Before the Search Begins

The Prep Work

Successful executive search is a team effort: client and search firm complement each other's knowledge and strengths. It is advantageous for a client to do some "homework" both independently and together with the search firm before the search process formally begins.

•    Define who is responsible in your company. Assemble a client team to work in partnership with the search firm. Designate a "team leader." 

•    Clarify the responsibilities of the search consultant, including what the role of the research department will be.  Who is the "head search consultant" on your project? Will researchers interview candidates? 

•    Develop clear job specifications and qualifications with your client team and with the search firm team. Agree on a job description and compensation range. 

•    Agree on a general schedule and timetable for progress reports. Discuss and document an expected time line.

•    Ascertain off limits and blockages. Specify the search firm's obligations and limitations. 

•    Outline an expectation of involvement in negotiations including presence at interviews. If the search is transnational, what exactly is the role of the search firm's other offices? 

•    Review the details of the search firm's method of charging for services and expenses.

•    Discuss some "what happens if" scenarios -- don't make assumptions regarding unexpected results. To ensure success, a clear understanding of the search process and responsibilities must be discussed and understood by both the client and search consultants. Do that work before the search is underway.