7 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Executive Search Firm
If you can fill your senior management roles with highly qualified and experienced candidates, this has a profound flow-on effect on every aspect of a business. The right executive search firm can streamline that process to save you time and mitigate the risks of making the wrong decision. But how do you find the right reliable recruitment partner for your top-tier roles? Be sure to ask any potential executive search firm these seven crucial questions before engaging them.
1. Which executive positions do you regularly recruit for? There’s a reason that executive search specialists exist; recruiting for the highest levels of seniority requires a highly tailored approach. Recruiting a CEO, Executive Director or General Manager demands a specific set of skills and the right network. You’ll want to ensure that the executive search partner you’re considering has a proven track record of recruiting the positions you’re seeking to fill.
2. Do you understand the sector and market my business operates in? A senior management role in the construction industry could be vastly different to one in the manufacturing industry, so it’s crucial that your executive search partner understands what makes an outstanding candidate in your market. If they are truly worth their weight they will know which capabilities and experience are transferrable across markets to help you access senior management talent you may not have considered before.
3. Do you have access to the leading talent in the market? Effective executive recruitment pivots around two essential aspects; being able to cast the net wide to find capable professionals in and beyond the market, and then to meticulously screen these professionals for an accurate recruitment process. If the executive search firm you’re speaking with doesn’t have an extensive candidate database to connect with, then chances are they’re not actively working to reach the professionals with the greatest potential.
4. How do you screen and assess potential candidates? An executive search firm that knows how to rigorously screen candidates will save you countless hours and resources in your search for a new senior management professional. Ask any potential recruitment partner about their screening process, which should include thorough reference checks, personality assessments plus informal and structured interviews to ensure each proposed candidate has a strong aptitude for the role – as well as a strong interest.
5. Do you have your best people on the job? Because executive search is a sophisticated process, the last thing you’ll want is to feel your recruitment needs are being handled by a team of unthinking drones. Have you met the person or people who will be handling your recruitment brief? Are they spending the time to understand your specific needs, and do they have significant executive search experience in finding capable and qualified candidates for other leading brands?
6. How future focused are you? Every successful business has a vision for the future, and it’s important that your executive search firm supports yours. If you can find a recruitment partner that can anticipate your needs rather than react to them then you’ll have greater power and agility as an organisation. Industry mapping can be an invaluable tool in lining up prime executive talent to fill your most important roles should they ever need to be filled at short notice.
7. Will you be discreet and confidential about our recruitment needs? Trust is a vital aspect for both candidates and organisations during the recruitment process. Professionals want to be able to explore new challenging and rewarding roles without negative impacts on their current life, while organisations want to be able to access the leading talent within their industry without compromising on quality. The right neutral and discreet executive search firm will handle enquiries with integrity and understanding.