Are you giving a potential executive search partner the airport test for core values and culture fit? Be as thorough with your evaluation of a recruiter as you are with a candidate you might place on your team.
The most important consideration in choosing an executive search partner is the person who’s actually doing the work, not the brand of the company. What matters most for the execution of a strong executive search is the high quality work that’s being done to engage and excite top executive leaders about the opportunity to achieve greatness in a role and at your company. This engagement and excitement is often best created by a world-class executive search partner who is not encumbered by too many restrictions and/or has lost their hunger, drive or performance excellence.
Sometimes leaders choose to work with big brand executive search firms because of the sense of security this brings. If you choose this route, you’ll find that the heavyweight headhunter was just the “dealmaker” and a junior associate is now running your search. There are some administrative, research, logistic and scheduling tasks that can be passed to a junior recruiter, but you want the engagement and enthusiasm building to be done by the world class executive search partner that you hired. Too often big brand retained search firms will have underlings doing the heavy lifting. By doing this, big search firms operate a lower quality search and frequently fail to engage top candidates with the opportunity you created. They get stuck performing Level 2 Recruiting and compromise the quality of your results.
As you evaluate potential search partners, here are some questions to ask yourself and your recruiters:
- Do I have my culture and core values clearly defined?
- Does the recruiter understand what my core values are? Have they taken the time to learn about me?
- Does the recruiter have a structured process and proven methodology for assessing candidates’ core competencies and core values?
- Who am I going to be working with directly during this search?