Are off limits ruining your shortlist?

Are off limits ruining your shortlist?

Identifying the ideal candidate to lead a project can be difficult enough without additional constraints being placed on who you can and can’t approach. Often an executive search might seem unnecessary as the ideal candidate or candidates may be well-known to the company already, but shortlists can be quickly ruined by some, many, or even all of the candidates falling into the ‘off limits’ category.

This means the perfect recruit might be ready, willing but unable to join your company due to a pre-existing agreement in place between the two firms.

What Constitutes an ‘Off Limits’ Candidate

Firms who do business with each other will usually be involved in a scaled-up version of a server/customer relationship. The customer will be paying the server for their service, and wants to do so in good faith without worrying that the server will be stealing away the customer’s own workforce.

It is this good faith relationship between companies working together that institutes the ‘off limits’ rule that forbids clients from poaching the best talent from their customers.

It makes good business sense, of course, but it can also lead to a particular business easily identifying the ideal candidate for an executive position within their company, but without the ability to approach that potential executive due to the good faith agreement between the firms.

What seemed like an easy position to fill now becomes impossible without damaging the two companies’ relationship and probably losing their business regardless of whether the attempted recruitment is successful.

Executive Search Consultancies Solve the Off Limits Problem

The good news for businesses in such a position is that it is highly unlikely that only one single person is suitable for the position they have available. Their own in-house recruiters may only be aware of one or two candidates who are off limits, but a professional executive search consultancy will be able to identify many more who are not off limits and are ready to listen to offers.

By widening the search for the ideal person for a position, the problem of off limit candidates shortening already short shortlists no longer needs to be an issue.


As an independent executive search firm, Bailey Montagu can help you identify the most talented people available for your business across all markets and international territories.