For highly specialized jobs in specific industries, using a recruiter that has deep knowledge, an extensive track record and numerous industry contacts is advisable. There are well over 12,000 recruiting firms in over 85 specialties in the United States alone. A recruiting firm that is already familiar with your industry or niche, can take less time to learn what they need to know about your needs and the position to be filled. Having the requisite experience should make filling the position faster and more efficient. There are also alternatives to the traditional recruitment firms that may be useful to consider.
The most trusted advisors to your firm may well serve others in your industry and be able to unearth candidates for you as well. Included in the types of outside firms you use are consulting firms, law firms, your accountants as well as vendors to your company that serve your industry. These outside firms may provide you with insights about top performers not available to the traditional search firm. Our own firm, CBA has been involved in several high level searches where we served as a preliminary screening agent.
Directors who serve with you on corporate boards can also be a resource as well as B School professors and other academics in engineering schools and the like. In all cases, hiring firms should be aggressive when trying to recruit highly specialized talent. But unlike traditional recruiting methods, confidentiality is probably going to be necessary for both you and your recruiting target. Utilizing a large brand name search firm is no guarantee that your search will not become common knowledge and of course using social media isn’t going to serve you well.