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What the future of executive recruitment looks like

By Richard Triggs | |6 minute read

As an executive recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I am regularly asked by both jobseekers and employers what substantive changes or trends are affecting the recruitment industry.

The reality is that technology and human behaviour (in relation to finding jobs) have significantly changed, yet in many respects, both in-house and third-party recruiters continue to operate using antiquated models that are not effective any more.

Traditional recruitment


In the pre-LinkedIn world, employers would rely on third-party recruiters for the bulk of their hiring needs.

As an example, a mining company requires a new chief financial officer, so they go to a recruiter who specialises in these roles. That recruiter has, over time, built a database of candidates with these skill sets and experience, which the employer requires. Recruiters were able to charge substantial fees for access to their talent pools.

The rise of LinkedIn Recruiter

With the introduction of LinkedIn, millions of professionals created profiles in order to connect with former and current colleagues and business associates. It wasn’t long before LinkedIn realised they had created a goldmine for recruiters, so they, in turn, created LinkedIn Recruiter licences. This product allows recruiters to use sophisticated search tools to mine LinkedIn for candidate profiles.

Larger employers were quick to start to build internal recruitment teams, believing that by arming them with LinkedIn Recruiter licences, they could dramatically reduce their recruitment spend.

Why pay a third-party recruiter $60,000-plus per placement when they could hire their own recruiter for not much more per annum, who, using LinkedIn, could potentially recruit dozens of employees per year? Using the example above, if virtually every CFO in the mining industry has a LinkedIn profile, why do employers need the third-party recruiter’s database anymore?

The pitfalls of internal recruitment

Unfortunately, for a lot of employers, building out an internal recruitment team has not resulted in the fantastic outcomes they were anticipating.

I would say that the vast majority of business owners and senior hiring managers I speak to are consistently underwhelmed with the quality and quantity of candidates they are presented with by their internal recruitment teams. As a result, they still need to rely on third-party recruiters for many of their vacancies and continue to pay high fees. This is unsurprising for a few key reasons.

Most internal recruiters are failed external recruiters who go in-house to escape the pressures of working for a consultancy.

They bring with them their bad habits, including not putting their name and phone number on job advertisements (so candidates are unable to call and ask questions to decide if they want to apply), not acknowledging applications (so candidates don’t know the status of their application), not processing applications fast enough (so good candidates find another job in the meantime) and just generally regarding candidates as a commodity and treating them extremely poorly.

I am sure every job applicant reading this article will have had this experience.

Don’t get me wrong; many third-party recruiters deliver an equally underwhelming candidate experience. It’s just that these third-party recruiters won’t survive long in a competitive industry, so most who wish to remain in recruitment will probably end up in-house.

So what does the future look like?

Job applicants are human beings with emotions and aspirations. They expect and deserve to be treated with respect and to have human interactions prior to and during their application process.

Organisations that truly wish to be regarded as “employers of choice” must radically assess and redress their recruitment processes. The reliance on current technologies like LinkedIn and new technologies like ChatGPT and artificial intelligence, while useful, will never replace a human’s desire for connection and emotional engagement.

Organisations that focus on building their employment brands, and the personal brands of their hiring managers, are able to attract top talent from their competitors. Organisations that are looking at ways to provide greater value to their employees through flexible working arrangements, professional development, healthcare and other benefits also have a competitive advantage when recruiting.

Likewise, third-party recruiters need to critically examine their value proposition and look for ways to partner with internal recruitment rather than compete with them.

New hybrid models are emerging, which play to the strengths of both third-party and internal recruitment teams, allowing for great candidate experiences while also substantially reducing costs.

While the traditional recruitment industry may be dead, the requirement for excellent recruitment practices is even more critical in this new employment environment. For employers to win “the war for talent”, it’s time to make the necessary changes to attract and retain excellent employees.

By Richard Triggs, author of “Uncover the Hidden Job Market – How to Find and Win Your Next Senior Executive Role”. He also hosts the Arete Podcast and is a highly sought-after keynote speaker.



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.