Diversify Your Executive Search



Diversity ImageDiversity in the Executive suite has become an important topic in workforce planning for Fortune 500 companies and more. But what are these firms really doing to achieve their diversity initiative goals? The Reuters National Survey revealed that “Diversity in the Work place is Critical in Attracting and Retaining Talent” and Forbes Survey noted that “Workplace Diversity Key to Innovation.” But unfortunately, I am not surprised to see more articles like Michael Soon Lee’s on why most companies are failing in their diversity initiatives.

The large Executive Search firms have their relationships which are heavily focused on placing men in these positions and why not as this is the typical prototype for an Executive position. But let’s dig further into the concept since it is the millennium and more and more women, minorities and veterans are overlooked by traditional recruiters and Executive Search firm consultants because they might not be the easy score in staffing these lucrative positions. Many of these hiring firms do not have the time or resources to thoroughly search the marketplace to find the diverse candidates. It truly takes a “niche boutique firm” who specializes in diversity recruiting to deliver top talents that are amazing additions to a company’s current team.

Human Resource leaders are beginning to see an increasing trend to diversify their company’s management and executive workforce. I am not sure how many of you remember the blunder that Mitt Romney made in his second debate speech when he told the audience that his answer to hiring “women” in his cabinet process was to go through a “binder of women.” In essence, he figured hey he did his best to find women for higher roles in his cabinet as he reviewed the binder he was given, but the binder came up short. So the question remains, how else was he supposed to located diverse talent?  How many Executive Search Firms are solely focused on seeing women, minorities and veterans placed in Executive positions in corporations, higher education, public sector and corporate boards around the globe — to be quite frank, very few! I was actually saddened to see that the number of women in executive positions in Fortune 500’s has over the last 3 years become a stagnant number according to today’s statistics. This number should be increasing but it is not.

Since most profitable and innovative companies are pushing for a more diverse workforce because it increases their ROI bottom line, why aren’t the numbers of women and minorities in executive and Board positions increasing? When does the diversity initiative lip-service turn into actual results? Hiring candidates that fit a diversity profile requires specialized recruiting experience. A recruitment firm needs to have experience in the intricacies and sensitivities required in diversity hiring. They must also do more than just utilize social media technology or general recruiting trends to locate talent. It is pivotal to understand the client’s expectation for the open role and their company culture for staffing the right culture fit for their organization.

Cross-matching executive talent from various industry verticals is also an option for locating diverse candidates that bring innovation. For example, very often our initial consultation with a client has revealed that their workforce planning directives demonstrate that their desire to find one talent would be better served in looking for that same role but from a completely different industry vertical. For example, a VP of Operations for a Manufacturing Corporation with successful experience in a SAP or Oracle software system implementation or upgrade could experience greater success as a VP of Operations in a finance corporation.  This type of cross matching happens all the time in the public sector where they will lure matching talent away from a private corporation to take advantage of their lean strategies for improvement. And your typical executive search firm is not going to go the extra mile to present a diverse palate of candidates for the position.  You also have to swim and play where these candidates exist to build trust and most recruiters don’t go the extra mile once the work clock is turned off. Not all recruiters are created alike, as it takes a dedicated talent acquisition professional looking for the diverse golden gems to bring together a unique talent with a great opportunity.

Click through to learn more about Prescott Solutions staffing services, including Executive and IT -specific resources. Or, if you’re a VP, Management or Public Sector candidate looking for your next project, check out our Careers page or send your resume directly to recruiting@prescottsolutions.com.

About the Author

avatar About Portia Prescott

Portia Prescott, CEO/President, is the force behind Prescott Solutions. A Brown University-educated executive and acknowledged leader in specialized staffing, Portia has recruited former C-level executives, change management leaders, federal government consultants, PR experts, engineering resources, Lean Six Sigma professionals, aerospace specialists, and supply chain professionals from major corporations.

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