5 Tips for Identifying a Quality Executive Search Firm

When you need to hire an impact executive through an executive search firm there are several things to look for in your search partner. You and your team will help set the culture and establish the road map for how your company is going to achieve its goals. With so much on the line, companies turn to executive search firms in order to ensure that the ultimate goal of finding the best executive candidates is met.

Choosing the right firm to handle your company’s executive search need will play a huge role in the success of your next executive hire. When you hire an executive search firm, you are entrusting them to make incredibly impactful decisions on behalf of your company.

Any search firm you consider to help you fill an executive or C-Suite role, should have a good understanding of your company, your culture, your place/market share in your industry and how this executive role impacts your company’s operations and strategy.

Here are five things to look for when identifying a quality executive search firm.

  1. Ability to Communicate Clearly and in a Timely Manner
    In the professional world, and especially in regards to something as important as filling an executive slot, few things are more frustrating than trying to decipher vague, ambiguous correspondence, or having to chase people to deliver their part of a project. An executive search firm is hired to make life easier for your company, not harder. A good search firm will communicate with your company clearly and in a timely manner—working to push the process forward, not hold it up.
  2. Show a Commitment to Results
    In the case of retained search firms, placements are guaranteed. Retained search is a huge benefit to companies as it simultaneously provides a safety net for the client and an incentive for the recruitment firm (if a placement doesn’t work out, the firm is obligated to find another recruit). Retained search holds the recruitment firm accountable as your business partner.
  3. A Significant, Yet Efficient Time Investment
    Time allotment for an executive hire is nearly always situational, but obviously you’re always better served taking your time to get it right. You want an executive search firm that is willing to put in the work to get to know your company; not only what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization, but how you’re trying to accomplish it; what your work culture is like—the personality of your company should be reflected in any potential executive hire. This thorough examination of culture should not come at the expense of efficiency, however. Combining the ideal ratio goes back to #1 on this list.
  4. A Well-Structured Interview Process
    Much of this process should fall out of what occurs in their time investment in learning about your company. A good executive research firm will build a solid foundation of research on your company as well as on the candidates they have access to. This leads to a customized interview process that can truly determine whether a candidate is a good match for a company.
  5. An Emphasis on Building Relationships
    Even candidates that do not end up being chosen for a position should still walk away having benefited from the experience. As part of the vetting process, executive search firms and their clients learn a great deal about prospective hires and that go away when the position is filled. Professional relationships are built during any candidate’s process and carried forward for future opportunities.