10 REASONS TO kEEP your search
on THE DOWN-LOW
#1 You're Fired!
You need to fire your laggard General Manager, but you need a replacement ready to step in. What are you going to do, call HR and have them post the incumbent's job? Or for that matter, what if it's your inept HR leader who needs the boot? Who are you going to call?
Clearly, some replacement searches require stealth. First, you find a replacement. then you drop the axe.
A key player, perhaps an owner or founder, has decided to retire effective at a future date. A premature announcement might damage the company’s market position or even devalue the company. The individual may have even personally requested confidentially if they are leaving for reasons such as illness or family.
Years ago I did a search for a tech company whose owner found out that their guru was colluding with, and had signed-on with, their biggest
most hated rival. The VILLAIN was just waiting for his bonus before resigning. The owner was livid, and insisted on secretly finding someone better, and fast. I found her a guru-Rockstar,
whose hiring was announced
ten minutes after the traitor's
UN-BONUSED ass was fired.
This is true for any company that has downsized, and even more so post-pandemic shutdown. Tens of millions have been downsized, and some will be replaced with people with more upside and value (i.e. younger and cheaper).
So to avoid the deluge of unwanted applicants and awkward pleas from ex-employees, companies will opt to keep some openings
on the down-low.
#9 Plausible Deniability
Even if a company has the best talent acquisition team on the planet, do they really want their internal TA team to actively headhunt their competitor’s best people? Or might it be preferable to have a third-party handle the search? Plausible deniability is for when the CEO gets a call from their rival CEO asking if they really want to start a talent war.
#2 Competitive Advantage
Confidentiality is essential when companies need specific skills to develop new products, services and technologies, expand into new areas, navigate mergers /acquisitions, or anything they don’t want their competitors to find out. And to maintain competitive advantage, the circle of those in-the-know must be small and leak-proof.
#4 Dirty Laundry
I had a client who asked me to conduct a confidential search for a new CFO, because he thought his current CFO might be going to jail (he did, for reasons that had nothing to do with the company).
Filling vacancies that were created by in-house crises, RUMORS, family disputes, lawsuits, financial woes, all of these require discretion and delicacy.
#6 High Turnover
Every company wants to be viewed as a great place to work, but have you ever seen a job posting and thought to yourself, “They’re looking for a Chief Information Security Officer, again? What the heck is going on over there?”
Sometimes it’s prudent to keep things
on the Q.T.
#10 Skip the Red Tape
Job descriptions must be written and posted. Applicants must be entered into the ATS. Approvals must be garnered. Salary guidelines must be followed. Federal and State compliance and regulations must be adhered to. Candidates must be responded to. Internal employees must be considered. Politics, posturing, infighting and rumors must be dealt with. So skip the red tape and proceed to your endgame.