Look Under the Hood When Picking an Executive Search Partner

By: Rosemary Gantz

I’ve recently started thinking about car shopping again…it’s been almost 10 years since I bought my last one. There is so much information available today online to help make this decision that the process is way more fun than it used to be…plus now I shop for quality and performance as opposed to paint colors, cup holders and bright shiny objects. Now, I look under the hood and ask the kind of questions that will make a difference for the long term.

Lately, I’ve been surprised by the lack of due diligence that is done by people about other important decisions, often despite their better judgment. I’ve seen this in my world of executive search. Some leaders and hiring managers choose based on past relationships, convenience or cost alone (the bright shiny object!) And there’s nothing wrong with this approach if it works. But when it doesn’t, talk to other possible search partners and look under the hood!

Here is a list of questions to help you “look under the hood” when evaluating search firms to choose a great partner:

1.  Why are our company and/or this search interesting to you? (Elements: alignment, investment, partnership)

2. How do you decide who to contact first? (Elements: strategy creation and execution)

3. What do you do first when starting the search process? (Elements: background investigation, research, process)

4. How do you manage candidates in the process? (Elements: relationship, process management, ability to attract)

5. Who will be talking to the candidates? (Elements: team involvement, candidate management, brand protection)

6. How do you help candidates get to know us? (Elements: ability to attract, recruiting skills, position/company knowledge, ability to see value proposition, communications)

7. How do you help us get to know your candidates? (Elements: investigative research, assessment, communications)

8. How do you assess a candidate’s alignment with the compensation package? (Elements: investigative research, recruiting skills)

9. How do you assess a candidate’s suitability for the role? (Elements: recruiting skills, assessment, search process)

10. With whom may we speak to learn more about your work? (Elements: ability to execute, process management, recruiting skills, experience)

Look for more detail on each of these in future blogs, or contact me any time if you’ve got an urgent question to help you through this process.