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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Executive Search

May 2, 2024

Photo by NASA / Unsplash

When the time comes to add an executive to your leadership team, there are traditionally two paths CEOs can take: working with an executive search partner or finding someone on your own. While running the search yourself can feel like a safe, cheap alternative to the time and cost investment required to work with a search firm, there are critical downsides CEOs should consider before taking the leap into a do-it-yourself approach. 

Your network is smaller than you think. 

You’ve likely cultivated a lot of relationships and connections over the years. Maybe you feel like you know someone who knows someone who could get you a qualified candidate. But are you confident that’s the best option?

Executive search partners specialize in finding, evaluating, and attracting top-tier talent. While they have broad, diverse networks, they’re also experienced in uncovering candidates from outside their network who have the precise skills, experience, and cultural fit you’re looking for. They have a deep understanding of the market conditions and competitive dynamics impacting employees, and can tailor their outreach to effectively attract candidates who may not even be actively looking for new opportunities. 

Attempting to replicate this level of expertise and breadth of relationships can be a daunting task for a CEO. You’re making a big bet that someone already in (or tangential to) your network has the skills and experience you’re looking for, and that the timing is right on both sides to make the hire. 

It requires a significant time commitment. 

Running an executive search is a time-intensive endeavor that demands meticulous planning, execution, and follow-up. From nailing the job description to navigating making an offer, each step of the process requires significant time and attention to detail. 

The candidate experience is an important factor in attracting high-quality talent, and a good experience doesn’t happen by accident. Handing the search management process off to a trusted partner allows CEOs to focus on the core responsibilities and strategic priorities that are most important to the business, while still ensuring that nothing is being overlooked in the recruitment process. 

It’s hard to set your own bias aside.

Forward-thinking CEOs prioritize diversity within their business, especially within their executive leadership team. Even with the best intentions, though, it can be easy for unconscious bias to sneak into the hiring process. From the writing of the job description, to the initial screening process, to the makeup of the hiring committee, there is potential for bias to creep in and impact the outcome of the search. 

Working with an executive search firm brings an objective perspective to the table. A search partner can approach a search without internal biases or preconceptions, strategically guide the search process to mitigate potential bias, and advise the hiring team on best practices. This allows CEOs to find the best potential candidates—based on merits, qualifications, and culture fit— that they might have otherwise missed or eliminated too early. 

At Bolster, we’re reinventing executive search by combining the power of experienced recruiters with our intelligent sourcing platform. Built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, Bolster matches CEOs with transformational executives for full-time, fractional, and board roles—without the hassle of traditional talent sourcing. It’s smarter search done faster and with more confidence.

When you work with Bolster, our extraordinary team will work alongside you to make your search a success. We take the time to listen, understand, and respond to your needs, support you throughout your search, and offer our expertise as a resource. 

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with us? Let us know what you’re looking for.