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Executive Search


#Identify, #attract, and #hire #leaders and top managers is a purpose of an executive search service. Hiring the right people for the right jobs at the right time is an excellent value of an executive search service.


Executive search consultant listening Afro American CEO


Executive search is a management consulting service that helps clients identify, attract and hire the best fitting candidate for the right job at the right time. The positions typically filled by this service have strategic importance for the organization. These positions are Managing Directors, Vice Presidents, Board members, and the entire C suite level such as CEO, CFO, CIO, Sales, Marketing, HR, Legal, Regulatory, Communication, Risk and Compliance, Supply Chain, Customer, and others.


Assessment of internal candidates considered for the executive job is part of this service. The #Executive #search consultant's role is to be an advisor, objectively assess candidates from all sources, including internal and external candidates, and offer the client the best hiring solution. The outcome of an executive search does not necessarily lead to external hiring. In some cases, the best solution may be an internal promotion, optimizing the current structure, or other solutions.



A short history of Executive search service


Executive search service roots back 1926 United States. Thorndike Deland formulated a "Retained Executive Search" concept and founded the first company providing this type of service. His company focused on filling senior managers, particularly in retail. Other business pioneers include well-known consultancies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and individual professionals such as George A. Fry, Sidney Boyden, Gardner Heidrick & John Struggles, Spencer Stuart, Lester Korn, and Richard Ferry, Russell Reynolds, and others. After WW II, at the end of the 50s and early 60ties, new companies emerged and specialized in this consulting, especially in North America and subsequently in continental Europe. In the last decade of the 20th century, globalization has changed the world and unleashed a war for top talents worldwide. Executive search firms could bring clients the best talent anywhere in the world. This type of consulting is very frequently used in North America and Europe, although it has also become quite attractive in rapidly emerging markets such as China and India.



Who is who: the large global player, regional advisors, or a small specialed boutique?


Executive search companies have also diversified both #geographically and #functionally across industries and sectors. The most prominent global players offer #global coverage with lots of offices in various countries. Their consultants are typically #highly #specialized in specific business functions or have deep #industry #expertise and #market #knowledge.


A smaller number of regional players support specific geography, for example, Central Europe, North America, or particular industries. Then you can find a lot of smaller "boutique" firms that tend to specialize in a specific sector or business function, primarily on the local level. These companies are usually small in size but can offer a unique approach to customer and service delivery.


Whether an extensive global network, regional expert, or a small specialized boutique, each can provide significant advantages for their customers.


Regardless of the size of the consultancy, there are business and ethical standards each professional consultancy has to adhere to.



How to choose the right executive search partner


First and foremost, it depends on your needs. There is no simple answer to this question. If you are a global player seeking top talents worldwide, someone with a strong network, deep market, and industry experts might be a good choice for you. However, if you plan to enter a new market or particular industry, a specialized local boutique company might help.

Suppose you decide to work with a global, regional or local company. It's always good to dig deeper and ask about more details that can help you to decide. Let us share some of them. What industry standards they adhere to? What are their results? Result such as how many executives they placed are still in their roles after three years, or work for the same client? What is their assignment success ratio? How many executives that they hired left their positions after one year? How many returning clients do they serve? How do they guarantee on-time delivery of their services? Ask for service guarantees, additional services such as onboarding, and others.



Afro American CEO exploring business results leadership assessment


Your Executive search partner must create value for you. Sending the CV is not a value.


Your consultant should bring deep #market #knowledge, #expertise, and #insights based on #data. To have a #rigorous #search and #assessment framework that will allow #unbiasedly #assess candidates based on #skills and #merit.


The consultant should provide you with valuable data with context so you can make a good hiring decision. Adherence to ethical business standards, professional and customer-centric approaches are the basic foundations for each consultancy.


Long-term partnering with an Executive search consultant helps your consultant better understand how your organization works and a better understanding of your organizational culture, stakeholders, and other company specifics. The better your consultant knows your company, the better results you can expect.

Executive search is an exclusive basis-only partnership.


The executive search industry standard is to place executive roles on an exclusive retained basis. One executive search firm is #retained to do the job. Professional consultancies do not take an assignment that is not on an exclusive basis.


Having multiple search companies working on the assignment simultaneously leads to wrong hiring and might not be in the client's best interest. If the client engages numerous search firms to race for the best candidate simultaneously, this cooperation is usually a success fee basis, a typical contingency approach. This type of assignment usually drives search firms to race for the success fee instead of delivering #quality to the client.



Way of work, expertise, and the results


An executive search is a consulting-oriented service to provide a solution to the client. Sometimes, the answer may be not to hire externally but to promote internally or change organizational structure to meet the challenge or other solution. The role of the consultant is to #provide #best #practices on the matter and bring #market #insight based on #data and ensure the client can make a good hiring decision based on valuable data with context.


Executive search consultants bring a wealth of experience either from previous management or consulting roles.


Their job is not transactional. Consultants do not forward CVs to the client.


Consultants are advisors. They utilize several tools and methods to identify, attract, assess and hire the best matching candidate. The consultant work with passive candidates. Passive candidates that do not reply to job advertisements. They don't need to. These candidates are usually top talents and top performers sitting on the job somewhere else. They are not seeking a new job, but they might be interested in discussing an exciting opportunity. The consultant needs to understand their divers and motivators.




Smiling executive search consultant having a phone call with the client


The consultant must master how to market the client's brand and the position to the top passive candidates even in a challenging scenario where 100% discretion is needed because of confidential search or other reasons.


Before starting the search process, the consultant should spend enough time with a client to understand the organization, client expectations, job accountabilities, and other details. Based on clients' expectations, the market, and industry specifics, consultants create a strategy for attracting and hiring the candidate. This strategy also involves client employees considered for the job. Part of the strategy includes the #assessment framework's #calibration, which usually consists of multilayer assessments such as behavioral mapping, competency-based interviews, technical expertise checks, case studies, and others.


The #longlist is usually the first stage of the process. It is a list of potential candidates meeting the client's criteria. The longlist results from deep market research and candidate screening. The better the consultant's market knowledge and industry expertise, the higher the quality of the list. Consultants must adhere to #professional #standards while assessing the candidates. They must offer #equal #opportunities and #avoid #biases. The consultant must calibrate multilayer assessment to ensure #transparent #assessment based on #data and #skills.


The journey from Longlist to Shortlist might take several weeks, in global or regional roles, even months.


Female Leader reading a text in the meeting room

Only a few best matching and highly motivated candidates can arrive at the Shortlist.


Consultants must #provide the client with all available #insights, #data, and #best #practices to help the client make a good hiring decision. Consultant serves as a partner both to client and candidate in all assignment stages, including candidate compensation negotiation. Regular feedback, updates, on-demand insights are standard while delivering executive search service. The consultant role does not end by hiring the candidate. A consultant usually helps clients and candidates to integrate smoothly.




Fees and service guarantees


The standard executive search fee a retainer. A typical retainer usually has three installments based on delivered results. The service fee may vary by region and industry, but usually. The regular #executive #search fee is 27- 33% of the candidate's annual compensation. There might be some additional costs related to the project, but these are always subject to the client's approval.


In the unlikely event that hired executive manager will leave the company, the executive search firm may conduct the entire service again with no additional service fee. It might vary from country to country.