Recruiters – a Necessary Evil for CFOs?

Say the word “recruiter” to a CFO and you just don’t know what response you might get … but it’s almost always emotive. There is a real love/hate relationship and most of it depends on their most recent experience.

As part of a job search strategy – passive or proactive – CFOs almost always believe recruiters are a necessary component of their strategy. And there is much angst when recruiters don’t deliver … for whatever reason and despite how hard I work to manage their recruiter expectations.

But flip the tables and put the CFO in the hiring seat, and you get a much different response. Here’s the poll, results, and my analysis from the December 7 edition of the SmartBrief for CFOs.

Does your company use third party recruiters to recruit executive candidates?

Yes, and they are worth every penny to get top talent – 21%
Yes, but I’m not sure there is a worthwhile ROI – 45%
No, but I wish we did – 11%
No, and we do just fine recruiting top talent without them – 23%

The results of this poll were both interesting and surprising. Most of my CFO clients believe recruiters are a necessary strategy in their overall job search plan. But, asked differently – as an employer – only 21% of you use them and believe they deliver value. While 45% of you use them, but don’t always see the benefit of using them, another 23% say they hire effectively without using recruiters. Only 11% indicate they don’t use recruiters but wish they could.

Those are some pretty stunning statistics. Are recruiters … a necessary evil?

CFO Search Expert Samuel Dergel had this to say on the topic today in his blog post. What are your thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Recruiters – a Necessary Evil for CFOs?”

  1. Cindy,

    Great insight and blog, and you are spot on. I’ve received very similar feedback from C-Level executives and this sentiment follows closely the debate about internal vs. external recruiting resources and which work best. To answer your question about necessity and are they evil the answer will always be “It depends”. It depends on whom you partner with, and you hit the nail on the head when you said the answer is mostly influenced by recent experience.

    Interestingly, those with talented internal rescources for recruiting only go outside the firm for the most senior roles, or when they’re overwhelmed, but others rely exclusively on outside recruiters due to the obvious benefits including speed, 3rd party objective viewpoint, fresh approach to talent acquisition, etc. although not all recruiting firms bring all of these benefits.

    WOW! 66% use recruiters, but only 21% believe they deliver value. This is a telling statistic regarding the industry. Thanks for the research.


    • You’re welcome, Rick. I was pretty shocked at the results, too. As I frequently tell my CFOs … information is knowledge and knowledge is power. If you don’t know, you can’t change -or- at least you don’t know how to change.

      I appreciate you reading the post and leaving a comment, Rick!


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