How to Select an Executive Search Firm

 

There are several things to consider when selecting a search firm, such as reputation and references, geography (presence), candidate reach (sources and off-limits), functional expertise, industry knowledge, effectiveness (completion) ratio, replacement ratio, average tenure of candidates placed, relationship with competitors (potential conflicts of interest), average time taken to present candidates, guarantees, complementary and pro-bonus services, and professional fees and expenses. A decision to select an executive search firm should not be based on their professional fees alone. A bad placement or an incomplete search may cost you more than anticipated, especially when you consider all the company time and resources deployed in meetings, interviews and evaluations.

 

You should also inquire about the search firm’s methodology, to include how often they will make available to you progress reports on the search (ask for sample reports), the quality / structure of their candidate reports and the thoroughness of their reference / background checking.

 

Among other important issues to consider is knowing your consultant. Will you be visited by a “front person” or the individual that will be handling the search? Is the consultant concerned about visiting your facilities and spending time with some executives to learn more about your company structure and culture?

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