ruffle a few feathers but I’ve not set out to deliberately antagonise an industry that’s arguably had the majority of my best professional years. However, times change and customer needs alter in response to market conditions, new technology emerges and peoples attitudes change. What was once viewed as the norm and felt right might now be considered outdated or inappropriate. What was once deemed acceptable might now not be and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” may be outdated and no longer as relevant.

I believe that constantly challenging conventional thinking and re-evaluating how we engage in everyday commercial activity is a good thing.……..after all, isn’t that how progress is made?

I only joined AnyGood? recently and have known one of the co-founders for some years (who incidentally has never worked within the resourcing industry). The result of numerous conversations with both co-founders has driven this article, more specifically on the back of a repeated question;

“Why are Executive Search fees so high?”

For two people that have never worked in this field it’s a fair question and my initial response was to talk them through what an executive search process might consist of:

  • The initial pitch to the client
  • Drawing up a target list of (donor) companies
  • Populating that list with the individual names of target individuals (candidate id)
  • Initial approaches then being made by the researcher(s)
  • Gathering and collating CV’s
  • Conducting face to face interviews with longlisted candidates
  • Compiling and presenting the shortlist report
  • Setting up interviews with the client
  • Brokering feedback between the two parties
  • Managing salary and package negotiations
  • Supporting the successful candidate through the resignation process
  • Maintaining contact through the loyalty vacuum (time between resignation and start date)

What my colleagues hadn’t also taken into account is the number of mouths that need feeding along the way…….from the receptionist who fields calls and manages the meeting rooms; the Executive Assistant who supports the consulting team; the ‘Partner’ or ‘Delivery Consultant’ who manages the progress of the search; the researcher(s) who does all the hard yards at the front end; not forgetting of course the finance, marketing, HR and IT teams that keep the business running and finally the costs of the office.

Believe me, I know what it takes to deliver a great search assignment, it’s bloody hard work managing all the moving components and it’s a lengthy process.

Our discussions evolved to focus on the number of people involved and the amount of time needed to move through such an arduous process. Inevitably we arrived at two further questions;

Does this model actually represent value for money?

Is this an efficient way to access the talent needed?

Search fees typically range somewhere between 25% and 35% of salary (and often against guaranteed first year income to include car allowances and bonuses).

Some firms opt to work on a minimum or fixed fee basis, £50,000, £70,000 or higher in some cases regardless of salary and package value. Indeed, expenses allocated to a search mandate may be an additional % of the fee at 5%, 7% or maybe as high as 10%.

Recognising the increased use of technology to speed up manual processes, coupled with our appetite for more instant gratification, there must be a way to improve on an ancient process that can take up to 12 weeks or longer. Surely there’s a more efficient alternative that meets the demand for faster delivery while still reaching the talent pools needed and represents value for money.

Now I appreciate the old adage, ‘no-one ever got fired for hiring IBM’. I also recognise for some boards this offers a level of comfort when you have shareholders to answer to. But really, is spending such large sums warranted when a credible alternative exists, an alternative that slashes delivery timescales and charges a fraction of more typical fees?

Your answer might be possibly, maybe or maybe not depending on what your experiences are of working with traditional firms and how successful a resulting hire has been. It’s not unheard of for a business to have paid 2/3rds of the fee along the way and still be left with an unfilled role at the end of it.

What’s been fantastic to hear in recent weeks is the reaction I’ve had when explaining the AnyGood? proposition to prospective clients. More specifically, the reaction to our fee, the low risk to the client and ease of using the platform.

Allow me to explain;

  • Accessing and using the AnyGood? platform to post a role is free.
  • Receiving CV’s directly of personally recommended candidates is free.
  • Meeting and interviewing shortlisted candidates is free.

Our fee structure couldn’t be any simpler or more transparent, just a one-off introduction fee of £6,500 when you find the person you’re looking for……that’s it.

It makes no difference if you hire at an £80k salary or a £200k salary. It makes no difference if you engage an interim manager or contractor on £500 per day or £2,000 per day. It doesn’t matter to us if you convert an interim manager to permanent, extend their assignment or invite them back for another project months later, there is no further fee.

Put simply, our fee is fixed no matter what and we don’t believe in candidate ownership.

We are AnyGood? and we’re happy to be put to the test. It costs nothing for you to share a role on our platform so why not compare our delivery times and quality of candidate against other avenues of sourcing talent.

Sound interesting enough to explore ?… can reach me at