Finding the right, qualified candidate to fill an important position can be an exhausting task, especially in tight, competitive job markets. The time and resources it takes to attract ideal candidates, interview them, and discuss salary and job details are quite consuming when you’re looking to fill senior-level roles. This is exactly why many companies turn to executive search firms when they’re seeking out top talent. However, before you jump on board with a search firm, it’s important to remember that not all recruiting agencies are created equal.
In order to land a candidate who will best serve your company’s needs, easily assimilate into your company culture, and stay for a lengthy and worthwhile term, it’s critical to find the best executive search firm who is right for you. To help you do just that, here are some questions to ask when you are seeking an executive search firm:
It’s important that the firm you’re inquiring about has experience filling positions in your industry. The more knowledge executive recruiters have about how to fill the specific role, the more successful your business with them will be. They will be able to ask the candidates questions that are tailored to your niche, and therefore, they will be more apt at evaluating the skills presented by each candidate. The goal is to find applicants who are ready to give your business an immediate boost, and the only way this can happen is if you hire someone who knows how to look for both the general traits and the miniscule details that will give your company a strong advantage.
On a similar note, prior experience recruiting in your field tends to mean the firm will have more reliable contacts to network with, which will allow them to pull in a greater amount of qualified applicants in a quicker fashion.
More often than not, someone who is looking to fill an executive role doesn’t have the gift of time on their side, as the inner workings of their business are dependent on acquiring the team members they need to fulfill deadlines and complete projects. The ability for search firms to deliver quickly is important, and while it’s not realistic to set a timeline in stone when recruiting candidates, you should look for someone who understands and aims to satisfy the time-sensitive nature of your request.
Without a doubt, the quality of the candidate should be prioritized above all else, but you should make a point to address how long it typically takes for the firm’s efforts to come full circle. You can access this information by asking them upfront, and you can confirm their word when speaking with references.
As when investing in any service, it’s important to have the provider give you an explanation of how they work and what their process looks like. With executive search, you’ll want to ask who will actually be doing the searching. Will it be a seasoned professional whose skills and experience will directly benefit your company, or will it be a new-on-the-job underling who is still testing out the water?
Similarly, what criteria will they be using to single out which candidates to show you? Clearly, professional skills and experience should be the first thing they look for, but an ideal search firm is going to want to act as almost a partner to you company, meaning they should take the time to learn what makes your future goals and company culture unique. The candidates who they select for you should have both the industry know-how and the soft skills necessary to harmoniously enhance your brand identity.
Any executive search firm can claim that they are the best, so it’s important to do your due diligence and investigate if those statements are true. A proven track record is one of the key things to look for when hiring a firm, so take the time to evaluate their current reputation.
A quality firm will be able to provide you with solid references you can speak with, ideally some that are relevant to your industry. You should also take time to read their company reviews online. Are clients typically satisfied with the results? Were they treated professionally? If the sales speech is drastically different from the user comments, it may be a red flag to pay attention to.
It doesn’t do your business any good to hire an exemplary candidate if that person leaves your company after only a short period. It takes time to develop a strong work flow, and a reliable team plays an instrumental role in doing so. If you’re constantly having to re-recruit your top positions, your company progress and growth can get stifled. Ask the firm how they vet specifically for longevity, and be sure to ask about client retention when calling each reference.
When you find the right executive search firm, the value of the provided services can be immeasurable. Hiring recruiters can free up your time and resources and allow you access to top talent you wouldn’t otherwise connect with, so hopefully the above advice has given you an idea of what you need to look for. The trick is to take your time and find the firm that will cater the best to your specific industry and personal requirements.
S.R. Clarke and Associates, LLC is a full-service executive search firm focusing primarily on the construction industry. We take pride in helping high-level executives find superior companies that fit their changing needs, as well as helping growing companies find top talent. Whether you are seeking a change in your career, or you are a hiring authority seeking a strategic partner, we can help you grow and prosper. Contact us today to find out more.