What are the steps for an Executive Search process ?

The search for C-level and other senior executive candidates, follow a formalized and structured process. For most companies, the first and most critical step to a successful search is partnering with the right firm. It’s important to engage a search firm that has strong clientele, social media presence, and a wide network of references. Working with an Execute Search firm with a great reputation and mature talent offerings will set the tone for the rest of the search process.

Once the company decides to move forward with an Executive Search firm, they will sign an engagement letter which authorizes the Executive Search firm to manage the entire search process from beginning to end. With the Agreement in place,the company should give a comprehensive picture of the executive search requirements. The company will then identify the key leadership positions the retained firm is expected to fill over the contract period.

The Executive Search firm will create a strategy with clear goals and expectations. Defining appropriate search criteria will ensure everyone is on the same page. Based on the identified positions, executive search firms lay out a strategy to target companies that are likely to yield successful candidates. They will also list key parameters such as the appropriate title for the open position, information on peers, strategic priorities of the company and the culture it espouses.

The Executive Search firm will cast the net wide to discover and attract top talent.Many times, the search will begin by making use of social networks such as LinkedIn or popular job boards to identify prospective candidates. Successful Executive Search firms can go beyond basic internet research by tapping into proprietary and third-party databases. Besides this, firms also reach out to their network of journalists and professional groups to arrive at an initial shortlist of executive candidates.

As the search process continues, it is important to maintain communication with the retained firm. Clients should insist that the retained firm presents detailed profiles at regular progress meetings. Through these meetings, the firm narrows and refines the list to a handful of potential candidates who could be a perfect fit.

Once shortlisted candidates make it through the interview stage, a comprehensive background and reference check helps companies avoid any surprises. The search team scrutinizes the candidate’s references and other credible sources. Throughout this phase, the utmost confidentiality is maintained. The candidate’s background is verified to ensure the requirements for the executive position are perfectly met.

Upon successful background and reference checks, the final candidate is chosen. The search firm representative, in consultation with the client, finalizes the offer and negotiates remuneration. The Executive Search firm extends the candidate the final offer, thus signaling the closure of the search process.

Since there are so many important steps involved in the retained search process, the recruitment of C-level candidates requires a significant investment of time and expertise to execute the process seamlessly.

Author: David Hughes