« Insights

A Closer Look Into Executive Search Process

Noa Even Tsur, Executive Search Expert and Consultant | 02.09.2021

Many hiring companies ask us what makes the executive search process so unique. Take under consideration that an executive search firm is, first and foremost, a consulting firm. You will receive updated market insights, reliable partner, experts in decision-making who can understand all the pertinent information layers, define success criteria, and muffle unnecessary background noise, and more.

Many hiring companies ask us what makes the executive search process so unique. Should you be considering hiring a search firm for your next executive opening, we encourage you to read this article for a closer look at the executive search process.

But before you proceed, please be advised this is more than just a process.

When you choose the search firm to handle your hiring process exclusively, you should select the one you trust.

Take under consideration that an executive search firm is, first and foremost, a consulting firm. Using the expertise gathered in the team, you will receive comprehensive and updated market insight as a client. Furthermore, for your hiring process to succeed, the search team must quickly establish itself as a reliable partner for both you and the candidates, often acting as mediators in the hiring process.

Search firm professionals should consult you with transparency, as sometimes a reality check is needed; There might be a difference between the candidate you dream of hiring and the candidate you can actually hire. You need a consulting company that can provide you with this insight and helps you bridge the differences to hire the best employee. Experts in decision-making who can understand all the pertinent information layers, define success criteria, and muffle unnecessary background noise.

Last but not least, discretion is essential throughout the hiring process and also the flexibility to customize the procedures according to your specific needs.

The following steps and flow describe the executive search process:

Initial Meetings - Meetings are scheduled with all relevant stakeholders by the executive search firm and hiring client to discuss the role requirements and timelines. These meetings are essential because the search partners need to identify future organizational strategy, corporate culture, and management style and determine candidate profile criteria that fit into the corporate culture and organizational structure.

Creation of Candidate and Position Specification - According to the insights from the client meetings, the search firm drafts a job description, which contains information about reporting, responsibilities, objectives, and goals. In addition, a candidate specification is written, including details on experience, qualifications, core competencies, and soft skills. The client's approval of the draft sets the parameters for the search process. This phase must be thorough and might bring up differences in the assumption of the position between the client and the search firm. The search firm's role is to offer insights and new perspectives based on its professional experience, challenging the client's assumptions where appropriate, and suggesting alternative ways of thinking about the position, if needed.

Search Strategy -The search firm develops the search strategy by analyzing the market and specifying target companies most likely to produce successful candidates based on their professional domain, comparable roles, corporate culture, etc. It is also possible to mark companies that will not be targeted during the search as off-limits companies. Additionally, the strategy will include any and all avenues through which top talent will be found, including databases, social networks, market analysis, personal connections, and personal networks.

Long-list Creation - As part of the search process, the search firm will create a long-list of potential candidates who meet primary requirements and are most likely suitable for the position due to their experience. The client will then approve the list of candidates, and with preference, also provide feedback on each candidate to ensure all sides are aligned with the search objectives.

Short-list Creation - The search firm deep dives into contacting and interviewing the approved candidates. The team evaluates candidates by conducting rigorous competency-based in-person interviews based on proven skills, motivations, knowledge, abilities, and aptitudes outlined in the position specification.

Candidates who are fit and motivated to explore the opportunity are short-listed, and detailed information is provided on each candidate's profile:

- Details concerning employment history, professional accomplishments, education, and honors.

- Assessment of candidate's aptitude for the job, including a detailed analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, primary motivations, and values.

Client's Internal Hiring Process - The client conducts its hiring process, interviewing the candidates on the short-list and choosing 1-3 finalists. Throughout this process, the search firm builds up a close relationship with the candidates, allowing the client to get information on the candidate's state of mind, which helps closing gaps and offers the best chance of a successful placement.

Assessments and Referencing - A comprehensive set of executive assessments will help the client find the top candidate with confidence. Afterward, detailed background checks will be conducted to assess competencies, strengths, weaknesses and obtain external views of the leading candidate.

Offer and Negotiation - The finalist will receive an offer from the hiring company. The search firm will assist negotiations as needed to help finalize the search and will often act as a mediator to ensure that both parties interests are met.

Onboarding and Integration - The search firm may assist with the onboarding of the new employee. The degree of involvement varies based on the wishes and agreements made earlier with the client. To ensure long-term satisfaction for both parties, the search firm will maintain close ties with the hiring client and the hired senior executive.

Insights