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By Bill & Chris Sitter (Published in CED Magazine in 2008)

For several recent CED issues, we’ve enjoyed presenting helpful tips relating to the effective hiring of managers in the construction equipment industry. Now, you might wonder why on earth the principals of a 30-year-old executive search firm would present scenarios where we do not recommend employing outside recruiting expertise. Yes, we will weigh-in on some instances where we believe a good search firm can add value, but first let’s explore the situations where an AED dealer or a construction equipment manufacturer may be best advised to do their own management recruiting.

You probably don’t need a search firm if:

  • You have a comprehensive position description describing your immediate needs, required skill sets, character traits desired, and a clear explanation regarding future growth opportunities.
  • There is a solid panel of known internal and/or external candidates ready for screening against your job spec.
  • Your HR/recruiting budget has no room for third party recruiting fees; and if you do have internal HR capacity to conduct a management level recruiting effort.
  • As the key “hiring authority” you and your hiring/selection panel have the time to properly screen and interview candidates. This may be the case where you are planning well ahead for replacement of a key manager who is slated for retirement, six to twelve months in the future.
  • Your intent is to hire from your immediate locale, to save relocation expense, and you feel you can easily network…say to find a new Controller or CFO.
  • If you are simply not comfortable relying on a third party professional, and/or do not have the time to regularly communicate with him/her.

However, you may wish to consider using an executive search firm for one or more of the following situations:

  • You need special industry experience to fill a critical role and you have confidence in a third party provider of executive recruiting services.
  • There are special sensitive issues; maybe the need for confidentiality or a scenario where you’d really like to consider candidates from competitive dealers and/or candidates from companies that represent your main equipment line.
  • You feel that attracting top candidates may require a wide regional or even a nationwide search effort; and you are prepared for significant relocation expenses to land a proven performer.
  • There is a strong need for an immediate impact player who also has the capacity and desire to fit into your company’s succession planning, while bringing fresh perspectives from outside your organization.

Perhaps these bullet points will help you, as company leaders, make cost and time effective decisions regarding when and when not to use search firms. For sure, we are thankful for 30 years of business opportunities from our dealer and manufacturer clients. However, we also know that a good search process requires commitment by the hiring authority and it represents a significant financial investment. So, “do your thing” when it makes good sense and “go outside” when it is appropriate.

Sage advice on comprehensive position specs:

Whether you conduct an internal recruiting effort or you decide to partner with an executive recruiter, you must start with a well thought-out position spec. We feel this is so critical that we devoted a prior CED column to this topic. You know the old saying…”If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”. Industry executives owe it to their organizations to insist on a position spec that encompasses all aspects of the role to be filled; desired skill sets, ideal character traits…and more. If you’d like a free copy of the position spec template we use, with our clients, on every single executive search, please call or email us.

If you would like to have us address specific managerial hiring issues, in future CED columns, we’d love to get your input. In the meantime…we wish you success as you “hire the best”.

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