There was a saying, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM,” that you might have applied to choosing a big brand search firm. You now realize that these search firms have no clue what you need. Worse, they don’t care.
Too many leaders choose a big brand search firm because of the false sense of security that this brings. The most important thing in choosing an executive search partner is the person who’s actually doing the work, not the brand of the company.
Is your business in high growth mode? Do you want to meet the best candidates? Do you want to meet them fast? Do you want the expert advice of someone who can close the deal? If you work with a big search firm, you’ll be disappointed. Big firms are used to working with companies growing at a slower rate than yours. Their sense of urgency is much more relaxed. Since they’re used to working with big companies, the importance of your search may not be as high as if you were a Fortune 500 company. They might take 9 months to conduct a search. An elite, special forces boutique firm can do it in a fraction of that time.
Remember, the best tech is not at IBM or any of the big tech firms. It’s usually at the smaller, ankle-biter firms that are completely disrupting and re-inventing the category. This is true of boutique executive search firms as well.
To achieve the greatest potential you have as a leader and to realize your entrepreneurial dreams, you’ll need to have the courage to step outside the box of big brand thinking. Rather than rely on flashy names and referrals from other people who have no idea what you need, apply your best critical thinking and executive decision making to choose the search partner that’s right for you.