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April 28, 2015

DHR International lies when they claims thay are the fifth largest firm

Update April 28, 2015: updated to reflect most recent ranking tables from Executive Search Review.

Update February 27, 2015: Within 24 hours of our original post, DHR International removed David Hoffmann's entire profile from the DHR International web site! At least we know that DHR International and David Hoffmann are reading this blog. Or perhaps Geoff Hoffmann has fired his father...

DHR claims to be the 5th largest firm in the US. But is it?


David Hoffmann's profile on the DHR International website (as published up until February 26, 2015) claimed "the firm is now the fifth largest executive search firm in the United States ... as ranked by Executive Search Review." Note: the link to his profile is the version that DHR International removed on February 27 2015 - the link here is from December 2014 on the Internet Archive.

The 100% owned Jobplex, also make this claim on their web site: "DHR is the fifth-largest retained executive search firm in North America".

The standard DHR email signature also states this "fact". Just do a Google search for "DHR International fifth largest" and you will find recent press releases, articles, job ads, LinkedIn profiles, DHR consultant profiles etc all making this very specific claim. DHR International have been making this claim since at least 2003.

CEO Geoff Hoffmann ups the stakes on this lie, extending the "fifth largest executive search firm" to be a global statistic. See his Twitter description as at March 2, 2015: "Geoff Hoffmann is CEO of DHR International, the fifth largest retained executive search firm with more than 50 offices worldwide" or an interview he did with Yahoo in February 2015, reproduced on DHR International's website.

Other DHR International consultants who mislead their clients through their profiles include (as at March 2, 2015) Robin Singleton, Nick Slee and Scott Harris, each of whom claims DHR is the fifth largest firm in the world. Others who at least stick to the "fifth largest in the US" (as at March 2, 2015) include John Martin, Sanne van den Bos, Khozema Mansure and Kristin Jacobs.

The DHR International Talent Acquisition team are also offenders - these people are charged with hiring consultants and thus are misleading potential recruits into DHR (as at March 2, 2015) include April Drury (on the executive team), James Abruzzo and Charles Betzig.

But according to Executive Search Review, DHR International is only the sixth largest firm in the US. See the Spring 2015 table. Even older versions of the list show this. 

Query whether the numbers are accurate. Many of the firms are public and report their numbers. DHR International is owned solely by the Hoffmann family and they are hugely private. Accordingly, Hunt Scanlon (formerly HSZ Media), the publishers of Executive Search Review ask DHR International to report on the numbers. And it is appears DHR International inflate their figures. And so, in the latest Executive Search Review, DHR International claim to have 133 consultants in North America. But (as of April 28, 2015) DHR International's website only has 100 consultants listed. Some of these are not revenue generating consultants: James G. Abruzzo and April Drury (internal recruiting), Douglas Black (CFO), Justin Hirsch (JobPlex) and Geoff Hoffmann (CEO). Others are not even in North America: Frank Smeekes (Amsterdam). If you remove these, DHR International only have 94 consultants in North America. That's only 70 per cent of the 133 claimed in Executive Search Review.

And, so, can we believe the revenue numbers in Executive Search Review? We suspect not. Insiders suggest DHR International's revenue is actually less than $80 million. Since it is a private company, the information is not publicly available and DHR International gives Executive Search Review the numbers. It is also the only firm to (mis-)quote the list so regularly. On a revenue per consultant basis (using the claimed number of consultants), DHR International has revenue of $1.3 million per consultant--higher than many other firms in the list. If you accept there are 94 fee earning consultants, that puts them at $1.8 million per consultant - higher than Heidricks who do many, many more CEO Searches. It puts them at close to double the revenue per consultant of CTPartners and triple Witt/Kieffer.

The footnotes in the table confirm that the numbers come directly from DHR International. We have sent an email to Hunt Scanlon and asked them to comment on the numbers and methodology.

In any event, how can DHR International claim for at least 12 years that they are "now the fifth largest executive search firm in the United States" and many in the firm (including the CEO) claim it is the fifth largest in the world? The fifth largest firm has $80 million (57%) more revenue and so it is not even close.

DHR International have been deliberately misleading their clients and potential recruits for many years. This is another example of "Hoffmannitis".

1 comment:

  1. Another great post! There's certainly a pattern here. How can anyone trust DHR International when they are so liberal with the truth?

    Have you seen the Osprey Capital site? It gives you some information as to what David Hoffman owns. He even has a private plane now!