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Executive Search Consultants - How to Hire the Right Firm to Find Talented Employees

Retaining a good executive search firm to find executive candidates for your company is important for your long term success. Hire one poor performing executive and it sets you back months if not years, and is bad for the morale of your team. Hire a star performer and it can do wonders for your business. This is a guide to help you find the right executive search firm for your hiring needs.

Before you start to look, it is a good idea to do some homework. First create a list of key performance indicators (KPI) with clear deadlines. This is a list of things the candidate is expected to accomplish on the job. For example if you want the new hire to open up European market for your product, you would write, "Open up Eastern Europe for widget x, making it accessible to at least 45% of the population -- 12 months." The KPI list should span at least two to three years. Next create a description of the position. This would explain the content of the job, company vision, culture, historical performance, candidate experience, desired attributes and work style. Add any other factors that may help to effectively market the position. Professional search firm will also help you refine the job description but this is going to be a good starting point. Combination of the KPI list and the job description is probably a better way to explain the position than just a bullet point list of duties. KPI list also helps the candidates visualize the job more accurately and connect it with their past experience and their future aspirations.

You are now ready to search for executive search firms. First step is to compare price quotes from multiple Executive Search firms at a Business Network. Also search the yellow pages and Google to make a list of about ten firms. Remember to ask your business associates for recommendations too. It is important to look for firms with expertise in your industry, job position or geographic region. Share the KPI list and the job description with a few firms, and see their response. Expect some of them to withdraw if they do not have the candidates or the expertise to help you.

Once your list has narrowed down to three or four executive search firms, it is time to understand their search process and feel comfortable with the staff. They should provide you with a document that explains the search process. Request them to also provide information about a similar completed search.

Ask to speak with the senior consultant and her team. Understand the search process including the search fees, expected out of pocket expenses and other costs if any. Try to gauge their professionalism, character and personality. Is the search consultant ethical, enthusiastic, professional and well experienced? Ask yourself that if you were looking for a similar position, would you like to speak with these consultants? Many executive search firms have off-limit organizations. If you have any target organizations in mind, make sure they are not on their off-limit list.

It is important to ask the right questions to the candidate to predict their future success. Ask the firm to show you their candidate assessment techniques. Ideally they should have a numerical rating approach to ascertain degree of match with key requirements.

References are critical in the search process and should be checked by the search firm soon after the first screen. Also important is the technical background check that confirms academic and work credentials.

Ask about the success rate of the firm. How long have the hired candidates stayed at their new positions? You need a candidate that is not only a good fit with the job description but one who also sticks around long enough to deliver. Finally, ask to speak with a few satisfied clients of the search firm.

It is worth the time and effort to carefully select the right search firm for your key hiring need. If done right, it will lead to a long lasting, mutually beneficial, business relationship.

For further informationArticle Search, please refer to guide to hiring an Executive Search Firm.

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Daljeet Sidhu is Co-founder at TradeSeam.  Please see our guide to hiring Executive Search Firms. Compare quotes from Executive Search Consultants. Sellers JOIN us for sales leads.

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