So you have decided to engage with an external recruitment partner to help you appoint a critical senior leadership role but there are so many recruitment firms to choose from, so where do you start?

I once heard that there are as many recruitment companies in the UK as there are restaurants! At that time there were over 90,000.

If you haven't already got a trusted partner that delivers success for you, the recruitment industry can seem like a very daunting industry to approach to find a firm who will deliver.

Your first consideration needs to be what service you need to recruit the vacancy you have. Do you think you can find your sought candidate through recruitment advertising, on a database or are you willing to compromise on candidate quality and fill your vacancy as quickly as you possibly can? If you are answering yes to these questions then I would recommend that you connect with a contingency recruitment consultancy. 

If this role is very confidential, critical or you need to recruit a very specific experience or set of skills then I would recommend finding a retained executive search firm to deliver success for you.

Retaining an executive search firm is very different to briefing a contingency recruiter and you need to think differently about how to get success from your partnership.

I believe there are 2 key considerations for you to make;

1. Patience

Partnering with an executive search consultancy should be viewed as a key investment and not a quick win. These firms will have developed a robust process that delivers success for their clients and they will not entertain cutting corners to achieve a quick appointment. This should not be viewed as a transactional relationship and instead, put your trust in their process and enjoy the very structured mile-stone approach to delivering value and success for you. They will be ensuring that they find THE best candidate for your role and not just the best one that happens to be available and looking for a new role.

2. Foresight

Don't rush into filling your vacancy. You are investing in an asset for your business and so please consider exactly what you need for now and the future in the same way you would when purchasing a new £1 million robot for your manufacturing line. 

The time you invest up front will pay dividends and ensure that you make the right appointment first time around.

Here is a free guide to help you prepare to brief your executive search partner: http://www.collingwoodsearch.co.uk/our-insights/downloads/guide-how-to-brief-an-executive-search-partner