Off Limits: Why Institutions Experience Failed Searches

The fundamental caveat in the search industry is that a search firm does not recruit away from its clients.

Simply defined, “off limits” means that some of the largest search firms have too many clients and too many intertwined relationships, and, therefore, too many formal and informal “off-limits” situations that preclude them from going after the full range of top talent in the market.

To bring this closer to home for your institution, the search firm who has done the most president searches, or has the longest list of clients in your industry sector, effectively blocks you, the client, from the most talent within their long list of clients.

Many client enterprises have expressed to us their dissatisfaction with the search firms they had previously hired. We hear consistently from Trustees, Search Committee Chairs and organizations who have been using the “broken executive search firm model”. This resounding theme is heard across industries and in many organizations.

“Off-limits” can make the difference between having a candidate pool filled with aspirational candidates, as opposed to qualified, successful individuals currently sitting in the role you are recruiting for.

The solution to the “off limits” issue is Anthem Executive’s (formerly named Wheless Search) distinctive Selective Engagement Approach to the marketplace, in which we intentionally choose to represent no more than 3% of institutions in higher education; conversely, we are then able to provide our select clients 97% access to the best candidates.

We also limit the number of similar concurrent searches in a particular role and industry so that we can provide the absolute best selection options to clients.

The fundamental caveat in the search industry is that a search firm does not recruit away from its clients.