Is It Time To Partner With a Security Recruiter For Your Hiring Needs? Know these 5 Signs.

Many of the security executives, business owners and HR professionals who contact me about partnering with them to conduct a search assignment for the first time do so with some level of trepidation. Many of their questions in our initial consultation center on whether or not this is the right time to engage an Executive Search Firm and whether or not they are making a good business decision for their organization?  So, below I have compiled five of the most common factors to help you determine if a security search consultant is your best next step.  If any or all of the reasons outlined do exist, it may be more cost effective to partner with an executive recruiter for your security management needs.  With today’s business climate becoming ultra-competitive and security needs increasing, finding the very best people for your team will be essential to the long-term stability, growth and security of your organization.

Here are the five most common factors to consider:

1. Your Current Methods Are Not Attracting the Level of Talent You Need

Current recruiting techniques such as job postings on a site like LinkedIn, a social media outlet such as Twitter, a more established job board like Monster or even your own company website, or referrals from colleagues, friends, etc. can be effective, but you need to make an accurate assessment of whether they are delivering you the proper level of candidates you must have for your security staffing needs.  In most instances the “A” players you would like to hire will not respond to these methods because they aren’t actively seeking a new career opportunity; recruiters call them passive candidates.  They are a hidden pool of potential talent that you will not be able to select from if no one is actively soliciting them on your behalf. In addition, some in house recruiters or HR staffs are not trained to or not permitted to proactively source for talent but only screen incoming resumes received. Don’t be lulled into thinking that having a large pool of candidates to select from based upon traditional recruiting methods and sources means that you have the best pool of talent to select from.  If you have plenty of candidates to choose from but they lack the skills, experience and talent you seek, it is time to contact your security recruiter.

 2. The Position Has Been Vacant For More Than 90 Days

If the job has been vacant for more than 90 days and you aren’t in the final stages of the interview process with at least three strong potential candidates, it is time to change tactics.  Remember what’s at stake here. Each interaction your company has is a reflection of your employment brand and if a position is vacant for a long period of time, you may not be aware of the message you are sending to your audience.  If the same position at your firm keeps reappearing over a longer period of time, you may be creating doubt and concerns with customers, industry competitors and potential employees:  “What’s going on ABC Company?  How come they can’t seem to fill that open security management job?  Maybe they are struggling as a company? Maybe they aren’t really looking to fill it?”  Your employer brand could be at risk.  Allowing doubt about your company is not something you want to creep into the mind of customers and employees.  An Executive Search Consultant can work with your hiring team to assess whether the issue centers on your current methods, expectations, interview process or a combination of each one.

3. Candidates for the Role You Need to Fill Are in High Demand

Companies security needs are more demanding than ever and they are seeking talent who possess the proper experience, skill sets and right attitude and oh by the way – it doesn’t hurt to be in the loop on the latest technologies and trends in the industry today.  The higher the level of experience and security knowledge required for the job, the smaller the pool of talent to choose from.  Searches for high demand candidates are very time intensive and conducting such a search is a large commitment that may require the expertise of an executive search firm.  While you may have a dedicated and talented internal recruiting team, a difficult search such as this may require a higher level of attention and security industry recruiting expertise than your hard working staff is capable of providing given their other daily duties.  Another important consideration is the possible risk of alienating a very desirable candidate should they be engaged by a less experienced internal recruiter who does not possess the overall knowledge of the security industry and the area of security expertise for the particular position.

If you lack an in-house recruiting staff, it will mean…

4. The Search is Draining Time and Resources of Your Security Management Team While They Are Diverted from Their Daily Duties to assist with the Search Process

While you certainly would want your most senior security executives’ input and opinion on what type of talent is needed for a vacant security operations role, having the CSO responsible for developing a candidate pool and handling all aspects of the search process will take them away from their day to day duties.  This is particularly true in smaller organizations without internal recruiting resources; however, it can also be true for firms that do.  While the senior level security manager will likely be quite adept at identifying the right talent for the team, finding that talent is an altogether different proposition, especially if you are relying on traditional recruitment methods like we spoke of earlier. Also consider that by having an executive team member handling the entire search process without partnering with an executive recruiter specializing in corporate security recruiting, you are putting your entire organization at a heightened level of risk. You have now crossed the line from “saving” money by not hiring an outside consultant.  You have now, at the very least, used up the time and focus of your Chief Security Officer by having them devote valuable time and attention to an area outside of their expertise.

5. The Search is, or should be, Confidential

When you post a highly visible and key senior level security position to the public, you post it to the world; this includes your chief industry competitors as well as criminals.  This signal alerts your competitors and criminal elements that you have a gap in a critical management and leadership area that they can potentially exploit causing short and long-term harm. Also, if a senior level leader has left your organization or a non-productive performer needs to be replaced, a poor job of handling the timing of (or lack of) the announcement to the internal staff could create additional internal turnover.  Therefore it may be best to engage an Executive Search firm to conduct your high level search confidentially.

Red Adair knew what he was talking about when he said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, try hiring an amateur.” Now more than ever, talent is what sets great companies apart from average companies.  In today’s competitive business environment, it is difficult to survive with anything but the best talent at all levels of the organization.  While many methodologies can be utilized to identify and attract talented  security professionals, if you are seeking top-tier talent, not just the best talent available, engaging an Executive Recruiting firm may be one of the most valuable partnerships your firm can invest in.

David Lammert

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