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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

CFO Awards: Maximize the ROI From Your Recruitment Strategy

This hot, candidate-driven market reminds me of the bubbles of 1989, 2001 and 2007. And just like with those markets, many companies are understandably employing strategies that reduce outside fees. However, many of these strategies end up backfiring, rather than accomplishing the goal of attracting the very best talent.

Recently, I’ve noticed some problematic reoccurring trends in the tactics companies are resorting to in order to save on recruitment costs. These tactics play out like the classic scenario of saving on costs, simply to pay more later. One such method: investing solely in internal talent acquisition. Unfortunately for these companies, this often does not yield the returns they had hoped for.


In contrast to utilizing a recruitment firm, developing an internal talent acquisition team takes time, is costly and requires talent itself — a Catch 22. Still, many companies choose to make this investment. But the volume of placements an individual or even a few individuals can handle has its limits, and it can become difficult for one person to specialize or develop a truly robust list of candidates. In contrast to internal talent acquisition teams who work with a limited pool of candidates, recruitment firms develop lengthy, up-to-the-minute lists of top-tier talent.


Recruitment and staffing firms have their finger on the pulse of the regional talent pool and know precisely which professionals are ready to make a career move. At Century Group, we even pioneered a practice called The Group Concept, where recruiters are encouraged and incentivized to work on searches together. This philosophy ultimately magnifies search capacity as well as results for the client. Recruitment firms will save you cost, time and uncertainty while optimizing your search’s reach.


Most internal recruiting strategies are reactive — the talent acquisition team can only produce candidates interested in engaging when an opening occurs. Specialist recruiting firms, however, are proactive. Recruiters are constantly developing and refining a target list of talent — talent that represents the best of the market — to be tapped when the appropriate search arises.

When a client’s talent acquisition department says, “We have been looking for this position for months and you produced the candidate within weeks,” it’s indicative of how good recruiting professionals develop a deep talent pool and nurture relationships over a long period of time — maybe even years — so that they are able to immediately contact the right candidate for the right opportunity.


Many companies think recruiters just sit passively waiting for the opportunity to send a bill for anyone they can pull from a job board. This common myth is due to the fact that the majority of recruiting professionals don’t adequately explain their value proposition.

At well-established recruitment firms like Century Group, recruiters nurture long-term relationships with top-tier candidates and track these candidates throughout their career. Recruiters also have the advantage of being seen by candidates as an objective third party who can bring candidates multiple opportunities, which encourages candidates to engage more actively with our clients.

Consider how a recruiter presents their value proposition when selecting a recruitment firm to work with — it will speak to how well they can negotiate on your behalf. In this market, a recruiter knowing and stating their value is not only paramount to their success in negotiations, it is also crucial to your success in this competitive marketplace. As Malcolm Forbes said, “Too many people overvalue what they are not, and undervalue what they are.”

When companies try to save on recruitment costs by investing solely in internal talent acquisition, the return on their investment suffers when it comes to talent, time and the reach of their job search.

One of Southern California’s foremost executive recruiters and a noted expert on executive search, Ron Proul is CEO of Century Group, an award-winning recruiting firm that provides top-tier accounting and finance talent. During his 28 years with the firm, he has completed over 1,000 CFO, executive and management searches and conducted thousands of interviews for clients in a myriad of industries. Ron has contributed to leading business publications, served on numerous committees and boards and has served as a judge for the LA CFO of the Year Awards.

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