Executive search firms provide years of headhunting experience, industry-specific expertise, expansive networks of talent, and countless other benefits. The experts in executive search are called when a role is of supreme importance because hiring an exemplary executive can be the defining factor of a business’s success or failure. Executive search firms focus solely on conducting thorough, discretionary searches tailored to the unique needs of the company and are connected to the industry’s key players. For these reasons, retaining the services of an executive search firm can be a pricey endeavor—as the seniority and salary of the role increase, a retained search through a reputable search firm is of high value. But the investment is quickly returned with an executive who masterfully drives company initiatives to success.

Besides the role’s significant impact and the need for a confidential search, there are 8 other specific scenarios in which investing in the services of an executive should be an easy decision.

1.  The role requires a unique blend of skills

With the continuous evolution and specialization of companies across industries, executive positions are becoming more specific. Factors such as the organization’s industry, functions, and client base play into the desired qualities and experience of the ideal candidate. The specific combination of hard and soft skills that make up the ideal candidate for a position may seem impossible to find, but executive search firms thrive on the challenge of headhunting the professional who matches an exact skill set. Executive recruiters are able to source from a nationwide talent pool of passive candidates, locating executives who match the desired skills, experience, and personality type.

2. The role is brand new

If the search is for an executive role that is new at the organization, those in charge of the hiring process internally may have limited knowledge of the role, its functions, and its qualifications. A search firm that specializes in that field of expertise will provide a clear definition of the role and what it takes to be successful. Also, search firms possess a network of accomplished executives holding that title or similar titles and can headhunt the ideal candidate based on the exact needs of the company.

3. Replacing an underperforming executive

An unfortunate, yet common circumstance is that of finding a successor for underperforming executives before they are aware they are being replaced. Retained search firms specialize in conducting highly-confidential searches and earning the trust of succeeding candidates during confidential searches.

4. Need to headhunt from a direct competitor

Ideal candidates for executive roles should be familiar with the company’s functions and processes, so they often come from the same role at a similar company or a direct competitor. Only third-party search firms are able to effectively headhunt working executives on behalf of one of their competitors and headhunt from a larger talent pool.

5. Lacking internal successors

Leadership succession is a primary internal challenge for many organizations. If they do not have a qualified leader lined up to succeed in an executive’s role, that vacancy can leave a substantial negative impact on the organization. Executive search firms can offer succession planning for organizations to be prepared, or quickly find a qualified successor to fill an unexpected vacant role.

6. Internal time and resources are limited

If conducted internally, a search for a senior executive is extremely time-consuming. Even if the company has an internal recruiting team, internal recruiters work on many roles under a variety of job titles. A vacant executive role requires a full-time commitment from an executive search firm. Internal employees can remain focused and productive, and the role is filled faster with a highly qualified candidate when partnering with an executive search firm that specializes in the role’s field of expertise.

7. Personal and company networks are exhausted

Executive recruiters are the most well-networked professionals in the industry. They continuously build relationships with the most qualified professionals in their field of expertise. Internal recruiters or hiring managers may find themselves at a loss when tapping into their personal and company connections, especially if the role is high-level and impactful. At this point, the most effective hire will be found currently employed in the same position at a competitor—executive search firms specialize in contacting these highly qualified, passive candidates and offering them lucrative opportunities.

4. An ongoing executive search is taking too long

When an executive search is at a standstill and the vacancy is negatively impacting the workforce, it is time to contact an executive search firm that specializes in locating candidates for that role. With an executive search consultant’s network, time, and expertise, time to hire dramatically decreases.