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Landing top executive talent requires a partnership with the right search expert. You cannot afford hiring mistakes at the senior level. You need a specialized search firm that will source candidates who may not otherwise be identifiable in the market. Find a recruitment partner who knows your business sector and industry and has an excellent track record and references.

  • Choose a firm with experience in placing executives in positions similar to your open job. Look for targeted expertise, network and reach. Be sure you have the right chemistry with your search consultant and that they embrace your corporate culture.
  • Can a firm deliver results for you? This includes crafting accurate and enticing job descriptions, generating deep candidate pools, vetting references and accelerating the overall hiring process.

Follow these rules when selecting and working with an executive search firm:

Check references.

Check firms’ references as you narrow the field. Contact their corporate clients to determine the quality of candidates presented as well as the level of integrity, timely feedback and representation.

  • Speak with candidates placed by the firm. Get their perspective on how opportunities were presented and on search consultants’ business acumen and integrity.

Understand a firm’s recruiting metrics.

Recruitment firms use various metrics for benchmarking purposes. Know what they are and which ones are your top priority. These metrics include:

  • Days to first submittal
  • Days to fill a position
  • Interview-to-offer efficiency ratio
  • Diversity ratio
  • Retention percentage
  • Average salary of filled positions

Make sure your search consultant understands your needs.Executive Search

Ensure that your search consultant clearly understands the role, responsibilities, qualifications and any related nuances of the position you are seeking to fill.

  • Your recruitment partner should know your company and understand the key elements of your employer value proposition. An ongoing relationship should be forged to address both immediate and long-term needs. For every opening, this means fully grasping the personality, skill set, knowledge and education desired in a candidate.

Know how a firm works.

Processes and business philosophies differ from firm to firm. Be aware of these differences and be sure a firm meets your criteria. Consider these factors:

  • Sourcing: A search firm’s sourcing strategy and the resources they use to locate candidates are critical. They should leverage an extensive resource network that includes industry and competitive research, candidate databases and a full battery of online tools to zero in on a target market.
  • Screening: Your firm must be able to qualify potential candidates after screening interviews and present you with a sharp, defined short list of potential hires.
  • Interviewing: Candidates whom you personally interview should have already been thoroughly assessed. Your search consultant should be capable of readily discussing their resume, qualifications, personality and personal motivators.
  • Evaluation and selection: Once interviews are complete, your role will be to review your notes with your search consultant and make a final selection. Sometimes the choice is obvious and other times you may need to broaden the search. Your relationship with your executive search firm should be strong enough to agree on an action plan for either scenario.

Maintain trust and communication.

Ongoing trust and communication are critical to your solid relationship with a search firm. A strong partnership cultivates open feedback about your company such as the competitiveness of your salary structure, incentive programs and market share and perception.

  • Establish clear communication lines that facilitate key points reaching the table. Regular updates should occur to go over ground covered, issues raised and market feedback and progress.
  • Discuss any off-limit issues so expectations are clear. This will most likely apply to who can or cannot be contacted. It will help protect relationships and networks as your search firm builds a candidate pool.

Consider partnering with BrainWorks for better results and the highest return on your executive recruitment investment. Our senior practice leaders have deep expertise in the industries they serve and proven success in managing hundreds of searches. Contact us today for more information about our executive search services.


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