The job market today is nearly unrecognizable from its form three months ago. The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has left more than 40 million Americans unemployed and countless companies reducing staff and freezing hiring in an attempt to cut costs. For organizations looking to hire, who to choose has never been a more pressing question. That’s where recruiters come in. But who can companies trust?
For the fourth year, Forbes has partnered with market research company Statista to compile a list of America’s best recruiting firms. The list is broken into two categories: the top 200 executive search firms, which specialize in filling positions with salaries of at least $100,000, and the top 250 professional search firms, which focus on filling positions that pay less than $100,000.
This year, two California-based firms came out on top, with Los Angeles’ Korn Ferry KFY earning the No. 1 spot in executive search and Menlo Park’s Robert Half doing so in professional search. Not only did both firms hold onto their positions from the 2019 list, but they ranked highly across categories: Korn Ferry claimed second position in professional search and Robert Half landed fourth in executive search. Most Popular In: Leadership Strategy
While the highest-ranking firms haven’t changed much since last year, that may be the only thing that hasn’t. The pandemic prompted the end of the longest bull-market run in U.S. history, sending a record number of Americans to file for unemployment benefits and work from home. Despite it all, there are still roles that need to be filled, and thanks to investments in technology, some of the biggest players in recruiting have been able to take their workforces completely remote and conduct business as usual. They have, however, still had to adapt to cope with the challenges of social distancing, namely how to find the right person for a role without meeting them in person.
For the executive search firms, that’s meant embracing videoconferencing and multiple rounds of virtual interviews. While they’re no substitute for face-to-face conversations, they’re illuminating in their own right. “Are they technologically savvy? How do they set themselves up? Are they taking it seriously? It’s a gauge of soft skills,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half (who coincidentally is a contributor to Forbes).