By Steve Reimer, VP

I remember the first time I encountered the self-serve checkout, at a pharmacy in Los Angeles. I guess I hadn’t noticed the lack of staff on my way in, or as I debated the pros and cons of orange juice vs. Gatorade on that blazingly hot day. But as I went to the checkout, I exchanged nervous glances with two other customers as we simultaneously realized the store eerily seemed to be running on its own. There were no staff anywhere to be seen in the aisles or by the registers.

Guided by some signage at the front of the store, I used my credit card to pay for my drink, shrugged and wandered out into the sunny afternoon, wondering if this was the way of the future for all brick-and-mortar stores.

That person-less future hasn’t arrived just yet, but the larger self-serve economy has taken over. We rarely ask for help anymore – we browse online, scan, buy and set up our own delivery times for anything we buy on Amazon. Need to fix up your home? Everything’s a DIY job, thanks to IKEA, Home Depot and relevant tips from HGTV. For better or worse, we self-diagnose our illnesses on WebMD. Who needs an expert when the answer or product you’re seeking is literally in your pocket, in the universe of knowledge and commerce accessed through your smartphone?

There’s a temptation to do the same thing when it comes to pursuing your next job opportunity or career path. Check out what’s showing on any number of job websites, LinkedIn, Craigslist or whatever, send off some emails with your resume attached and just wait for the call.

For executives seeking their next opportunity, that would be a big mistake – one that could cost them a lot. There’s just no self-serve option that competes with the value of a professional executive search recruiter. Here’s why:


Executives Don’t Have Time to Search on Their Own. This is probably the biggest challenge. Someone who’s already running a department or entire firm can’t exactly devote their time to researching a hypothetical opportunity at another firm.

The Biggest Opportunities Often Aren’t Advertised. Those top positions aren’t going to come up on a Craigslist search. Recruiters know where the opportunities lie – sometimes, even before the hiring company knows they’re going to make a new role available.

Coaching Yourself Isn’t Really an Option. Strategic recruiters don’t just find jobs for candidates. They advise that candidate in how to refine their approach at the interview and beyond, so they’ll have the best chance of getting the job.

It’s Not Just About What You Know, but Who You Know. Recruiters often forge long-term relationships with firms that are hiring. A candidate that gets a referral and recommendation from a recruiter is more likely to get past the front gates than an outsider with zero connection to the company.


Need help with your own strategic search? Contact us today.