Now is the time to review how you find your most valuable resource

By deploying the right strategy, and focusing on finding the best and not the best available immediately, you will hire better, bigger, and your firm will become a company of giants.
If each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.
David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising

I’ve been working in recruitment and executive search for nearly 25 years. My colleagues at Fram and I have great coverage across mid-to-senior roles across a range of key functions including finance, operations, compliance, sales, marketing, and front office. I feel now is a good time for firms to recruit a bit differently.

Each time we hire is a chance to grow, to renew, and to learn something new. The right to choose one’s colleagues, and to assemble a team in your vision, is a huge privilege and an equally large responsibility. Generally speaking, financial services is an industry of few differentiators, you certainly can’t open a briefcase and let the client touch a product. You can show them charts, and presentations, but hold the product? No. Yet, choosing someone to manage your money, or that of scheme members, or simply choosing someone to keep your money safe, is one of life’s big decisions.

The quality of your team will define the success of your business and its lifespan. With S&P companies disappearing in less than 18 years, the figures for smaller firms are likely to be more startling.

Why recruitment costs should be safeguarded

It’s often been true that the only differentiator a firm has is its people. Their network, their work ethic, their ethics, and their intellect. These often separate the good from average, the great from good. Yet, so many hiring processes feel so wrong. They’re rushed, there’s a focus on driving down the cost of supply of great people, there’s little understanding of the options available to you. The agency, the headhunter, the in-house talent team, or the RPO – they really matter. However, unless you’ve worked in the industry, it’s hard to know who to choose.  I’d argue, now is the time, whilst it’s a bit quieter for some firms, to re-think how you find your most valuable resource; your people.

My experience is that if you’re cash rich coming into a downturn, if you’re able to carry on investing through a quiet period, you’ll emerge far stronger than your competition. Don’t cut cost and accept poor quality CVs. You need to take your time and gain insight into your competitive market, and if it costs a bit more to secure better people, then so be it. A bad hire can cost 3x the appointees hire (source: Recruitment & Employment Confederation), but a mediocre hire? Someone who does just enough not to lose their job? Well, they can hold you back for years. They are the proverbial anchor dragging on a speedboat.

The Executive Search solution

Executive Search has origins in management consulting. Its Consultants are often better networked, more experienced, and process driven. Yet, the aim of an executive search consultant is to sell a retained solution for every client problem. Their bonus and business model relies on an upfront fee. Actually, for good client outcomes, I think it’s quite often a very good quality solution, but not always appropriate. Research isn’t always required, a deep dive into the market sometimes not necessary. The real value, though, is in giving the Consultant time to properly screen people for you; to allow them to be creative in coming up the best shortlist possible; to perhaps think of new people solutions to the problems you’re facing. However, many search firms only accept roles over £150K and so what about those key middle managers in infrastructure roles? What about front line sales professionals?

The Contingent solution

For many, this means delving into the agency world. Whilst not all the same, many agencies KPI driven. Consultants expected to send a certain number of CVs to clients (even if they are unsure of the quality of candidate), within a certain timeframe, to “sell” candidates to clients to get a certain number of interviews. Staff turnover can be high and clients are passed from new consultant to another, who often don’t understand the terminology of the industry they’re hiring for. A KPI driven culture is often why many experienced recruiters like to set-up for themselves or to join a boutique, such as Fram Search. They want to be more consultative; they want more flexibility on their charging model, they don’t want to simply send the four CVs they have today – they want to send the best four they can find.  This is why Fram often charges contingently, on a retained basis, or simply ask for exclusivity.

Why exclusive agreements are the best solution

For the vast majority of roles, working with a Consultant exclusively will get you a better outcome. The charging model is almost irrelevant, unless you’re asking the consultant to dedicate almost all their time to your assignment. Exclusivity will allow the consultant time to use their network, market knowledge, mapping, and screening skills to the max. They will be able to reach further into talent pools, and to specifically screen someone on your behalf. They will generally find you the best in the market, and not simply those on the market.

By deploying the right strategy, and focusing on finding the best and not the best available immediately, you will hire better, bigger, and your firm will become a company of giants.

Simon Roderick - Fram Search

Simon Roderick

Managing Director
[email protected]
01525 864 372

Fram’s Executive Search practice is led by Simon Roderick. Simon graduated in Law from Queen Mary, University of London, and has twenty years’ financial services executive search & senior appointments experience. He works with clients in the fields of Asset Management, Hedge Funds, Family Offices, Private Equity, and Private Wealth Management. Fram's specialist consultants are supported by a team of functional experts and researchers where required.

About Fram Search

Established in 2010, Fram Search is a specialist financial services recruitment consultancy. We focus on mid-to-senior hires in the UK and internationally.

We provide high quality contingent and retained recruitment services to boutiques and global brands. We have long established relationships, outstanding market knowledge, and access to deep talent pools. Fram takes a highly consultative approach, combining outstanding tech with a human approach. We are proud that our contingent fill rate is nearly three times the industry average and we augment our retained search methodology with rigorous psychometric testing. We take ESG seriously, we are champions of diversity and all staff have undertaken unconscious bias training. We also carbon offset.

Please contact us on 01525 864 372 / [email protected] to learn more.