“Pennywise and pound foolish.” It’s a cliché for a reason.

At one point or another, we’ve all been so focused on securing short-term savings that we lost sight of the big picture– and our “low-budget” solution ended up costing us a lot more than we bargained for.

Recruiting is the perfect example. In an ideal world, a company would post a job opening on LinkedIn, get a few highly qualified inquiries, interview the best and extend an offer– all with minimal upfront resource investment. Five years ago, this strategy might have worked. Unemployment rates were higher and candidates faced stiff competition for open positions. This is no longer the case. Nationwide unemployment rates just hit a 16-year low as the jobless rate dropped to 4.3 percent in May.

Companies seeking top talent in a competitive marketplace need to tap into a network of passive job seekers. This is where a seasoned recruiter like myself can help. I identify the right talent within the passive candidate network. I understand what drives the candidate and I educate them about this new professional opportunity. I gain invaluable insight into what the candidate is thinking, minimizing the risk for counter-offers.

The Truth About Candidate Search Fees: Why the Investment Pays Off

I get it: paying a retainer for executive search can seem risky if you’ve never worked with a professional industry recruiter. But trying to cut corners can end up costing a lot more and never yield a suitable candidate.

Recently, a company approached me for help with a high-level candidate search. The company was reluctant to pay an upfront engagement fee for the job search, however, so they moved forward with two other agencies that offered a alternative fee structure. Unfortunately for the company, neither contingency agency had much experience in the hospitality industry. These agencies ultimately presented the company with 19 resumes, a sign that the agencies were failing to sufficiently winnow down the candidate pool to only those who would be the best fit.

In executive search, specialized recruiters typically present no more than four or five candidates that have already been extensively vetted. In this case, the company had to take on the time consuming and resource-intensive task of vetting these 19 candidates on their own.

After several interviews, the company flew their preferred candidate out for a final round. During the final interview, the hiring manager learned this candidate was very reluctant to relocate – a deal breaker for the company and the candidate. I wasn’t surprised: I personally know that candidate from years of working in the same industry. While the candidate would have made a great hire, I also knew this candidate would not uproot his family and thus I would never have included the candidate in the original resume pool. But since both agencies poorly vetted the candidate, neither agency was aware of this reality.

Several months and a great deal of wasted time, energy and money later, the hiring manager was no closer to extending an offer than when he had initially contacted me.

Could this situation have been avoided? Absolutely. This is a classic example of when working with a specialized recruiter is the right choice. We do more than just identify top talent. We discuss any offer deal breakers (like relocation) and work behind the scenes to ensure the candidate receives an offer he or she is excited to accept.

Not every candidate search requires an industry recruiter. If you’re filling a high-level position or searching for a niche skill set, however, think strategically about potential recruiter partnerships. You don’t want to fall victim to pennywise and pound foolish thinking.


To learn more about how I can help your company source hard-to-find talent, contact me at jhawes@lucasgroup.com.