After twenty years of working as a search and selection consultant and after numerous conversations with clients, its reassuring to hear the majority of clients still value working with a headhunter.  

The market is changing, many have said that they would expect their internal recruitment teams to fulfil basic commoditised vacancies, they would not expect the more complicated or strategic roles to be filled from within. However! Many of the internal recruitment teams do not have the breath of an outside network or the independence of decision making to tap the hidden talent which rarely looks for new roles.

As an example, in a meeting with a software company selling into the Telco space a CEO was looking to hire a senior sales director.  After many months of having tried to resource the role through their inter recruitment team, the CEO was left with one candidate the board wanted to progress, the sales director being a “reasonable and acceptable” fit.  He questioned whether this is sensible for the business even though the board were desperate to bring a sales director on board as soon as possible

Xhen were called in by the CEO as a sounding board for his doubts. Xhen decided to bench-mark the candidate against the market, thus leading to a more rounded decision.


 – Discussed the core skills and cultural fit needed.  We revisited the full initial briefing, this reinforced what the CEO was looking for

 – Agreed the industries this person would likely come from and drew up a target list of businesses to approach

 – Approached individuals from the agreed list with a shortened “pitch” on the company and role.  During these calls I was able to gain intelligence into their roles, level and width of responsibility and salary expectations

 – In the form of a report and face-to-face meeting Xhen was able to feedback to the CEO

In this instance, through performing the exercise, the CEO determined that a “reasonable and acceptable” fit was not acceptable and he asked Xhen to carry out a full search 

We have all seen the impact (cost, loss of traction, demoralization of existing team) of an inadequate hire, the benchmarking exercise highlighted the need to make sure it was the correct hire and just the adequate hire  

One thought on “Benchmarking 

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