Back News  /  September 2013

Desperately seeking Top Managers

For 42% of medium sized companies, the recruitment process takes 6 months or longer

·    “Making disproportionate compromises is no solution”
     says Executive Search expert Thomas Bockholdt.

Hamburg, 9th September 2013 – Six out of ten medium sized companies in Germany experience difficulties in filling management positions. 42% of the companies need six months or longer to complete the recruitment process. These are the results of the study “HR Challenges Facing Medium Sized Companies”. InterSearch Executive Consultants interviewed over 200 managers with personnel responsibility from companies of over 250 employees for the study.

For two out of five companies, the recruitment process for higher management positions takes six months or longer. Two thirds do manage to complete recruitment in less than six months, but only 12% succeed in doing so in less than three months – a tiny minority. At the same time, 50% of those responsible for the recruitment process state that the demand on their time greatly exceeded what they had planned for.

“Vacancy times of several months in senior management positions do have a negative impact on businesses, even if things don’t go wrong immediately” says Thomas Bockholdt, Managing Partner of the personnel consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants. “On the whole, deputies and interim managers do a good job. But temporary solutions do not allow for strategic plans to be driven forward.” Deputies use their resources sparingly, and in this environment, employees tend to build sub-groups and define their own working practices. “The insecurity about the future has a negative impact on motivation, at the cost of productivity and quality” says Bockholdt.

Making disproportionate compromises out of necessity is no solution

In many companies the pressure to fill a vacancy leads to exaggerated concessions being made in the choice of candidates. “This is not a good solution” says Executive Search expert Thomas Bockholdt. “When the new manager proves not to be viable within a few months and the search has to begin again, the damage can be even greater than with a temporary solution.” In order to recognize a suitable candidate, the company must first be able to form a realistic opinion of itself.” According to Bockholdt, “established structures and culture play an important role, especially in mid-sized companies. Not every manager with the necessary qualifications will be able to fit in and make a positive contribution.”

Another learning from the study carried out by InterSearch Executive Consultants underlines this fact: in 28% of all cases of premature termination of a new manager, the main cause cited was the manager and the company culture were incompatible with one another.

Expert opinion states that filling key positions at the top level of a company demands absolute prioritisation. The cost of professional recruitment is lower than the damage done by vacant or badly filled roles.” An external consultant can provide a company with a much more accurate image of itself”, says Bockholdt. “This enables a good fit to be identified from the first screening of candidates onwards.”

Background Information

InterSearch Executive Consultants carried out the study “HR Challenges Facing Medium Sized Companies” in the first half of 2013. 200 managers with personnel responsibility (company owners, managing directors, directors and HR managers) were interviewed online. All respondents worked for companies with over 250 employees from the Trade, Service and Industrial sectors.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

We specialize in the recruitment of managers and the systematic analysis of management potential with a focus on the “Mittelstand” – medium sized national and international organizations. The company was founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personnel Consultancy” and has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich with over 30 employees. Today InterSearch Executive Consultants belongs to the international InterSearch network with nearly 100 offices in 45 countries.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0