When a company has an important high-level opening, there are several ways to evaluate which type of executive recruiting firm will be best-suited to perform the search. Some companies may elect to work with firms that recruit for specific functions — finance is a good example — like CFOs or Controllers. Those recruiters would source for candidates who have held that position in another company, but not necessarily within the opening’s industry.
Bristol’s specialty falls into a second category; our clients will often choose to work with us because we have depth of industry knowledge. For example, a food production enterprise or hospital may be specifically looking for someone with a background in those industries.
While there are frequently crossover skills between businesses, an executive job function may not translate smoothly from one industry into another. As Bristol President Ben Farber says, “Our clients rank industry-relevant experience above all factors including location, compensation and even education. Why? The ability to hit the ground running is invaluable. Even though a hospital and a casino both operate 24/7, the technical intricacies of their operations are miles apart.” Also, job requirements may extend beyond work experience into necessary or preferred certifications or licenses.
Bristol’s industry expertise and specialized focus is one of the main reasons our clients hire us. We know many of the “players” — both employers and individual professionals — in the particular industry niche. Bristol executive recruiters have built relationships with their client companies and are extremely knowledgeable not only about the particular industry but also what skill sets, qualifications and characteristics work within a specific company — they know their clients well and know who or what they’re looking for. This is particularly helpful if the company has a short time span in which to hire. In addition, having industry-specific knowledge may help the new candidate get up to speed faster.
Whichever type of firm a client decides to go with, Bristol Senior Vice President Kelly Nelson recommends that clients:
- Research the executive search firm’s reputation
- Ask for references from satisfied clients
- Decide which type of focus — function or industry — will serve their needs better
- Request information on recent, successful searches
Bristol Associates is an executive search firm with a 49-year history of excellence. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies and candidates in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital/healthcare, hotels/resorts, travel/tourism/attractions, facilities/concessions, restaurant and nonprofit/arts businesses.