The hiring process can be lengthy and intensive at all levels – it can be even more strenuous when identifying and recruiting for executive positions. With higher-level positions, there is an increased degree of difficulty that demands more attention and care, making the process more time-consuming and stressful.
That is why understanding the process of a retained executive search is the first step to easing the stress associated with the executive recruitment process. It can also lead to other unrealized benefits that make the process and transition of hiring a c-level executive smooth and seamless. In this article, we go over this entire process and give you key takeaways you can use on your own hunt to executive talent. We tie it all together with a way you can make the process even easier. Let’s get started with definitions first!
What is a Retained Executive Search?
Recruitment firms use their specific industry expertise to match up the best candidate to a client’s unique needs. Retained executive search firms not only target people actively seeking jobs but also target top performing executives that aren’t seeking employment within a new company.
Since most executives find new opportunities through networking rather than job boards, recruitment firms can capitalize on their established network to assist companies that might only use a job board during their search process. The value here lies in the ability to reach out to the talent that you would not otherwise be able to access, allowing you to convert from a larger pool of talent.
Now, let’s take a look at how executive consultants do it!
The Foundational Elements of the Executive Search Process
The recruitment process at Kaplan Executive Search is divided into four major steps when seeking key talent for a company. While you might see minor variations in processes from one firm to the next, each will generally follow the four proceeding steps when contracted for a recruitment project:
- Establish Search Framework
- Produce Candidates List
- Identify Finalists
- Negotiation and New Hire Assistance
Recruiting for an executive position is essentially professional matchmaking. The job of executive recruiters is to understand the client’s needs in order to select the candidates that will best compliment the company based on their skills, experience, work style, and personality. This will ensure an ideal placement that works well for both the candidate and the company. A match made in heaven!
During this stage of the executive search process, executive search consultants conduct interviews and gather information surrounding the needs of the CEO. Interviews will be held with anyone that knows and understands the needs of the CEO, including those in leadership roles or personal and familial members.
This in-depth search is conducted in order to cement the key parameters that will be used to select the ideal candidates to fill the position. Which leads us to our next step...
Based on the research gathered from step one, a list of benchmark candidates will be generated and presented to the client looking for a new executive.
From the initial list of professionals, the consultants and client will work together to identify traits that were correctly selected. From here, the firm will refine the list of C-level candidates to best match the desires of the client. Then, candidates that have interviewed well will be selected to move forward in the hiring process.
The work of recruitment firms doesn’t end when the candidate list has been placed with the client. After interviews have been conducted with top applicants, recruiters work with the client to identify top and secondary choices.
Executive search consultants will run extensive background checks to ensure the legitimacy of a client’s top choices. Reference checks will be made to determine the validity of the candidate's experiences and rankings. The results will be delivered to the client and issues will be discussed with the expert guidance of the firm's consultants.
Once the final decisions have been made, the recruiting firm will develop competitive offer letters and connect with the selected candidates in the order requested by the client.
At this point, the firm shifts to handle negotiation of pay and benefits, acting as a mediator to ensure that a win-win agreement is made for both parties.
Once an agreement has been made, the firm will help the client with their onboarding plan. This includes setting the start date for the new executive. Every detail gets taken care of and both client and candidate officially get struck by the executive firm’s cupid arrow!
Simplifying the Hiring Process With a Recruitment Search Firm
The question, “Why should I hire an executive search firm?”, has likely already crossed your mind as you weigh the costs and benefits of finding a C-level executive yourself. If you’re considering embarking on the executive recruitment process without assistance, you may find that the process takes longer, drains resources, and distracts from important tasks and projects.
Handling the recruitment process in-house can exhaust resources and could ultimately result in few, if any, candidates that are a good fit. This could overall result in the growth of your company being impeded.
While there are trade-offs with every decision, it’s important to understand what the advantages are of hiring executive recruiters to take over the search process. We outline some of those below.
Benefits of Using Retained Executive Search Firm:
- You are presented with the most qualified individuals, giving you the time to focus on more important tasks.
- A quicker onboarding process will have an executive-level position filled sooner than the average of six months.
- You will get a large talent pool not limited to job boards.
- You get access to experienced recruitment professionals who have expertise in selecting and placing candidates in a variety of industries.
- Your executive search consultants will take your loosely defined vision of a candidate and morph it into a clear, stringent definition, which will lead to better recruitment results overall.
If you're still not sure if an Executive Search Firm is right for your recruiting needs. Check out our Abridged Guide to Hiring a Chief Operating Officer, containing top considerations for CEOs and Business Owners when hiring a COO.
- Considering a retained search firm for your hiring needs? Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your selection.
- Download our checklist for hiring an executive search firm.
- Learn more about our hiring services for private and family held businesses, as well as EOS® companies.