Confidential Staff Replacements

Michael Gallagher May 6, 2019

Confidential staff replacements are a fact of life for corporate human resource departments. We’ve observed some common themes in the approach our clients take in this situation.

When an organization realizes that an incumbent manager cannot sustain his or her responsibilities, a replacement plan is needed.

In most cases, the individuals are to some extent aware of their situation. They’ve had a conversation about the need to move on or improve, or they feel pushback related to shortfalls on goals. In other cases, it becomes known that a key manager is dissatisfied, is actively exploring exit opportunities, and has a high probability of leaving.

A vacant executive office can be disruptive to critical plans and projects, while confusing customers, business partners, and remaining staff. Increasingly, clients are being proactive about scoping out a replacement in order to minimize this disruption.

Confidentiality is key to replacement searches in this situation. Many companies have internal sourcing teams, but these folks are not well positioned for a confidential task since a widening circle of internal staff inevitably shares information with others. Many operate by pinging incumbents via emails or Linkedin, immediately identifying the organization and likely the position as well. Similar to advertising, this is hardly a recipe for confidentiality and not likely to recruit the non-looking, high-performance replacement.

To avoid these pitfalls, organizations can turn to contingency or retained search firms for a solution. While these firms are under extreme pricing pressure due to newer recruiting modalities (like ours!), they will still expect a fee of 25% to 30% of salary. They can produce a candidate, or two, or three, but you will never have a clear insight into the total market map of qualified talent available for your position. Many times, you will not even know who was approached and what the outcome was.

That’s why our clients use us to solve this problem. My firm provides value-added recruiting support services for an hourly fee, and this is our 25th year of doing so, across multiple vertical markets. We combine old school recruiting methods including telephone outreach, peer referrals, and persistence beyond the ping. Our reports are comprehensive and provide a complete market map of available talent. Since we bill for our hourly efforts, there is never a fee for hire, even if you make multiple hires… and even if you use our reports to make those hires months after the project ends. Work can be stopped, put on hold, or redirected as needed. The need to spend $25,000 to $90,000 on a confidential replacement search has passed.

There are some key benefits to our confidential replacement services:

  • Candidates identified prior to termination or resignation
  • Search strategy and search plan prepared for executive review
  • Market coverage can be as thorough as you wish
  • Restricted disclosure of your company identity
  • Non-disclosure consent from escalated prospects
  • Reported outcome of every contact made during your search
  • Activity is shielded from internal sourcing teams if necessary
  • We recruit with skill and add value to your process with an emphasis on telephone contact
  • Flexible to your needs: talent maps, profiled Q&I incumbents ready to talk, or full cycle
  • Spend will be about one-quarter of a full-fee search, much less as comp increases

For information on the vertical markets we serve, our website is available here. Reach out directly if you’d like to discuss a possible solution to a recruiting need.


For more information contact:
Michael Gallagher
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