March 12, 2024

What the surge in factional exec work can tell us about talent acquisition strategy


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Longest title yet

Fractional execs. So hot right now. I don’t know when the shift happened, but it did. In a big way.

5 years ago I’d talked to execs looking to go the fractional route. The main thing holding them back? Finding enough clients to make it work.

Now? In the last week I’ve talked to 6 fractional execs (2 CROs, 2 CMOS, 1 COO, and 1 CHRO) who are full up on clients. And it’s mutually beneficial for them and the companies they work with (compared to full time execs.)

Here’s the shift in thinking: small to medium sized companies finally realized creating their GTM/tech/people strategy & processes doesn’t need to be the same person who oversees the day to day.

In fact, a lot of execs don’t want to. It’s 2 different skill sets. 2 different jobs. Even if combining strategy, tactics, and team management add up to full time, hours-wise.

From the company standpoint? If you only have 10 hours of strategy work a week, why would you hire a full time resource? It costs more and you could instead develop the few people down the org chart to fill the gaps.

From an exec standpoint? If you’re great at the strategy parts but don’t love the day to day, why focus most of your time on stuff you don’t even enjoy. And…there’s more money in fractional, *if* you can fill your schedule.

But don’t forget:

👉The same thing applies to talent acquisition.

Every single gripe anyone has about the talent acquisition space – from internal recruiters, HR people, agency recruiters, hiring managers, and even job seekers – stems from a lack of strategy.

We’re in a field where everything is a constant, reactive fire-drill.

For no other reason that a lot of senior leaders think hiring is easy. It just happens. Post a job. Find me someone. Get another recruiter.

Missing the fact that going to market for hiring is the same as going to market with your product: you need to identify ideal profiles, create compelling pitches, allocate the right resources, work on your brand, create a positive ‘buying’ experience, etc.

What’s different is for CRO/COO/CMOs, etc, there’s chronic over-thinking. A tendency to over-hire (full time) more experience than is needed.

With talent acquisition? It’s the opposite. Under-thinking. A tendency to not hire anyone with the needed strategy experience to set you up for success.

This piece is admittedly a pitch. Hirewell provides both talent advisory services (strategy for both recruiting and  HR) and fractional exec work. But even if you don’t use us, use someone to make sure your hiring processes aren’t a dumpster fire.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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