Ultimately the search consultant is remembered for assisting in a good hire. The primary value an executive search firm adds to the clients hiring process is the reduction of risk in the hiring process. When the risks of hiring are reduced the chances for success dramatically increase. By clearly and consistently showing value, we demonstrate that our clients' interests come before all else.
The executive search process has five major components.
A search project is only as successful as the success of each aspect.
The Hiring Criteria: The first aspect of the executive search is defining the candidate profile. We conduct in-person meetings with clients to fully understand their unique points of difference. These can include the client's short and long-term objectives and understanding the success profile of the client. After gaining a good understanding of the need we then translate that information into a template to be used to evaluate potential candidates. It is critical the search consultant listens without prejudice and has the experience and perception to understand and translate the client's need into a solvable search.
Research: The executive search process is inherently inefficient. For any given search there may be dozens, hundreds or potentially thousands of individuals with the work experience and education that could make them prospects. We use a variety of innovative tools alongside direct recruiting and networking to find strong talent for our clients. Clients generally have a high level of urgency to fill the position in question, which requires the search consultant to make a judgement on the depth and scope of the search.
Recruiting: This component of the search process requires the consultant to present the client's opportunity in a positive and persuasive manner. There are two general audiences to be reached the referral sources and potential candidates. Each need to be able to quickly understand the message the consultant is attempting to communicate. The consultant seeks referrals recognizing the most often sources recommend friends and acquaintances. When presenting the clients opportunity to a prospect, the consultant knows that before the candidate may be willing to consider the clients position they must first help the prospect evaluate his/her current career setting with a new perspective. Until the prospect is prepared to leave his or her current employment, presenting the relative attractiveness of the new position is generally an unpersuasive argument. A further consideration is that until the search consultant makes the initial contact the prospect may not have contemplated new employment let alone the potential of relocating his/her family. This can be a stress-creating situation for the individual and the family.
Candidate Evaluation: Once a number of apparently qualified prospects have been identified and expressed an interest in the opportunity, the consultant's role changes from one of selling the opportunity to evaluating the candidates with the objectives of the client in mind. The consultant needs to have strong resolve at this stage. Having worked hard to gain the interest of a candidate, the consultant is now in the role of looking for information that could eliminate the individual from further consideration. There is a natural temptation to not look too hard. Sending the under-evaluated candidate to the client with hopes that it will work out is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes following the candidate interview phase no one meets the client's requirements and the search and research process needs to be restarted. An added component of this process is helping the candidate and potentially his or her family deal with the interviewing and selection process. Occasionally, the search consultant must deal with the unsuccessful candidate who may be faced with more challenges than the selected individual. Being sensitive to these dynamics is important.
Facilitating Negotiations: Candidates that have been recruited to positions naturally feel they have a strong negotiation position. We work diligently to manage client and candidate expectations and openly facilitate communication throughout the process. There are often many issues, major and minor to be resolved. When contracts are involved the details of language can become complex. Having a search consultant who can manage these components is critical. The end of the process is as critical as the first.