EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Several years ago I received a phone call from a long standing Friend of The FENG.

This particular search firm posted with us on a regular basis. In this case, the posting included the name of their client. You see, they felt that the relationship they had with The FENG was so strong and their confidence in us so high that they could provide this information and not get hurt. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

Several of our members decided that they knew best and submitted their credentials directly to this search firm’s client. Not smart. Not only had they most likely eliminated any chance of their being considered for this relatively high paying job, but they had also embarrassed the search firm and burned a long standing relationship of trust that our organization has had with them.

Let us all understand that the world is built on a series of personal relationships. Members of The FENG use their political capital on a regular basis convincing members of the search community to post with us. You may humor yourself into thinking that we are doing them a favor, but it is truly the reverse. Because of the generally good behavior of our membership, we often times get “first bite of the apple” on many plum assignments. And, being in there first is our most important benefit.

Under our rules of engagement, if you see a posting in our newsletter from a Friend of The FENG, you are expected to refrain from contacting their client, whether they spell out who it is or not. Even if you are good at guessing, I would ask you not to do so. You may think you are very smart if you can figure out who it is, but you are only kidding yourself that applying directly will provide you and The FENG with some long term advantage.

You shoot yourself in the foot if you run around a member of the search community. The only reason they have gotten the assignment to post is that someone at the client trusts them. If you make them look foolish, why do you think this will help your case? Once a search firm has been engaged, most likely all the resumes sent directly to the client will get routed to the search firm for review. This is sometimes the case even when it appears the search firm is working on a contingency basis. The client may want them to do the screening anyway. If you have endeared yourself to the search firm by running around them, what do you think your chances will be? Not high, I can assure you.

Since 1997 when we first started publishing job leads in newsletter format, we have had this approach as our policy.

In the beginning of time, most search firms were reluctant to post with us. We were viewed as a small band of unemployed very old senior financial executives. This is no longer true.

While we are still a very senior level organization, we are now also the largest organization of senior financial executives in the entire world. We are well known and well respected.

Let’s try to keep it that way.

Regards, Matt

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