You might be thinking that partnering with several firms at once for your most pressing leadership opening will result in you being presented with a greater amount of top talent. Surely, having more hands working on your opening would yield better results more quickly, right? 

On the contrary, utilizing multiple firms reduces the partnership to purely transactional, while diminishing the process of finding the right leader. To truly make the most out of your investment in recruiting services for your high-stakes leadership opening, focus your energy and resources on one partner.

Tapping into the Passive Job Seeker Market

Exclusive partnerships better reach the passive job seeker marketplace, while the majority of contingency searches rely heavily on the active market, which only makes up around 30 percent of job seekers.  

Exclusive, retained searches present recruitment firms with the opportunity to take a carefully planned approach with their proven framework to reach a passive talent pool. Bringing awareness to a long list of qualified talent, generating interest, and understanding career interests allow firms to spend more time with the most qualified and interested talent. They can also thoughtfully share their client’s story, position objectives, and vision to best evaluate matches for all parties.  

Speed vs. Quality

When you work with multiple firms, speed becomes the goal and often trumps quality. I have seen throughout my experience that the motivation to satisfy clients’ business needs drastically decreases if we know the client has other companies working in the same position. Some could think the competition would increase motivation, but for most, it is the opposite. When working primarily off of speed, it is easy to ignore the most important aspects, such as candidate engagement, candidate experience, clarity of opportunity for all parties, etc.

There are times and situations when using more than one recruitment firm can make sense. However, it is highly dependent on position, skillset, and supply/demand. Companies that need to fill entry to mid-level roles can benefit from the contingent model because, in most cases, organizations need to see as many candidates as possible in order to find the best one. Exclusive partnerships provide more value when you are filling critical leadership and senior-level roles because this process requires more time and up-front investment. These partnerships allow firms to fully comprehend business objectives and vision, which increases the ability to attract the right person, ensuring longer-term success.

Spotlight on Life Sciences

For an example of where exclusive partnerships are key, look no further than the Life Sciences industry. With the continuous change driving demand for specific skill sets ranging from leadership in regulatory affairs, data analytics, and general operations, there becomes more of a pressing need to invest in a specialized firm to find the right talent.

In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the skills gap currently affecting the Life Sciences industry. Leaders who were seen as lacking the skill and ability to adapt and execute quickly found themselves out of a job. This led to numerous replacement openings for senior roles, including C-suite and board-level positions. 

To compound these talent shortages, scientific organizations are seeing an influx in investment. This has led to an increase in start-ups and new players in the scene, most of which are hungry to hire leaders who can drive change and growth quickly. On the flip side, job seekers are also monitoring this investment in the space and, in turn, are demanding higher compensation. 

Making the Case for Exclusive Recruitment Partnerships

The current hiring landscape for Life Science leadership roles is just one of many examples that drives this lesson home; exclusive partnerships trade quantity for quality. By having a deeper understanding of organizational vision and access to a wide pool of passive job seekers, these partnerships can provide an edge in even the most competitive environments. For most leadership positions, exclusive recruitment partnerships offer a more rigorous method that is optimal when your opening is critical and has a higher degree of complexity. 

In other words, when it comes to that pressing leadership opening, less truly is more! 

Ginna leads Medix Life Sciences‘ Executive Search efforts. Through her 10 years of experience, she is a passionate advocate of the importance of soft skills in hiring, especially in leadership roles. To get in touch, you may reach her at