"Is Bigger Better?"
The big firms have carefully fostered the legend:
A big firm has more offices, more recruiters, more coverage.
A lot of clients have decided that this is an expensive myth.
With the exception of some international assignments, there is
little argument for all the multinational offices, and there
is very little synergy even among a big firm's national offices.
Factors which make the case for using a smaller search firm.
Modern information technology and the Internet now allows any
technically sophisticated search firm to retrieve data from public
and proprietary databases with the same, if not better, degree
of success as the big firms. Search firms hemmed in by large
inflexible systems have no advantage over the electronically
nimble, whose data often is better and more relevant.
Fostering relationships over an extended period of time with
a client is counter to the strategy of most large firms, where
the emphasis is on generating revenue. The best smaller search
firms can and do take the time to get to know the client company
thoroughly and develop a "vendor mentality" where customer service
is paramount. Smaller firms work with fewer clients and tend
to value those clients and the relationships which develop with
Quality of the professional staffs at smaller firms is comparable
to that found in the big firms. Many consultants in quality
smaller firms come from the large firms where they were often
the better performers. Most consultants have impressive credentials
and accomplishments regardless of firm size. The consultants
from smaller firms tend to be more entrepreneurial and better
able to react to a crisis in the search process, whereas the
average member of a big firm tends to be more process driven,
allowing the system to respond to search problems.
Blockage is a major problem clients face in dealing with a
big firm. When a client is looking for a senior, specialized
executive, the universe can become very narrow, very quickly.
If a search firm is blocked from accessing even a few targeted
executives because a company is a client of another of the firm's
recruiters, it cannot deliver the best executives to the client. "As
clients become more sophisticated about the search process, they
realize that it is not size but perseverance, intelligence, and
a sense of urgency that make the search process work. Most quality
search firms do basically the same thing. What really matters
is how the work and the firm are managed. Size is irrelevant.
- Excerpted from Executive Recruiters News