Kincannon & Reed is a global executive search firm that has been around since 1981, specializing in recruiting leaders in the food, agriculture, and life sciences industries. However, like any company, they have received some negative reviews and complaints over the years accusing them of shady practices.
In this honest review, we will examine these allegations and see if Kincannon & Reed is truly a “scam” or if these are isolated incidents. Let’s jump right in.
Background on Kincannon and Reed Scam
First, let’s provide some background on the company. Kincannon & Reed was founded in 1981 by Kelly Kincannon. Over the years, the company developed a specialized focus on food, agribusiness, and life sciences and started hiring principals with senior executive experience in these industries. This gives them a unique peer-level understanding of their clients’ priorities and needs.
In 2007, Kelly Kincannon sold the firm to a group of senior principals who still run it today. The company now has a global footprint on every continent and continues to grow. They currently have 51-200 employees and bring in around $1-5 million in annual revenue.
Reviews from Employees and Contractors
When examining online reviews, it’s always important to start with employees and contractors. These individuals have first-hand experience working with the company and can attest to their ethics and business practices.
Kincannon & Reed currently has 4 employee reviews on Glassdoor, earning an excellent overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. 100% of reviewers say they would recommend the company to a friend and approve of the CEO.
Here are some excerpted pros from employee reviews:
- “Flexible, remote work with passionate and engaged people across the board.”
- “Great leadership and support.”
- “Highly professional company with clear expectations for its employees.”
The only cons mentioned were related to remote work being isolating at times. There were no mentions of shady business practices or scams.
There is only one employee review on Indeed, again giving Kincannon & Reed 5 out of 5 stars and favorably describing the interview process.
So from an employee perspective, there are no red flags indicating a “scam” type business. Workers seem to appreciate the flexible remote environment and professional leadership.
Analysis of Client Reviews
However, employees only see one side of a business, so it’s also important to look at client reviews. Executives who have worked with Kincannon & Reed as clients may have more insight into their actual business practices.
Unfortunately, Kincannon & Reed has no client reviews on popular sites like Glassdoor. This makes sense given the exclusive nature of their executive search services.
Their Google My Business profile has only 3 total reviews:
- 1-star review accusing them of being “the worst firm of the lot” and misrepresenting candidates.
- 1-star review simply calling them “a scam.”
- 1-star review also calling them “fraudsters.”
This seems to be where the accusations of Kincannon & Reed being a “scam” originate from. However, 3 negative Google reviews should not be given too much weight on their own. Disgruntled candidates who did not get placed or who had bad interview experiences may be more motivated to leave negative feedback. Positive clients who successfully hired executive candidates are less likely to post a review.
Without more data, these few negative Google reviews are not enough evidence to conclusively state that Kincannon & Reed’s business model is fraudulent. Candidates also may have legitimate critiques of a rigorous interview and screening process without the company being an outright scam.
Lawsuits and Regulatory Actions
The next piece of evidence to examine is any legal or regulatory history. Have any clients or candidates sued Kincannon & Reed for illegal or scam-like behavior? Have they gotten into trouble with organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
According to extensive online research, Kincannon & Reed does not seem to have been involved in any lawsuits, government complaints, or BBB reviews related to scam allegations. This suggests no widespread pattern of fraudulent activity. Otherwise, it would likely have caught the attention of regulators at some point over the company’s 40+ year history.
Analysis of Company Practices
The final perspective to examine is Kincannon & Reed’s actual business model and practices. Do they show signs of being designed to “scam” or take advantage of clients?
A few key observations:
✔️ As an AESC member, Kincannon & Reed adheres to a Professional Code and strict standards for ethical recruitment processes. This association helps ensure they are not acting as scam artists.
✔️ Their website and marketing materials are professionally done and accurately represent their services. Nothing seems deceptive or misleading.
✔️ Their specialization on food/agribusiness executive recruiting provides unique value to underserved industries. This is not a model indicative of “scammers” who typically offer vague, overpromising services.
✔️ As a retained search firm, they only earn fees if they successfully place candidates that clients hire. This motivates quality vetting and placements, not quick money like a potential scam would prioritize.
So in examining their actual business model, there is no glaring evidence of Kincannon & Reed being a “scam” versus a typical executive search firm.
Criticism of High Service Fees
Much of the criticism toward Kincannon & Reed seems to revolve around their high service fees rather than illegal practices per se. Executive recruitment can be quite expensive given the bespoke, high-touch service.
For example, one candidate reported their fees were 33% of the placed executive’s first year compensation. This seems extraordinarily high. However, elite service firms in any industry typically charge premium rates which must be weighed against the value they provide.
There is no definitive evidence that Kincannon & Reed misrepresents its fees or intentionally hides them from clients upfront. The costs are likely clearly communicated even if some candidates or clients feel they are exorbitant in the end.
So complaints around high prices do not inherently indicate Kincannon & Reed is a fraudulent “scam”—albeit that perception may negatively impact their brand if not addressed.
Conclusion: No Clear Evidence of a Scam
In summary, based on currently available reviews, complaints, lawsuits, regulatory actions, and an analysis of Kincannon & Reed’s services, there is no definitive evidence to conclude they are an outright “scam” company.
A few negative Google reviews and accusations of high prices alone should not condemn the entire firm. Scam companies also typically have more clear red flags around misleading marketing or intentionally opaque fee structures.
However, the lack of positive client reviews does seem like an issue that Kincannon & Reed should proactively address. The absence of reviews reinforces suspicion from a small minority of vocal critics. Gathering candid client testimonials could offset this dynamic.
As with engaging any elite service firm, both candidates and clients should still do their due diligence examining contracts, costs, and vetting processes with Kincannon & Reed upfront to ensure full transparency and alignment—and clarify any concerns around services fees being commensurate with value.
But without further evidence, Kincannon & Reed continues to operate successfully after 40+ years in business with many satisfied food/agribusiness clients under their belt.
So claims of them being an outright “scam” appear unfounded at this point unless proven otherwise. We will continue to monitor any new reviews and complaints as they emerge.